J. Schmalz GmbH

Customer-specific lightweight gripping system
configured online in 10 minutes


Individual handling tasks require various gripper geometries. J. Schmalz GmbH, being the market leader in the field of vacuum gripping technology, now offers its customers the opportunity to get a 100% individually customized gripping system: additively manufactured and designed with the help of trinckle paramate within a few mouse clicks.

Manual design effort for each vacuum gripping system
Use of standard gripping systems: lack of flexibility
100% optimized for the individual handling task of the customer
Configuration in only 10 minutes
No manual design costs
Customer integration within an intuitive configuration process

Increasing demand for customized solutions: An opportunity for Additive Manufacturing

Due to the increasing degree of automation in industrial environments and constantly changing production processes, more and more individual handling tasks arise. These dynamics challenge both robotic manufacturers and users to find individual gripping solutions in the same frequency and do so efficiently. Additive manufacturing has enormous potential here, as it allows a shift away from the one-size-fits-all strategy and enables production in batch size 1.

For this reason, Schmalz has been working intensively with additive manufacturing technology for several years, so that it is no longer limited to product development, but can also be applied in small series production. For the know-how carrier from the Black Forest, the aim is not only to individualize the geometries, but also to develop gripping systems in a smaller space and with lower weight.

Bottleneck construction: Time for new approaches

But the manual design of a application-specific gripping system in conventional CAD is anything but trivial. An experienced designer needs about one working day to manually design such a gripping system.
Here, mid-sized company Schmalz is now using trinckle and its software system paramate to provide its customers with an intuitive engineering tool.

“We made a well-considered decision to work with trinckle because the team of the Berlin-based software company provides a great deal of expertise in 3D printing and automated design. In combination with our in-depth knowledge about gripping workpieces, this has resulted in a very innovative, digital solution for our customers”

Dr. Kurt Schmalz, Managing Director, J. Schmalz GmbH.

trinckle developed a web application for Schmalz based on its cloud technology paramate, in which users can configure a vacuum gripping system quickly, individually and without special previous knowledge.
This is embedded on the Schmalz website, so that Schmalz employees and customers worldwide can access it at any time.

From cardboard boxes to free-form surfaces

At the beginning the user defines the handling task and thus specifies his individual requirements. In addition to various pre-defined workpieces, he can upload his own objects - regardless of whether they are cubic, angular or with free-form surfaces. Then he starts the configuration to design the matching gripper. The tool intuitively guides the user through the various design steps, providing application-specific recommendations on the number, diameter and type of suction cups. The intelligent algorithm takes care of positioning the suction cups. Alternatively, the user himself can define the position of the suction points in a graphical user interface with just one mouse click.

Finally, the user selects the appropriate flange insert and the desired vacuum generation. Once all components and parameters have been determined, the customer receives a CAD model and the quotation for his gripping solution.
The entire configuration of an application-specific gripping system takes about 10 minutes and does not require any expertise in classic CAD software or 3D printing-compatible design. The underlying complexity of the geometry generation is handled by rule-based algorithms.

Individual lightweight grippers combine the advantages of additive manufacturing

The additive manufacturing technology is key to cost-efficient single-part production within a few days. It also reduces interfering outlines, for example by fully integrating the air duct system. The gripping system can be combined with various vacuum components such as the CobotPump ECBPi or the vacuum switch VSi.
Thus, Schmalz manufactures particularly light and robust grippers in a short time, which are designed for the particular application. Adapted to lightweight robots and cobots, the Schmalz solution can hold loads weighing up to ten kilograms.

Automated design for a scalable business model

The potentials of additive manufacturing are combined with new paths in the field of automated design. Here, trinckle's cloud-based software represents the crucial element for transforming a formerly very cost-intensive manual process into a scalable serial application.

“Thanks to the software solution from trinckle, we now provide our customers worldwide with a simple way to design their individual gripper online - intuitively, quickly and in the expected high quality. In the Berlin team we have found the right partner for this task”

Dr. Kurt Schmalz, Managing Director, J. Schmalz GmbH.

© J. Schmalz GmbH