The Squid Universal Vacuum Gripper

Universal Vacuum Gripper Tooling

This new Squid technology has been developed specifically for use in the food packaging industry for handling liquid pouches. Traditionally, due the unflat and irregular surface of liquid pouches, the machine builder has used foam rubber rings. These foam rubber grippers, although effective in gripping the product, have a sub-standard life cycle sometimes requiring change out every shift.

The Squid uses FDA compliant silicone rubber bag gripping cups and offer extremely long life and of course effective gripping of the product. The Squid mounting can be supplied to suit the customer delta robot with vacuum entering through the mounting feature.
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The Squid has been developed to offer the vacuum user a universal end of arm vacuum tool.  The Squid utilizes different “end effectors” such as vacuum cups, foam, orifice fittings and self closing valves. The choice of Squid is dependent on the application and user preference. Please contact Vacuforce to discuss the application.  Custom size and shape Sqyuids are available to suit the customer application.  The model shown here was developed for picking up a product with a radius.

The Squid is a modular design  allowing many variables in construction. The image here shows the top plate including the vacuum connection. The top plate includes the mounting holes for connection to the customer machinery which could be a robot arm or gantry robot.

One of the largest applications for The Squid is carton or box palletizing.  These applications at the end of the packaging line normally consist of numerous sizes of  cartons.  This creates a vast amount of engineering time and effort to work out what products you would need to handle all of the varying sizes foot prints of products.  The Squid, being a universal gripper can be fully or partially covered to enable the automated machinery simply to know the Z height.  Any area of the Squid not covered by the product will simply close, isolating individual cups from the remaining cups.
The SCV option requires a deeper cup plate to accommodate the self closing valves inside the Squid. The self closing valve will close if the vacuum cup does not seal properly against the load being handled as the induced air flow PUSHES a nylon ball against a seat. Therefore a smaller vacuum generation device can be used. The diagram here shows The Squid handling a small carton. The cup rows #7 through #12 are CLOSED as the airflow that occurred in the initial cycle start pushed the nylon ball against an air tight seal.

The Vacuforce self closing valve is also adjustable and therefore can be used on products which are porous. The valve rest position is under a spring force. Consequently high inertia or inverted positioning of the Squid will NOT inadvertently close the valve. The valve comes preset with 1mm ball movement which is ideal for the VFB40 single bellows cup. If larger cups are being used this distance can be INCREASED and if smaller cups are in use this distance can be DECREASED.

The Squid can be used with either a vacuum pump, blower or compressed air powered vacuum generator. Depending on the application and indeed the restriction at the end user level, Vacuforce will suggest what technology is best suited for each application.
Download Vacuforce Data Sheet

The Squid Product Videos

Plastic Bale Palletizing

Palletizing plastic wrapped bales of woodchips using a dual Squid system with a vacuum venturi as the vacuum source.

Automate Chicago 2015

The Squid was being used to demonstrate it's ability to handle various size loads on a Nachi robot.

Corrugated Surfaces

A small Squid being used to demonstrate the Squid's ability to grip on corrugated surfaces.

Slip Sheet and Case Handling

A ten zone Squid system being used to handle slip sheets and multiple carton sizes.

Tire Production

A custom design multiple squid system for use in tire production.

Carton Palletizing

A dual Squid system being used with a regenerative blower for carton handling.

Self Closing Valves Demo

A demonstration of the Vacuforce VFSC3/8 self closing valves which are often used in partial coverage with The Squid gripper tool..