The new qb SoftClaw: renewed design and better performance


During the latest edition of MECSPE 2023 in Bologna, qbrobotics presented an application in the field of automatic disassembly of electronic devices that used the new release of qb SoftClaw together with the qb SoftHand Industry.
During 2022 qbrobotics collected requests from industry partners to develop an increasingly performing and innovative device.

Still based on the Variable Stiffness Actuator (VSA™ is a qbrobotics patent), the new two-finger gripping system has therefore been further improved to obtain the advantages summarized in the following:

  1. The TCP is now positioned on the central axis (z-axis) and thus in the centre of the gripping system, making it easier to use.
  2. Increased fingers stiffness.
  3. Customisable and interchangeable fingers. This new structure makes it possible to mount fingers designed to perform a variety of tasks.
  4. The fixed finger that already characterized the qb SoftClaw is now integral with the device frame, forming a single cope with the flange. This new design allows the qb SoftClaw to exert forces greater than those applied by the movable finger closure (max. 64N), which, in certain circumstances, only needs to lock the object in place.

Of course, there remains the advantages of Variable Stiffness that allows the qb SoftClaw to perform precise tasks from not necessarily standard conditions.
Conventional grippers are equipped with a rigid mechanical actuation and can grasp more or less fragile objects only through direct controls on the applied force, therefore using force sensors, or indirect control through the absorbed current. Both of these approaches require specific algorithms and dedicated sensors, which involve limits on the dynamic response times, greater quantity of signals to be managed, higher hardware and software costs.
Vice versa, the qb SoftClaw is able to grasp objects of the most disparate nature, without the use of any type of sensors on the contact surfaces or specific algorithms on the absorbed current by the motors. This is made possible by the use of the exclusive patent of the Variable Stiffness system.
All these aspects, together with the renewed design, make the qb SoftClaw an increasingly versatile, light, economical and very easy to use device.
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