Bionically inspired adhesion technology: SCHUNK ADHESO Gripper

Imagine gripping smooth surfaces with ease, leaving no trace of residue or imprint. With the ADHESO gripper from SCHUNK, it’s possible.

Imagine gripping smooth surfaces with ease, leaving no trace of residue or imprint. With the ADHESO gripper from SCHUNK, it's possible.


The bionically inspired gripper technology ADHESO, based on the principle of adhesion, uses the intermolecularly acting Van der Waals forces for handling components. Made of special polymers, the patented surface architecture is optimized by numerical simulation, creating a structure of extremely finely structured legs that adhere to different materials and objects.

Unique technology, diverse applications

Glass fibers as light as feathers; the smallest SMD components or micro-mechanical parts; sensitive battery components; plastic films; paper and glass - all can be handled by the ADHESO gripper. Gripping of automotive or mechanical engineering components of a weight of 33 pounds and more is also possible. Automated separation of breathable components is also feasible. With the ADHESO gripper, solutions can be tailored to each customer's individual needs, creating opportunities that are as diverse as the applications themselves.

The adhesion gripping process

Using Van der Waals forces, the face of the gripper is gently pressed onto the workpiece during the gripping process, increasing the contact surface and locking the grip into place. This effect can be reversed by applying a slight pressure/rotary movement so that the gripper can be loosened from the object without leaving a residue or any marking. The alternative use of a wiper ensures that the object is gently put down.

The respective adhesive forces and removal of ADHESO depend on the type of material, surface roughness or flatness, and miniaturization, and can be customized to the different requirements of the relevant environment. Therefore, the adhesive structures can be adapted to the required size and the loading condition (horizontal/vertical) of the application, and can be designed transparent, translucent, or opaque. This high degree of individualization ensures that components with dimensions of a few hundred micrometers can be handled as reliably as those measuring several meters.

Gentle handling also in cleanrooms and vacuum environments

Installation costs and commissioning efforts are minimal. The adhesive technology is gentle on components, low-noise, and doesn't require compressed air, vacuum, or current. An external energy supply is not necessary for gripping or for maintaining the gripping force. In case of a power failure in the handling system, the holding forces of the gripper are reliably maintained. SCHUNK ADHESO allows gripping times of < 100 ms: It can be used in conventional industrial environments, but also in cleanrooms and vacuum environments. In the field of micro handling, repetitive positioning accuracies of < 0.01 mm can be achieved with this technology and it can be also used in collaborative applications. The ADHESO gripper has a bayonet lock and therefore the grippers can be exchanged in just a few simple steps.

To learn more about the adhesion technology behind ADHESO, you can watch this video, featured in the SCHUNK Gripper School series.
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