Politecnico di Torino - Corso Duca degli Abruzzi, 24 - 10129 Torino, ITALY

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Device for the manipulation of micro-components

assisted releasemicro-manipulationVacuum micro-gripper


The innovative manipulation device – micro-gripper – allows the gripping by vacuum of micro-components and integrates a novel system to support their release. The manipulation of millimetric and sub-millimetric  components  is very challenging, due to the predominance of the superficial adhesion forces over the gravitational force; and the release phase becomes particularly critical, uncertain and unreliable. The micro-gripper conceived is effective, simple, low-cost, low-weight, easy to use and integrate in a manipulation system.

Technical features

Vacuum grippers are simple, cheap and allow the manipulation of a large variety of components as long as their surface is smooth and not porous. However, the release can be an issue since, reducing their possible range of applications. Many solutions have been implemented so far to improve the release phase, such as the use of a soft blow or additional tools, but their drawbacks make them unsuitable in several applications. This new vacuum manipulation device uses the same actuating system (a vacuum pump) for grasping the component and controlling an innovative mechanical system to assist the release. The mechanical system, integrated inside the gripper body, can move between two main positions: one of grasping by vacuum and the other of assisted release, as soon as the connection line with the vacuum pump is stopped.

Possible Applications

  • Electronics (e.g. (re-)manufacturing applications);
  • Micro-mechanics;
  • Packaging;
  • Telecommunication;
  • Automotive;
  • Medicine;
  • Biomedical Devices;
  • Jewellery.


  • Precise manipulation of micro-parts;
  • Safe and reliable release;
  • Easy to mount on a robot;
  • Easy to integrate on a tele-operated or manual manipulation system;
  • Light weight (limited increase of weight in a full system);
  • Easy to use and limited increase of complexity in the manipulation system.