What's an Industrial robot gripper - Our 101 course

February 6, 2024
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What's an Industrial robot gripper?

An Industrial robot gripper is a specialized end-effector that's attached to the wrist of an Industrial robot arm, designed to grasp, hold, and manipulate objects during automated tasks. 

But, unlike consumer robot grippers, these are built to handle high payloads and endure intensive, 24/7 use in factories or warehouses.

There are many types of industrial grippers, like: 

  • Pneumatic grippers use pressurized air to actuate the gripper jaws, ideal for grasping objects.
  • Hydraulic grippers use pressurized oil for jaw actuation, suitable for object grasping.
  • Electric grippers are powered by motors and lead screws, facilitating the gripping mechanism.
  • Vacuum grippers employ suction cups to handle smooth, non-porous objects effectively.

Industrial grippers are built for precision, high force, and durability. They can safely grab everything from tiny electronic components to massive automotive parts.

Therefore, these grippers allow Industrial robots to handle repetitive, dangerous, or just plain difficult manual tasks like machine tending, assembly, packaging, and materials handling.

What are the main differences between industrial and consumer grippers?

Industrial robot grippers are in a whole other league than the grippers you'll find on hobby drones or robot kits. 

Here are the main reasons why:

For starters, industrial grippers are built to handle much heavier payloads, typically 10-500 kilograms or way more. They need to grip and maneuver parts on assembly lines and in factories, after all. 

Consumer grippers, on the other hand, usually max out at 1-3 kilograms since they're made for lightweight drones and small robot projects.

Industrial grippers are also designed to work continuously for hours at a time in highly demanding environments. 

They have durable, hardened components that can take high heat, cold, moisture, and physical impacts. Consumer grippers aren't built to operate nonstop or in harsh conditions, so they tend to be made of plastic and basic metals.

When it comes to precision and control, Industrial robot grippers are simply in another league. They can grab and place objects with sub-millimeter accuracy thanks to advanced sensing and software. 

On the other hand, consumer grippers typically only have basic open/close functionality and lack the precision needed for sophisticated manipulation.

Finally, industrial grippers integrate seamlessly with Industrial robot arms and controllers. They have standard power and communication interfaces that allow them to be installed and programmed as an integrated part of an automated system. 

Consumer grippers are made to be used manually or with hobby robot kits, so they don't have these integration capabilities.

Some common applications of Industrial robot grippers

Industrial robot grippers are used for a huge variety of purposes in manufacturing and heavy industry. And, you’d be surprised at how widespread they’re becoming, because of their increasing accessibility and affordability. 

Here are a few of the most common applications:

Pick and place - This refers to grippers that pick up components, parts, or products and move them to another location. They’re very common on assembly lines to move items between workstations or packaging areas.

Material handling - Think of it like pick and place, but on a larger scale. These grippers can lift, transport, and position heavy materials like sheets of metal, lumber, or pallets of goods.

CNC machine tending - Grippers that load and unload parts into CNC machines, presses, ovens, and other equipment, feed raw materials into the machines and remove finished parts to keep the equipment running efficiently with near-zero human intervention.

Spot welding - Specialized grippers that hold pieces of metal together in the proper alignment so a welding robot can spot weld them, provide precise positioning, and a firm grip to withstand the forces involved in the welding process.

Assembly - Grippers designed to manipulate and join components with a super high degree of accuracy. They’re used in automated assembly lines to produce items like cars, aircraft, appliances, and consumer electronics.

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The best Industrial robot gripper manufacturers

Several companies lead the pack when it comes to industrial grippers. These giants are known for high-quality, durable grippers designed for heavy-duty use, and especially, their reliability.

They are: 


OnRobot emerges as the #1 brand due to its ability to manufacture a diverse range of end-of-arm tooling, particularly for Collaborative robot applications. 

Their product line includes a huge variety of grippers like electric, vacuum, and soft grippers, renowned for their versatility and ease of integration. 

OnRobot's grippers are especially known for their plug-and-play capabilities, which makes them super compatible with a wide variety of robot brands, like Standard Bots. 


Robotiq is also a well-known and respected brand that makes excellent grippers for a broad range of industrial applications.

Some of their mainstays are 2-finger and 3-finger grippers with flexible joints and tactile sensing abilities.

As with OnRobot, Robotiq grippers are compatible with major robot brands and are a popular choice for applications like machine tending, assembly, and packaging.


SCHUNK is most definitely a global leader in gripping systems and clamping technology. 

They’re known for an extensive line of grippers for Industrial robots, including parallel, angular, and centric grippers.

What sets SCHUNK grippers apart is their ultra-high-quality, precision, and customization options – but that usually comes with a price tag to match.


How much do Industrial robot grippers cost?

Industrial robot grippers can range from a few hundred to hundreds of thousands of dollars depending on size, capabilities, and manufacturer. Basic parallel jaw grippers are typically on the lower end of the range, while more complex multi-fingered grippers with advanced sensing abilities are at the higher end.

What types of Industrial robot grippers are there?

The main types are:

  • Parallel jaw grippers - Simple 2-fingered grippers good for picking up boxes and other regular-shaped objects.
  • Angular grippers - Allow objects to be gripped at an angle. Useful for awkward pick and place applications.
  • Multi-fingered grippers - Have three or more fingers for grasping irregularly shaped objects. Some have force feedback and tactile sensors.
  • Vacuum grippers - Use suction to pick up smooth, non-porous objects like glass or sheet metal.

How do you control Industrial robot grippers?

Most Industrial robot grippers are powered electrically and controlled using a robotic controller which sends signals to open, close, grip, and release the fingers. 

Meanwhile, more advanced grippers may also have force-feedback sensors to detect the amount of force being applied and tactile sensors for delicate grasping of irregularly shaped objects.

Summing up

Now you know why an Industrial robot gripper is an essential component in automated manufacturing and warehouse environments. Without it, a robot arm’s ability is virtually nil – unless you want to use it for batting practice. 

Now, it’s just a matter of choosing an Industrial robot gripper for your application, and you’re good to go! 

Next steps

Seeking an ideal match for an Industrial robot arm and gripper for a wide range of tasks? RO1 from Standard Bots offers extensive compatibility with numerous Industrial robot grippers. It features universal M8 connectors and seamless integration with OnRobot end-effectors, making it a top choice for workshops of all sizes.

  • Cost-effective solution: RO1 distinguishes itself as an economical choice within its category, priced at about 50% less than competing models. Attractive leasing options are available, beginning at a mere $5 per hour.
  • High-end vision capabilities: Equipped with advanced vision systems, RO1 excels in task performance, thanks to its straightforward, programming-free setup. It's particularly adept at identifying the slightest flaws and inconsistencies.
  • Focus on cooperative safety: With safety as a core design principle, RO1 includes comprehensive safety sensors and collision detection technology, ensuring safe and reliable operation throughout your workspace.

Contact our solutions team today to arrange a complimentary, 30-day on-site trial. Receive professional guidance on implementing your first robot effectively.

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