For different load conditions, systems are transferred from nature that best meet defined requirements in function and structure. One example is stiffening by profiling. Here, systematic natural solutions are transferred into technical solutions that have the desired stiffness, mobility and elasticity. The bionic structures are then implemented in a gripper system using additive technologies.
Complex geometries in lightweight construction
Festo AG in Esslingen near Stuttgart is one of the companies successfully using additive manufacturing technologies. Festo has, for example, developed a bionic gripper modelled on the fish fin. If you lightly press your finger against the tail fin of a trout, it does not bend away in the direction of pressure, but moves towards the finger. The fin ray effect makes this possible. The "FinGripper" consists of three fingers in the shape of the Fin-Ray structure - similar to the caudal fin. Despite its complex filigree structure, it can be produced cost-effectively using selective laser sintering. The special advantage: the component is 90 percent lighter than a conventional gripper made of metal is.
The elephant's trunk was the biological model for another handling assistant developed by Festo engineers in cooperation with researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart. It is flexible, transmits high forces and is an extremely precise gripping tool.
Rapid manufacturing enables such complex geometries to be produced very quickly using lightweight polyamide. The handling system also convinced the jury for the German Future Prize.