A Comprehensive Introduction to Pneumatic Grippers and Their Working Principles

Manufacturing processes constantly need to keep up with an ever-changing demand for improved efficiency and performance. As such, industrial automation is quintessential for staying competitive. Pneumatic grippers, also known as robotic pneumatic grippers, are an integral part of industrial automation—helping to bridge the gap between manual and automated processes. They offer the versatility and reliability necessary for almost any application. This article provides a comprehensive introduction to pneumatic grippers and their working principles. 

What is a pneumatic gripper?

A pneumatic gripper is an end-effector or, a tool that is used in automation processes. It is used to grip or handle a workpiece securely and then move it from one place to another. Pneumatic grippers are often used in various industries like automotive, aerospace, and medical device manufacturing. 

The benefits of pneumatic grippers

Pneumatic Grippers offer superior control when compared to manual processes. They are cost-effective and are relatively easy to operate. Furthermore, they are designed with a variety of features that allow them to offer better accuracy, repeatability, and reliability than manual labor. Additionally, many pneumatic gripper systems come with safety features that allow for better control and can increase production rates.

How pneumatic grippers work?

Pneumatic grippers operate using pressurized air to move the fingers, which are usually in the form of a sliding jaw. Air is supplied to the interior of the cylinder and two pistons are connected inside the cylinder which alternately open and close the fingers. When air is supplied to the top, the top piston in the cylinder pushes the jaw open and when air is supplied to the bottom, the bottom piston in the cylinder pushes the jaw closed. 

Pneumatic gripper working principles

To ensure the reliable and safe operation of the gripper, a number of principles should be taken into account when working with pneumatic grippers. 

Size and force

Appropriate size and force must be applied to any objects that are handled with a pneumatic gripper. The gripper should be designed to fit the size of the item that it is handling and there should be enough pressure to securely grip the item.


When working with pneumatic grippers, the speed at which the fingers open and close should be consistent with the application. If a faster-moving object is being handled, a faster speed should be used, while a slower speed should be used for slower-moving objects.


Too much or too little air pressure can lead to poor performance of a pneumatic gripper. The pressure used in the pneumatic gripper should be adjusted as needed to ensure a secure grip on the object.


In addition to correct air pressure, the jaw and fingers of the pneumatic gripper should be correctly aligned to ensure a secure grip. Uneven alignment of the jaw and fingers can lead to objects slipping or being dropped.

Pneumatic grippers are an essential part of many industrial and manufacturing applications. They provide a secure grip and enable precise manipulation of small to large objects. To ensure the reliable and safe operation of the pneumatic gripper, size and force, speed, pressure, and alignment must be taken into account. With the aforementioned principles in mind, pneumatic grippers are a great choice for handling objects in various different industries.

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