A custom stamper contacted us asking if we could load their press with aluminum blanks utilizing a custom 3D manipulator. The problem? There were six parts in the blank family each having multiple holes but in differing locations on the blanks. We knew that having movable vacuum cups on the gripper could be a solution but we wanted to go a step further and reduce or eliminate setup time.

To further complicate the application the customer asked us to load 2 blanks at a time in the press.


We developed a multiple cup vacuum head for a custom 3D manipulator. Each cup has valving that allows any cup that falls on a hole to shut off, thereby sealing the vacuum system and allowing the rest of the cups to lift the part. Up to 30% of the cups could land on holes and the gripper would still lift the part.

For the double blank loading issue, we asked the customer to have the blanks on their lube table in exactly the same spacing as the dies in the press and to provide locator pins in exactly the same locations on the table and the press. By guiding the manipulator arm to pick up the parts while contacting the locator pins on the table and then contacting the locator pins in the press the two pans were deposited perfectly in the dies.

A suction gripper fabricated and built onto a custom 3D manipulator.

Do you have a challenge? Contact TDA Buddy today to see what custom solution we can create for you.