Machine Design

Magnetic lock doubles as robotic gripper

University of Missouri-Rolla (UMR) researchers are using a magnetic lock mounted on a robot arm to lift radioactive control rods out of the facility's nuclear reactor pool for inspection.

Because the control rods are magnetic, the magnetic lock, a Mini-Mite 300 from Dortonics Systems Inc.(dortronics.com), lifts them nicely, the researchers say. The device is much less expensive than ordinary grippers, and is compact and strong. It can provide 300 lb of holding force and has no moving parts. The UMR 200-kW nuclear reactor is used primarily for research and training.

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