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In robotics, end effectors are the end robotic parts that attach to robotic arms or appendages. End effectors are instrumental in robot design and engineering, because so much of what robots do involves the manipulation of objects, or other key tasks for which the robot needs some form of a hand, grip or grasping device at the end of a limb.
End effectors come in many different forms. Some robotics companies focus on rather conventional end effectors, such as two-finger grippers or three-finger grippers that can hold and/or carry small parts. Others have developed different types of end effectors for tasks like machining and welding, with items like clamps and bracket assemblies made for heavy-duty use in industrial fields.
The end effectors are part and parcel of what individual robots do. In many cases, human users must switch out these parts in order to enable robots to perform different tasks. In some cases, some of this process is automated. End effectors will continue to be an important part of physical robotics as robots become more skilled in various manufacturing and product development fields.