- A procedure for analysis and optimization of robot gripper designs has been developed. The procedure was applied to the specific problem of optimizing the weight of two different robot grippers for harvesting melons. The initial designs were modeled and analyzed using the finite element method to determine the critical static stresses. In one design, the stresses obtained were compared to analytical results and the finite element results were within 7% on average, which is sufficient for this preliminary design. In the second design, the trend and location of the maximum stresses agreed with a previously published photoelasticity study. The initial designs were then improved by applying optimization techniques to minimize the weight of the gripper while ensuring that the gripper was strong enough to withstand the load of the melon. The final designs were significantly lighter than the initial ones which reduce the required inertia forces. Based on the results of the proposed approach, an optimized gripper could then be constructed.