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Robotic Additive Manufacturing Platform Enables 3D Printing of Complex Composite Parts
SANTA CLARA, Calif.—A scalable Robot-based Additive Manufacturing Platform (RAMP), recently introduced by Arevo Labs to fabricate 3D printed composite parts, could offer a preview of how tomorrow’s aerospace and defense companies carry out their additive manufacturing work.
Arevo’s platform consists of a standard, commercially available robot, composite deposition end-effector hardware, and a comprehensive software suite. It is tailored to ABB’s smallest 6-axis robot, the IRB 120, though the scalable software can support larger ABB robot models and sizes. The additive end-effector hardware consists of a deposition head with advanced thermal management technology for processing high-performance carbon- fiber reinforced thermoplastics. ABB Robotics (www.abb.com/robotics), a major supplier of industrial robots, is collaborating with Arevo Labs on this platform introduction.
The platform’s multi-axis toolpaths are said to enable, for the first time, production quality parts constructed with true 3D surfaces in variable orientations. Arevo says that the resulting parts have strength and aesthetics superior to those made with conventional Cartesian based additive manufacturing equipment and software.
Arevo’s software suite includes CAM software to convert CAD models to a set of additive deposition instructions for the robot. The software is capable of six degrees of freedom, enabling what Arevo calls “true 3D additive manufacturing.” In addition, a precise kinematics simulator interprets deposition instructions to validate and optimize part construction.
A simulation of an ABB robotic arm, enhanced with Arevo Labs software, performing 3D printing tasks.
(Photo: Business Wire)
Arevo Labs’ RAMP interfaces with ABB’s RobotStudio™ programming and simulation software to ease tool path generation from CAD files.
In addition to expanding design possibilities, the Robotic Additive Manufacturing Platform maximizes size scalability and production efficiency, according to Arevo Labs. Key enabling technologies include automation and secondary process integration within manufacturing work cells. Depending upon the size of the robot, the part build envelope is scalable from 1,000 cubic millimeters to 8 cubic meters.
“We are excited to be the first to develop a robot-based additive manufacturing platform optimized for composite parts,” said Hemant Bheda, chief executive officer and founder of Arevo Labs, in a release from the company. Arevo Labs develops technology to enable direct digital additive manufacturing of ultra-strong composite parts for end use applications. “Unencumbered by the constraints of conventional Cartesian systems, this platform is the dawn of the additive manufacturing work cell for the aerospace and defense factory-of-the-future.”
“Our ABB IRB 120 robot is perfectly suited for the Additive Manufacturing Platform, offering the high precision and repeatability required for 3D printed parts for end-use applications,” said Nicolas De Keijser, new applications business line manager at ABB, in the release. “We are glad to see ABB’s robot performance and capabilities being fully utilized with Arevo Labs’ software in printing true 3D surfaces.”
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