One of the industry’s leading developers of composite additive manufacturing technology and software is introducing a scalable Robot-based Additive Manufacturing (RAM) platform for fabricating 3D printed composite parts. The new platform from Arevo Labs is the first 3D printing system of its kind to combine a standard six-axis commercially available robotic system from ABB Robotics with advanced FDM 3D printing end-effector technology. The robotic arm controls a high-performance carbon-fiber reinforced thermoplastic filament deposition nozzle with state-of-the-art thermal management technology.
Arevo Labs’ Robotic Additive Manufacturing Platform will offer the defense and aerospace industries the ability to quickly and accurately 3D print complex composite thermoplastic parts. The robot and printing hardware is controlled with a comprehensive software suite that has currently been tailored to manage ABB Robotics IRB 120, their smallest 6-axis robot system. However, scalability has been programmed into the software so it can be adapted to many of the larger models of ABB robotic systems.
The software suite includes an accurate kinematics simulator that will interpret complex deposition instructions, pre-validate parts and optimize the part construction path. Included CAM software will convert CAD models into a set of specific additive deposition instructions. The software controls all six degrees of the robot’s movement axes, offering true 3D additive manufacturing capabilities. Arevo Labs’ RAM Platform was designed to seamlessly interface with ABB RobotStudio programming and simulation software, making the tool path generation from CAD files quick and easy to generate.
Here is a video of the RAM Platform software monitoring part manufacturing:
“We are excited to be the first to develop a robot based additive manufacturing platform optimized for composite parts. 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,” said CEO and founder of Arevo Labs Hemant Bheda.
The multi-axis toolpaths of the Arevo Labs RAM platform will not only expand part design possibilities, but also maximize the efficiency of the part production process and the scalability of the part size. According to Arevo, the platform is capable of full automation, and can also be integrated as a secondary process within existing manufacturing workflows. The standard sized ABB robot has a scalable build envelope starting as small as 1000 cubic millimeters, up to 8 cubic meters.
“Our ABB IRB120 robot is perfectly suited for the Additive Manufacturing Platform, offering the high precision and repeatability required for 3D printed parts for end-use applications. We are glad to see ABB’s robot performance and capabilities being fully utilized with Arevo Labs’ software in printing true 3D surfaces,” says the new applications business line manager at ABB Nicolas De Keijser.
According to Arevo Labs, parts printed using their RAM platform offer improved strength and superior aesthetics than parts printed using standard Cartesian based 3D printing technology and software. The platform is the first thermoplastic additive manufacturing system that offers the production of high-quality parts made using fully 3D surfaces in variable orientations. Not only does this process virtually eliminate the need for most support structures, but it also allows for a reduction of part striation and stepping, not to mention faster part post processing time. What are your thoughts on this new 6-axis machine? Let us know in the Arevo Labs forum thread on 3DPB.com.
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