Robotic arms are already an integral part of mainstream industry, but the technology might also have a future in 3D printing. For example, Stratasys recently showcased new demonstrators that rely on industrial robotic arms.
The Infinite-Build 3D demonstrator addresses the requirements of aerospace, automotive and other industries for large, lightweight thermoplastic parts with consistent mechanical properties. It offers a revolutionary “infinite-build” approach to fused deposition modeling extrusion that increases throughput and repeatability by printing on a vertical plane, allowing almost unlimited part size in the build direction. The extruder uses plastic pellets continuously replenished by the industrial robotic arm.
The Robotic Composite 3D demonstrator combines the company’s advanced extrusion technologies with Siemens motion control hardware and PLM software. Here, a six-axis industrial robotic arm works with a two-axis, robotically controlled print platform to enable precise, directional material placement. This overcomes geometric limitations, while increasing the strength of lightweight parts and accelerating production.