Arevo Labs, a leader in composite additive manufacturing technology, has developed a novel scalable Robot-based Additive Manufacturing (RAM) platform for fabricating 3D printed composite parts.
The first-of-its-kind solution consists of a standard commercially available robot, composite deposition end-effector hardware and a comprehensive software suite. Although it is tailored to ABB’s smallest 6-axis robot – the IRB 120, the scalable software can support larger ABB robot models and sizes.
Nicolas De Keijser, new applications business line manager at ABB, explained that 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.
The additive end-effector hardware consists of a deposition head with advanced thermal management technology for processing high-performance carbon-fiber reinforced thermoplastic.
The software suite includes two solutions. The first is a 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 true 3D additive manufacturing.
The second is a precise kinematics simulator that interprets deposition instructions to validate and optimize part construction.
Arevo Labs’ RAM Platform interfaces with ABB’s RobotStudio programming and simulation software to ease tool path generation from CAD files.
Thanks to the platform’s multi-axis toolpaths, quality parts constructed with true 3D surfaces in variable orientations can be produced for the first time. These parts have strength and aesthetics superior to those made with conventional Cartesian based additive manufacturing equipment and software.
Apart from expanded design possibilities, the Arevo Labs’ Robotic Additive Manufacturing Platform also maximizes size scalability and production efficiency. Key enabling technologies include automation and secondary process integration within manufacturing work cells. The part build envelope is scalable from 1000 cubic millimeters to 8 cubic meters, depending upon the size of the robot.
Hemant Bheda, CEO and founder of Arevo Labs, concluded that the company is 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 additive manufacturing work cell for the aerospace and defense factory-of-the-future.
Image and video courtesy of Arevo Labs