Nov 16, 2015 | By Kira

Considered an industry leader in the development composite additive manufacturing technology, software and materials, Arevo Labs has today introduced a first-of-its-kind Robotic Additive Manufacturing Platform (RAM) for faster and more efficient production of ultra-strong thermoplastic 3D printed composite parts. Combining a commercially available 6-axis robotic system from ABB Robotics with FDM 3D printing technology, end-effector hardware, and a comprehensive software suite, the RAM Platform allows for the 3D printing of high-performance carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastics, resulting in complex composite parts that can be used in defense, aerospace, automotive and other demanding industries.

The first component of Arevo Labs’ new platform is a commercially available, 6-axis robot. Though Arevo’s current solution is tailored to ABB’s smallest 6-axis robot, the IRB 120, they have ensured users that their scalable software can be adapted to support any larger ABB robot modes and sizes as well. Depending on the size of the ABB robot selected, the build envelope can scale up from parts as small as 1000 cubic millimeters all the way up to 8 cubic meters.

"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. “We are glad to see ABB’s robot performance and capabilities being fully utilized with Arevo Labs’ software in printing true 3D surfaces.”

The second component, the additive end-effector hardware, includes a deposition head with state-of-the-art thermal management technology, meaning it can control and process a high-performance carbon fiber-reinforced thermoplastic filament.

As for the software suite, Arevo Labs has designed a comprehensive package that includes a precise kinematics simulator that interprets deposition instructions, validates parts, and optimizes part construction; and CAM software to convert CAD models into specific additive deposition instructions for the robot. The software is fully capable of six degrees of freedom, enabling "true 3D additive manufacturing". Arevo has also ensured that their RAM Platform interfaces seamlessly with ABB’s RobotStudio programming and simulation software, meaning that tool path generation from the CAD files is as quick and easy as possible.

According to Arevo Labs, their platform’s multi-axis toolpaths will allow for the production of high-quality thermoplastic parts constructed with true 3D surfaces in variable orientations, resulting in parts with superior strength and aesthetics compared to those made with conventional Cartesian-based additive manufacturing equipment and software.

The RAM Platform was therefore designed to offer expanded design possibilities, maximized size scalability, and production efficiency for engineers seeking to push the envelope of materials and design for the most demanding of applications, including aerospace, oil & gas, medical, automotive and electronics industries. The platform is also capable of full automation and can be integrated as a secondary process with existing manufacturing workflows or sequences.

 “We are excited to be the first to develop a robot based additive manufacturing platform optimized for composite parts,” said Hemant Bheda, CEO and founder of Arevo Labs. “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.”

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Technology

 

 

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