Jan 19, 2016 | By Kira

UK-based Delcam, a supplier of advanced CAD/CAM software for the manufacturing of complex parts in the aerospace, automotive, medical device and toolmaking industries, has acquired a new ABB robot fitted with a Fronius CMT Advanced welding head. The company plans to use the machine to research the programming of robots for metal additive manufacturing using Delcam’s PowerMILL Robot interface.

The ABB robotic arm offers six axes of movement, with two more axes, tilt and rotation, provided by the table holding the material. According to the company, the added flexibility of this multi-axis machine is that it allows parts to be oriented into the ‘optimum position’ as they are being 3D printed, thus enabling complex shapes to be created without the need for extra support structures.

The new ABB robot will run on PowerMILL Robot, an interface add-on designed by Delcam specifically for programming multi-axis robots quickly and accurately. PowerMILL Robot comes completely integrated in PowerMILL, Delcam’s flagship 3D CAM solution for programming the tool paths of 2 to 5-axis CNC milling machines, and thus gives users the ability to use the all of the system’s project management options to manage, store and retrieve manufacturing data.

“PowerMILL Robot makes it as easy to program a robot for machining as it is to program a five-axis machine tool,” said Delcam in a statement. “As well as making it possible to program robots for additive manufacturing, PowerMILL can be used for tool-to-part applications, especially for machining large parts, such as composite panels that need to be trimmed, or for part-to-tool applications, such as grinding or polishing.”

Despite these extensive applications, this particular ABB robot was added to Delcam’s range of manufacturing equipment at its Birmingham site specifically to conduct research into metal additive manufacturing—the fastest-growing segment in industrial 3D printing by far.

In order to accomplish this, Delcam’s machine is equipped with a Fronius Cold Metal Transfer (CMT) Advanced welding head. Welding technology company Fronius developed Cold Metal Transfer welding as a method to join materials with different properties—namely aluminum and steel—providing a stable, reproducible and spatter-free deposition of material that Delcam believes shows great potential for metal 3D printing.

This isn’t the first time Delcam’s software has been used to bridge the apparent gap between 3D printing and machining. A few years ago, French researchers used Delcam’s PowerSHAPE CAD software and PowerMILL CAM to finish the machining of laser-sintered metal parts created on EOS 3D printers. Delcam was also one of five UK companies to participate in Lionel T Dean’s Precious, a project whose aim is to demonstrate the viability of precious metal additive manufacturing within the UK jewelry industry. As of 2014, Delcam is also a wholly owned, yet independently operated subsidiary of well-known 3D modeling software corporation Autodesk.



Posted in 3D Printing Technology



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