Robot based and large scale additive manufacturing
Combining additive manufacturing with industrial robotics and new materials opens up new possibilities to create innovative large scale products within automotive, construction and furniture. RISE has unique competence across the value chain, from design to finished product, for thermoplastics and composites.
Interest in using additive manufacturing to fabricate large scale components in thermoplastics and composites has increased dramatically during the last five years, driven by an increase in available build volume and build speed in new 3D printers.
Areas where there is a need for shorter lead timed and reduced costs when manufacturing complex large parts are many. Examples are large scale tooling for composites manufacturing or vacuum forming, large prototypes in automotive, architectural elements and furniture.
Today, there are many commercially available systems for large scale additive manufacturing. These often have production capacity of 10 - 40 kg per hour, nozzle diameter of 1 - 10 mm and layer thicknesses of 1 - 4 mm. The high production rate enables effective production of large parts but the low resolution also often requires post-processing to improve tolerances and surface quality.
RISE is among the pioneers in using industrial robot arms to perform additive manufacturing of plastics. This approach not only gives the possibility to manufacture large components but also to combine additive manufacturing with other operations, for example machining, by using tool changers. Using a 6-axis robot arm also opens up the possibility for completely new ways of printing, for example non-linear layer printing, which can be used to tailor the properties of a part in different directions.
At RISE in Mölndal in the Gothenburg area, we can help companies access competence in robot based additive manufacturing in areas like
- material development and selection
- design for large scale additive manufacturing
- process simulation
- print path generation and robot control
- real time monitoring
- quality assurance
Our test bed for robot based additive manufacturing has a build volume of 6m x 2m x 2,5m and offers the possibility to manufacture parts in virgin or recycled thermoplastics and composites.