Novel Robotic 3D Printing Technology for the Manufacture of Large Parts
Additive manufacturing technologies are being used more widely to manufacture complex part geometries. Given the existing space limitations and the substantial time required to build up parts (small layer thicknesses), most 3D printing technologies do not operate cost effectively. When they are combined with industrial robotics, however, they become particularly interesting for the manufacture of large parts. This paper reports on the development of the design of a novel high-production system that can build parts weighing as much as 50 kg and measuring more than 1000 mm. The innovative solution is based on the build platform's six-axis controller to deposit large quantities of material (5-10 dm3/h) with layer thicknesses of 5-10 mm rapidly. The use of three extruders makes it possible to process different thermoplastics such as ABS, PC, PLA or PP in granule form. Both hard-soft materials and different colors can be combined. The VINCENT simulation tool developed by the Fraunhofer IFF is being used to develop the control system for complex manufacturing operations. This new integrative approach to motion planning and event simulation makes it possible to test geometry and function even before the system starts being built.