4 minute read • published in partnership with KUKA
Feature: Standardised additive manufacturing system delivers real 3D printing potential
A collaboration between Ai Build and KUKA Systems has culminated in the development of the AMCell_ series, a turnkey, integrated 3D printing system.
The series launches with the AMCell_small, the first of three standardized cell iterations. AMCell_small is aimed specifically at the academic sector, for schools, universities and company training facilities, through which students can learn the basics of automated polymer, 3D printing.
Featuring the KUKA KR AGILUS 10 R900, Ai Build’s additive manufacturing software AiSync, a non-planar extruder head and periphery, AMCell_ has been efficiently and cost effectively packaged to support the optimal delivery of advanced training methods in additive manufacturing principles.
The competent handling of automated, technological products is of paramount importance in practice, in today’s manufacturing environment. The assembly of products is undergoing a revolution, and additive manufacturing is a key driver behind this trend, as it becomes the mass-manufacturing method of choice, as digitally automated workflows replace high volume, serial production techniques.
3D printing is now considered to be a standard part of manufacturers toolkits across industry sectors, such as: automotive, aerospace, marine and energy/power generation, as a cost effective and accelerated alternative to conventional techniques, such as near-net-shape and subtractive manufacturing. Tooling, door handles, dashboards and keels all being produced using 3D printing methods, as manufacturers satisfy both aesthetic and functional considerations.
As demand for additive manufacturing, as a process, has increased, Ai Build has focussed upon the development of its AiSync software that enables the fast, precise and repeatable delivery of, highly efficient, toolpaths using KUKA’s industrial robots. A programme of continuous solution development, that encapsulated machine learning and artificial intelligence, means that today, AiSync customers are able to achieve overall build efficiency gains of a staggering 90% and build failure reductions of 65%.
The AMCell_ series, primarily the next cell generations of _medium and _large shall deliver to manufacturing, in sectors such as automotive and aerospace, a fully autonomous ‘go-to’ solution that will satisfy demand driven additive manufacturing requirements.
”Our approach is to enable broad adoption of 3D printing, the key to which is ease of use and repeatable outcomes” said AiBuild CEO Daghan Cam. “Our collaboration with KUKA on the AMCell aligns perfectly with that aim within a fully integrated, high quality system”.
Ai Build has partnered with KUKA UK for seven years, from the beginning of the Ai journey. The brand has been an integral member of the hugely successful system partner programme ever since, sharing best practice and transference of knowledge. It therefore made sense that the mutual strengths from across both brands be utilised in the development of the AMCell_ series.
“A small-scale, polymer 3D printing package aimed (initially) at the academic sector seemed the perfect fit for KUKA and Ai Build” said Kevin Kolkea, Sales Manager – Robotic Joining and Additive Manufacturing at KUKA. “As an entry level, standardised cell, our skilled 3D printing specialists of tomorrow can be trained in the operation of KUKA robots and become familiar with Ai Build’s additive manufacturing software AiSync and user interfaces.”
The AMCell_small will take the delivery of 3D printing in academia to another level which, typically, has been utilizing computer-aided design (CAD) information to print products via a 3D printer. Technology packages such as the AMCell_ allows for much larger scale projects to be delivered, synergies between creativity and technology to be realised, prototypes can be accelerated and adaptable and scalable processes can be developed for industry.
The fully integrated AMCell_ package will give students the capability to start manufacturing their own products and prototypes whilst institutions save costs on tooling, maintenance and development. AMCell_ maximises the degrees of freedom in the additive manufacturing, plastic extrusion process, using a preconfigured robot and AiSync software to suit individual requirements with small print areas.
Kevin continues “Manufacturers, now, want the efficiencies that 3D printing affords, that correlate to cost savings, accelerated market entry and enhanced product integrity. More importantly, they want access to skilled individuals, especially in the current labour climate, that can manage their process chains, within automated additive manufacturing.”
Daghan Cam further commented “KUKA have a well earned reputation for quality engineering, and over many years Ai Build’s partnership with KUKA has been tested in many scenarios. We use KUKA robots every day in our AiLab and KUKA integrated with AiSync software has been successfully pushing AM boundaries in the world’s largest enterprises. We are delighted to have had the opportunity to collaborate with KUKA on the AMCell, which addresses a clear market need across academia and enterprise alike.
Ai Build will be attending Formnext, Frankfurt, Hall 11.1, stand B39 between 15th and 18th November 2022, demystifying the complexities of additive manufacturing.