Dutch 3D printing specialist startup MX3D has partnered with global technology company Altair to print an industrial robotic arm optimized for an ABB robot.

The work team is made up of: Mirko Bromberger, Jaideep Bangal, Tony Gray and Michael Wawrzinek from Altair were responsible for the design and engineering of the project, while van Glabeke, Richard van Dam, Cas Nieuwland and Max Peek were responsible for 3D printing the equation. Martin van der Have and Gino Seesing from ABB, the leading providers of industrial robot software, equipment and complete application solutions for robots, are responsible for the robotic aspect of the project.

The purpose of this project is to show how to use digital cufflinks and generative design customization capabilities to help “improve the productivity of custom robotic applications”, with a focus on how to use large metal 3D printing and using an advanced version of your Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing technology will optimize the robotic arm for particular processes.

Generative design is also used to develop distinctive new designs, “topological efficiency brings geometric efficiency.” These models are then compared and tested for the feasibility and productivity of manufacturing.

The Digital Twin Design process seeks to provide improvements to the stainless steel robotic arm to handle greater precision and speed of manufacture, and conserve energy generated by movement. This process uses simulation of assembly movement to recognize performance conditions.

MX3D’s Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing technology uses advanced geometry processing, that is, it can execute three-dimensional printing vertically, guaranteeing greater efficiency when manufacturing the part, and through algorithms it can trace the best trajectory so that the impression meets specific geometric characteristics.

The team managed to reduce the weight of the 3D printing arm by more than 50%.

3D printing is done continuously 24 hours a day, parts can be completed in four days, and only a 3-axis milling machine can be used to complete the machining of the robotic arm.

ABB, Altair and MX3D plan to reassemble the complete robot using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) technology to make large robotic arms is a good example of how industrial robots can really benefit this particular field.

Thomas Van Glabeke, MX3D commercial technical developer. He said. ÔÇťAltair’s software enables these optimizations by customizing the generative design. For the robotic arm we printed, more than half the original weight was removed due to optimization, taking into account printing limitations. “MX3D can print these parts reliably and quickly with WAAM technology.”