Robotics integrator discovers 3D binder jet printing for automotive arm finish tooling
FreeFORM Applied sciences offered a posh 17-4PH stainless-steel arm finish tooling resolution for a excessive quantity automotive inspection course of utilizing ExOne’s binder jet 3D printing know-how.
Metallic 3D printing diminished weight and prices in comparison with machined options for a FANUC robotic programs integrator that wanted an end-of-arm tooling (EOAT) resolution.
Allegheny Electrical Service – an industrial automation and management system design supplier for the powder metallic, woodworking and metallic stamping industries – was requested to create a sturdy and light-weight EOAT for the method of robotic inspection of a automotive producer. A six-axis FANUC robotic needed to choose up and place six totally different elements, various in weights of as much as 2.5 kilos, for serial inspection working repeatedly over three shifts. The variety of elements inspected on this manufacturing facility surroundings ranges from 50,000 per yr for the half with the bottom quantity to 500,000 elements per yr for the very best quantity. A 3D printed half was a part of an meeting that was to be connected to 2 different EOAT elements that, in flip, needed to sit 90 levels to one another for a wide range of inspection methods. totally different.
Typically instances, an EOAT resolution developed by Allegheny Electrical can be 3D printed in plastic or carbon fiber bolstered plastic, or it might be machined from a powerful and light-weight materials comparable to aluminum, stated Jake Shannon, design engineer at Allegheny. Electrical.
Though an preliminary prototype was initially 3D printed in a carbon bolstered plastic, the load necessities and processing volumes for the challenge eradicated this materials resulting from a scarcity of sturdiness: rigidity and the resistance simply weren’t there for the bigger items. Moreover, machining the specified performance even in light-weight aluminum would have produced an EOAT half that might have been on the high fringe of the load for the FANUC robotic arm getting used. This was additionally not thought of fascinating.
|FreeFORM 3D printed the half in 17-4PH stainless-steel. A 3D printed carbon fiber bolstered prototype, proven in black, was not sturdy sufficient for use within the remaining utility.|
Allegheny Electrical wished to discover if metallic 3D printing might ship weight and price financial savings by way of new design choices, so that they approached Free kind Applied sciences referring to each laser powder mattress fusion – specifically, direct laser sintering of metals or DMLS – and 3D binder jet printing.
FreeFORM is the primary metallic binder jet 3D printing contract producer of its sort based in 2020 by a bunch of engineers who carry a various perspective to metallic fabrication and a need to be the benchmark in manufacturing additive. FreeFORM makes use of the know-how of ExOne, a pioneer in binder jet 3D printing know-how. Since 1995, ExOne 3D printing programs have quickly remodeled powdered supplies – together with metals, ceramics, composites and sand – into precision elements, metallic molds and casting cores and tooling options. modern.
Use of the generative software program of Stable edge, computer-aided design and evaluation software program from Siemens, Allegheny Electrical and FreeFORM collaborated on a brand new light-weight design of the challenge that might solely be produced with 3D printing. The design was cited for DMLS and binder spray. In binder jet 3D printing, the printer makes use of a digital file to rapidly throw a binder into a skinny layer of powder particles – metallic, sand, or ceramic – making a strong half one layer at a time. When printing metals with DMLS know-how, the ultimate half should be sintered in an effort to fuse the particles right into a strong object.
|Utilizing 50 micron layers of ordinary MIM powders, the ExOne Innovent + metallic 3D printer took lower than a day to provide the ultimate EOAT half.|
Benefits of the binder jet
FreeFORM estimated that the half would price $ 672 to create utilizing DMLS, earlier than any remaining ending, and solely $ 150 to create utilizing the ExOne Innovent + binding jet printer owned by FreeFORM. Chris Aiello, VP of Enterprise Growth at FreeFORM, explains that because the binder jet is way sooner than different metallic 3D printing strategies, together with DMLS laser powder mattress fusion, it prices considerably extra. low that are extra aggressive in comparison with conventional manufacturing processes. The binder spray additionally provides different benefits:
a sustainable manufacturing technique that reduces materials waste to lower than 5%,
power financial savings by consolidating many assembled elements and processes into one, and
30% to 40% lighter finish use designs.
Aiello stated the distinctive light-weight design generated on this case couldn’t have been produced with out 3D printing know-how. FreeFORM was capable of print a conventional MIM powder in stainless-steel, 17-4PH, with a D90 of twenty-two μm. This materials was fascinating due to its sturdiness and corrosion resistance – an essential attribute for a component that might be utilized in a manufacturing facility with frequent temperature fluctuations, he added.
Printed on an entry-level Innovent + printer, the ultimate half exceeded the MPIF 35 commonplace, delivering a hardness of HRC 27 and a remaining density of 98%. As a result of this hardness met the shopper’s necessities, further warmth therapy was not mandatory.
“They might have used a less complicated aluminum design, however the half would even have been heavier to attain the identical power because the 17-4PH,” Aiello defined. “By going for any such natural generative design, they had been additionally capable of scale back the general payload of the machine, which is more likely to prolong the lifetime of the robotic for the shopper.”
On this case, FreeFORM determined to machine three vital traits of the half to enhance accuracy. These included a couple of holes and a floor for remaining flatness. Binder spray elements match machining identical to commonplace metallic supplies, Aiello stated: “It is similar to machining wrought materials, and it does not look totally different. of a flat-machined metallic half. “
The half as designed had a construct quantity of 160 x 65 x 65 mm (6.3 x 2.5 x 2.5 inches) and a weight of 95 grams. The preliminary printing of the half, utilizing 50 micron layers of ordinary MIM powders, took lower than a day to print on the Innovent +, a printer launched since 2016.
The Innovent + wasn’t simply quick; it additionally delivered dependable elements. “The floor high quality is superior to all different printers,” stated Aiello. “It is an easy-to-use machine. It was nice for any such utility … The Innovent + undoubtedly achieves an accuracy of plus or minus 2.5% to three% (for the primary few trials), which is the sort of efficiency able to go. job the engineering group is ready for. »The Innovent + can compose with even higher precision (lower than 1%) with 2 to three iterations.
|The intricate half designed in Stable Edge and 3D printed with binder projection know-how permits two instruments to take a seat on the top of a robotic arm at a 90 diploma angle to one another. different. They need to comprise a wide range of weights for top quantity precision inspection utility.|
The longer term
Whereas this challenge didn’t require excessive quantity elements for the ultimate EOAT – solely 4 elements had been initially wanted – Allegheny Electrical Service was desirous to do the challenge to discover if binder jet 3D printing was able to go. produce inexpensive elements in distinctive designs that might ship higher efficiency in its automation functions. Now it provides a brand new resolution possibility to supply prospects with sturdy and light-weight metallic elements at inexpensive costs.
“We at all times work throughout the design constraints of conventional manufacturing,” stated Shannon. “Now we will concentrate on design intent and course of optimization to satisfy or exceed our prospects’ expectations. We will definitely proceed to supply our prospects finish of arm tooling made with 3D binder jet printing. An essential function that we provide to our prospects is how this know-how has diminished the payload of the robotic. “
For Aiello and the FreeFORM group, this challenge confirmed the brand new design prospects they will now provide in commonplace and sturdy metallic supplies at inexpensive costs. The FreeFORM group has intensive expertise in powder metallurgy and MIM, they usually declare that the elements they now produce with binder jet 3D printing are equal to the kind of product they had been making with these processes. conventional. Nonetheless, they will now ship these elements with out instruments and with extra geometric freedom than ever earlier than.
“This challenge reveals precisely why we began the enterprise – to assist shoppers clear up complicated issues,” stated Aiello. “The binder jet was actually the one solution to go for this challenge. It was 1 / 4 of the price of DMLS, and we made it out of a powerful materials that diminished the robotic’s payload. As Allegheny Electrical Service deploys this know-how, it’ll end in better financial savings for its prospects. “
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