ABB announced last month that it has added 3D printing capabilities to its RobotStudio simulation and offline programming software. The industrial automation provider said this will enable users to program ABB robots for additive manufacturing in as little as 30 minutes.
Part of the PowerPac portfolio of RobotStudio, the new 3D Printing feature eliminates manual programming to allow faster prototype production, said ABB. The 3D Printing PowerPac supports a variety of processes, such as welding and printing with granules or concrete. The company claimed that it is ideal for low-volume, high-mix printing.
Traditional methods of 3D printing use machines that are time-consuming because programming the printing paths involves plotting millions of points and trajectories.
With the new 3D Printing PowerPac, ABB said, any standard slicer software design can be “translated” into the simulation environment and robot code. An operator can thus progress from the CAD design stage to final modeling of a product in just half an hour.
“Ease of use” was one of the takeaways from ABB and others at Automate and ProMat last year.
RobotStudio and 3D printing
Additive manufacturing has potential applications in aerospace, healthcare, and construction. For instance, UPM demonstrated 3D printing using recyclable biocomposite, which combined cellulose fiber and biopolymer technologies, in collaboration with ABB and Prenta last year.
The 3D printing industry is poised for a period of strong growth, with valuation expected to hit $34.8 billion by 2024, owing in part to the development of new industrial-grade 3D printing materials, according to research firm Markets and Markets.
“With our new 3D Printing software, we are offering customers a faster and more streamlined 3D printing process,” said Steven Wyatt, head of portfolio and digital at ABB Robotics and Discrete Automation. “Coupled with the high performance of our robots, this means manufacturers can now produce high-quality 3D-printed objects for a variety of industrial applications more efficiently.”