American company AMBOTS have developed mobile robots for distributed 3D printing large plastic structures. AMBOTS showedhow two such robot is able to simultaneously print a single structure in accordance with the General plan. In addition, the company has developed a robot that can perform simple Assembly operations with already printed details, reported on the website of the company. The robots will go on sale in 2020.
Some modern companies are using 3D printing not just as a tool for rapid prototyping, but also as a full production method. But the classic 3D-printers there is a fundamental technological drawbacks, including a fixed working area is usually a component in a width of several tens of centimeters. This problem has several solutions. For example, you can create a large 3D printer, able to print buildings, or to expand the print area more sophisticated way, adding to the printer conveyor that will take the already printed area from the printer.
The company AMBOTS have chosen a different approach and developed a distributed system, consisting of 3D printers on the movable platform capable after printing a certain area to move to a new location and thus to create large objects. In addition, this scheme allows to significantly speed up the production process, because one part is created from multiple printheads. The robot print has a size of about 30-40 centimeters in each dimension. It consists of a wheeled platform and a 3D printer operating by the method of layer-by-layer fused deposition modeling (FDM). In such printers via the print head is plastic thread that is melted and applied to the desired area of the printed object. Mobile robot platform based on four wheels Ilona, allowing the robot to move in any direction without having to turn.
The company has demonstrated in the video, how this system works. Before you print, the robots get the overall plan, according to which the printing area is distributed between them, and proceed to creating object. The demonstration video shows printing using two robots, but potentially their number is not limited. In addition to the simultaneous printing of parts homogeneous robots can create a single item consisting of different materials, each of which is applied by a separate printer.
AMBOTS are also developed on the same platform of the robot, whose task is to perform basic Assembly operations. To do this, the robot has a manipulator that allows you to grab and move objects. The company notes that develop her robots are commercial, not laboratory development, so next year it will begin sales of a modified serial robots.
Previously, simultaneous collective printing two robots showed the Singapore engineers. They used a large wheeled platform on which the serial robotic manipulators with printheads for printing of concrete structures.