Another specific use case has been demonstrated by Preziosa Francesco SRL, an Italian manufacturer of sheet metal cabinets, which has relied on nTopology’s software to optimize grippers for their robotic manufacturing operations. The Fanuc M710-iC robotic arm would load metal sheets onto an automatic press brake bender, then orient and hold the part as it was bent before placing the component into the proper basket for storage. The need to CNC machine custom robot grippers for specific jobs resulted in long lead times. For this reason, they partnered with Add-it and brought gripper production in-house with metal 3D printing from Desktop Metal. To produce the proper grippers, capable of precise positioning under high loading conditions, the engineers at Add-it sought to improve the traction pattern on the gripper. The grippers were ultimately 3D printed in 17-4 PH stainless steel using the Desktop Metal Studio System. “If you don’t have a very repeatable process, you are forced to run production only during the day. It is very economically difficult to have these machines operate during day-shift only. Theoretically, you can have a very clever production system. But if it doesn’t work as intended because of a cheap part, an investment worth hundreds of thousands is at stake. nTopology allowed us to use robotic manufacturing our Desktop Metal Studio System to its full potential,” said Marco Preziosa, CEO of Preziosa Francesco SRL. The benefits of 3D printing end effectors has already been explored by a variety of firms, with some specifically using the technology to create grippers for soft robotics.
Read the full article at 3DPrint.com | The Voice of 3D Printing / Additive Manufacturing