CREAT3D Case Study
IMPROVING AUTOMATION THROUGH ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING
"We can prototype quicker, design better, produce a more refined end product and we can achieve continuous improvement. I can only ever see us investing more in Additive Manufacturing technologies."
Alan Quinn, Engineering Manager, Active8 Robots
> ABOUT ACTIVE8 ROBOTS
Active8 Robots specialises in the smarter application of robotics technologies, industrial automation and system integration solutions. Active8 Robots has strong experience in delivering solutions to a wide range of sectors including food, pharmaceuticals, defence, automotive and 3PL. Active8 Robots also works closely with some of the UK’s top universities and Research & Technology Organisations (RTOs) from a Research and Development perspective.
Integrating Additive Manufacturing into all engineering processes. Active8 Robots has a dedicated innovation centre with an expansive range of Additive Manufacturing technologies for rapid prototyping capabilities. Furthermore, Active8’s portfolio of Markforged 3D printers enables manufacturing on demand, and avoids stockholding.
In automation, light-weight end effectors increase
the productivity of the robot, which in turn increases efficiency, reduces costs and wear and tear. The challenge is how to achieve bespoke, light-weight, cost-effective solutions, and quickly.
“The key benefit from integrating the Markforged 3D printers is the flexibility. We can begin solving any sort of problem immediately” Silvia Sanchez, Marketing
Markforged 3D printers have enabled Active8 Robots to:
> Produce lighter weight end of arm tooling and end effectors
> Reduce production lead times from 3-4 weeks to <12 hours
> Generate new business, by producing end-use components with the Markforged 3D printers that were previously too difficult and costly to achieve using traditional manufacturing methods
> BENEFITS FROM ADDITIVE
> Faster Turnaround
Additive presents a phenomenal time saving, reducing lead times to a matter of hours versus 3-4 weeks for external CNC machining.
Using 3D printers in house means that Active8 Robots can provide their clients with a superfast turnaround on idea and product development. This shortens the development loop, minimises risk and speeds up the entire process.
Designs, from initial concept, to end components are done in-house, overnight. Testing is carried out quicker, and any design changes that need to be made are effected immediately, reprinted and retested, reducing risk. This enables Active8 Robots to get it right, first time.
Furthermore, there is no need for additional purchase orders, supplier selection or supplier management, reducing the need to use external third party providers.
> Light Weight = Enhanced Part Performance
In automation, producing more light-weight end effectors increases the productivity of the robot, which in turn increases efficiency, reduces costs and wear and tear. As the end effectors are 3D printed, it enables the storing of a digital file only, enabling manufacturing on demand and avoids stockholding, reducing the warehousing space required and storage costs.
Often the geometry of end of arm tooling can be difficult to machine. With 3D printing, the design can be adapted to better fit the task, and in addition, it is made lighter. Using Onyx (Nylon with micro carbon fibres), Active8 Robots are able to print end of arm tooling that is hollow, yet strong.
The end result is often an end of arm tool that is capable of a higher pay load than the cobot itself.
WATCH ACTIVE8 ROBOTS' 3D PRINTED END-OF-ARM PARTS IN ACTION
> 3D Printing as a Trusted Tool in Every Solution
Additive Manufacturing is now an invaluable and essential tool. 3D printing is used in some context on all physical projects by Active8 Robots, whether in early concept stages, design development, product testing, end solutions or end-use component and continuous development. Active8 Robots always focus on solving the problem, using 3D printing as an indispensable tool within that solution.
Active8 Robots have won new business, including a single project worth £35,000 through incorporating a solution with their Markforged 3D printers. The flexibility, speed and capabilities the technology has given the Engineering Team at Active8 Robots sees them remain ahead of their competition, delivering bespoke, light-weight, better performing solutions to their clients, faster.
Active8 Robots’ Foam Gripper is a highly versatile tool, able to pick up multiple objects up to a weight of 10kg, thanks to a vacuum generator and solenoid built inside.
Benefits of 3D printing the main body of the Foam Gripper against using traditional fabrication methods
3D PRINTED ON MARKFORGED X3 INDUSTRIAL 3D PRINTER:
> Reduction of weight by 50%
> Reduction of development time from 1 week to 3 days
> Reduction of costs from £70 to £10 in materials
"The quality and performance of the printed parts off the Markforged printers is excellent. Parts are strong and tough, they don’t shatter under load and have superb surface quality. You have to look really closely to see that the parts are not injection moulded.”
Alan Quinn, Engineering Manager, Active8 Robots