Bastian Solutions, a Toyota Advanced Logistics company, has introduced a new robotic materials handler to its production workflow: the Bastian Solutions Shuttle System. The robot was developed in collaboration with AM solutions company Fast Radius and is made from a number of 3D printed components, which the company says have enabled unparalleled efficiency and flexibility.
The new robotic Shuttle System integrates a number of parts—including fingers, joints and elbows—3D printed using HP’s Multi Jet Fusion technology and Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis 3D printers. The polymer components not only provide the system with better dexterity, but also reduce the amount of power needed to execute tasks because they are significantly lighter than their metallic counterparts.
The design and production of the Shuttle System components was done in close collaboration with Fast Radius. In the end, 45% of the final build-of-material (BOM) of the robotic arm will be produced using 3D printing. The parts are manufactured at Fast Radius’ headquarters in Chicago, which houses a state-of-the-art additive manufacturing facility.
“We envisioned that additively manufacturing specific parts would make the Bastian Solutions Shuttle System the most efficient and agile robotic picker available on the market,” commented Ron Daggett, Vice President of Technology and R&D at Bastian Solutions. “The additive manufacturing process will enable us to customize each robot picker to fit a customer’s particular warehouse environment.”
Fast Radius works with companies, such as Bastian Solutions, to identify where and how AM can improve manufacturing workflows by accelerating product development and enhancing part performance.
In the case of the Shuttle System, HP’s 3D printing technology was identified as a solution for producing durable polymer joints for the robot, while Carbon’s DLS technology was used to produce the proprietary fingers/grippers for the robotic arm as well as other parts. Notably, the project utilized Carbon’s EPU 40 material, which offered the strong and flexible properties the robot required.
“We’re excited that Carbon DLS technology and innovative materials are playing a critical role in bringing the Bastian Solutions Shuttle System to market,” said Dana McCallum, Head of Production Partners for Carbon. “Carbon DLS technology and EPU 40 resin made it possible for Fast Radius to manufacture a texture on the robot’s finger that allows the robot to pick up any part, of any size. This couldn’t have been achieved using traditional manufacturing methods and is a great example of what kind of innovation is possible with digital manufacturing, specifically Carbon DLS technology and unique materials.”
“Developing a new process for a robotic arm and using advanced additive materials to design lifelike fingers and joints is a reflection of Fast Radius’ mission to ‘make new things possible,’” added Lou Rassey, CEO of Fast Radius. “The nature of additive manufacturing enabled us to create and test over a thousand prototype parts for Bastian Solutions in under 20 months until we arrived at just the right ones for this unique piece of equipment.”
The 3D printed Shuttle System will be presented by Bastion Solutions this week at the ProMat event in Chicago.