MX3D, an Amsterdam-based company that has invented a large-format metal 3D printer, has made an exciting announcement for those following its progress. The company has successfully installed a newly optimized industrial robot arm. The part, designed by a team of engineers at Altair and 3D printed by MX3D, can be implemented as a replacement part on an ABB robot.
We first covered the industrial robotic arm back in November 2019, when the company revealed what it was working on. The large-scale 3D printed component, made of stainless steel, bears the unmistakeable look of a generatively designed part and is reportedly 50% lighter than the conventional robot arm. MX3D has now taken a step ahead in this project with the arm’s successful installation.
The 3D printed Robot Arm has now successfully gone through every step of the development process: from the original robot’s disassembly, to reverse engineering and optimizing, to 3D printing and now, finally, to assembly and testing. The original robot arm component was redesigned by the Altair team using Generative Design Customization with the aim of creating a part that was more lightweight and could achieve more precise movements.
The overall goal of the collaborative project is to pave the way for the production of customized robotic replacement parts. Additive manufacturing, as we’ve seen across many industries, enables large-scale parts to be produced on-demand, without the need for costly tooling and long lead times. MX3D’s technology specifically, Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing, has demonstrated its ability to optimize the production and performance of parts through the combination of near-net-shape printing and machining.
In addition to the ABB robot replacement arm, MX3D has worked on a number of fascinating and boundary-pushing projects. Arguably its most famous endeavor is the printing of a canal bridge to be installed in Amsterdam. The ambitious project, which started back in 2015, is now in its final stages. The most recent update on MX3D’s website, from 2019, indicates that the metal 3D printed bridge structure successfully passed its final load test at UT Twente. The next phase is to add sensors to the bridge to collect material and usage data.