Six-Axis Metal Printer Can Create Large, Complex Components

Robotic printer uses simulation to immediately correct for anomalies.

Robotic printer uses simulation to immediately correct for anomalies.

Norberto Pires, professor in the Department of Mechanical engineering at FCTUC, poses with the robotic, 6-axis metal 3D printer his team developed. Image courtesy of TVeuropa.

Portugese and Norwegian scientists have created a 6-axis 3D printer that can produce large metal parts for automotive, aerospace and other applications. According to the scientists, the device can print parts from any angle and plane.

The Faculty of Science and Technology of the University of Coimbra (FCTUC) and the Norwegian University of Science and Technology’s research/development partner SINTEF collaborated on the project.

Tata Steel in India has already expressed interest in using the printer.

Robotic Arm Responds to Simulation Predictions

The printer uses a dexterous robotic arm and leverages a simultaneous simulation solution that predicts variables like temperatures and phase changes in the material. This allows the printer to immediately correct for any anomalies in the print process.

“Currently, printing is performed by trial/error until the desired parameters are achieved,” said Norberto Pires, professor in the Department of Mechanical engineering at FCTUC.

According to Pires, the team had to overcome a number of challenges in developing the technology. “On the one hand, finding a way to adapt existing printing technology to such a system—automation and integration of technology—and, on the other hand, to incorporate tools of simulation that allow the real-time correction of the parameters of the parts printing,” Pires said.

A number of European universities have submitted the project for additional funding from the European Union.

Source: Portugal News

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Brian Albright

Brian Albright is the editorial director of Digital Engineering. Contact him at [email protected].

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