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Robotized additive manufacturing cell for fabrication of large parts

Abstract

The development of additive manufacturing (AM) in the last three decades allowed great creative freedom in terms of complex geometry and in the use of different materials. The AM, also known as 3D printing, brought the possibility of flexible, economic and customized solutions, however limitations in the printing velocity and in the dimensions of the products are still important drawbacks. The main objective of this research project is to develop and further explore a 3D printing manufacturing cell based on the FPM technique (Fused Pellet Modelling) for the fabrication of large scale pieces. An articulated robotic arm will be used, which will allow the manufacturing of parts with a volume up to 1 m3 through the LFAM concept (Large Format Additive Manufacturing). An extruder will be coupled to the robot arm with the capacity of deposition of nearly 0,5 kg/h of thermoplastic polymer. Low-cost ABS grain material will be used as the main pellets for the experiments. The manufacturing cell will be controlled by a software that will receive the 3D CAD file of the design and define the deposition strategy, controlling the robotic arm and the extruder. The research will then follow two main roads: a complete parametric study of the system, where peculiar features of this kind of process will be investigated as the adhesion between layers, density, mechanical resistance and the productivity of the process, and another study involving the development of real-time monitoring of the AM process inspired on recent trends of the Internet of Things (IoT). With the end of the research project, meaningful contributions to the fabrication of large-scale parts with AM and in the digitalization of industrial processes are expected. (AU)

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