DP Technology and Alma Develop Robot Additive DED Solution
DP Technology and Alma have partnered to create a complete programming solution for robot additive direct energy deposition.
DP Technology, creators of ESPRIT CAM software for CNC use, have partnered with Alma, a CAD/CAM provider for robotics, to create a complete programming solution for robot additive DED (direct energy deposition).
Additive DED is a series of metal 3D printing technologies that creates parts by melting and fusing material as it is deposited. Wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM), also known as DED-arc, is an additive DED technology applied in robot additive DED to produce the near net shape preforms with significant cost and lead time reductions, increased material efficiency and improved component performance.
Compared to a machine tool-based DED machine, which can cost up to several million dollars, a robotic DED machine costs significantly less (close to $150,000 to $200,000). Additionally, many companies can retrofit existing programmable, industrial robots for additive DED applications. However, to program a robot to perform an additive DED task, an engineer must determine both the toolpath of the DED head and the robot arm movements that efficiently achieve the ideal toolpath.
To provide customers with an end-to-end solution for programming robot additive DED, DP Technology and Alma have pooled ESPRIT’s advanced toolpath planning in both subtractive and additive areas and Alma’s robotics trajectory computation technology and off-line programming of arc welding robots.
This solution allows Alma to use the full ESPRIT additive DED cycles such as 3x, 4x and 5x, bringing the software to a new level of support for additive technology. It also allows ESPRIT to support industrial robot brands including Yaskawa, ABB, FANUC and Kuka.
The result of this technology partnership is a complete workflow that provides end users with dedicated additive toolpath planning and programming; robot programming, simulation, verification, collision detection and code generation; and subtractive finishing process planning, simulation, verification, collision detection and G-code generation.
An engineering modification that would have been impractical or cost-prohibitive in the past is realized on a machine tool performing metal 3D printing and machining in the same cycle.
A video from Pratt & Whitney illustrates the steps needed to additively manufacture an aerospace component.
When Precision Metal Products purchased its first 3D printer last year, the company hoped to collapse both tooling costs and lead times. But the technology’s impact is reaching core business operations, enabling the shop to focus on higher-margin, lower-volume production.