As outstanding outcome of the H2020 project DIMAP, cirp showcased the first ever pneumatic robot in the world printed almost exclusively with PolyJetTM technology from Stratasys® at the exhibition formnext 2018.
A group of 12 partners from five different countries coordinated by PROFACTOR developed ink materials with special thermal and electrical conductive properties within the scope of the Project. Due to its qualities, these ink materials can be used for selected print heads as well as be tailored to suit future industrial applications in products.
The DIMAP SCARA robot displays impressively the potential of the PolyJetTM 3D-printing technology with new developed ink materials. SCARA is the abbreviation for Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm and describes a jointed-arm robot that can operate horizontally.
PolyJetTM is a 3D-printing technique where print heads jet layers of curable liquid photopolymer materials, so called inks, onto a build tray. So layer by layer complex models get shaped. Multiple inks can be printed simultaneously in one layer to combine different characteristics or colors in one printed object. DIMAP aimed to develop ink materials with an innovative set of properties:
- Electrical conductive ink with silver nanoparticles to print conductive tracks
- Thermal conductive ink with ceramic nanoparticles for cool LED lights
- Foamed ink for light-weight applications
- Polyimide inks with excellent chemical and high temperature resistance.
A prototype PolyJetTM printer with extended processing features was created within the project to allow the printing process with the novel ink materials.
Two demonstrators were developed to test the printing suitability of the new ink formulations: a customizable luminaire and a pneumatically operated robot. Festo, a German supplier of pneumatic and electrical automation technology, was responsible for the design and startup of the DIMAP SCARA, which is a pneumatically actuated robot. Its functional plastic components have been printed with PolyJetTM additive manufacturing technology. Two movable axes display two different solutions for a printed rotary drive. Altair’s simulation software was used to optimize further structural components, such as the lightweight gripper. Additive manufacturing enabled a high functional integration with a small amount of components and a particularly light structure.