Why 3D Printing Is the Perfect Manufacturing Method for Robotics Applications
As businesses seek innovative ways to streamline operations in an increasingly digital world, the robotics industry has responded with revolutionary opportunities for automation.
Robotics are used for many applications today, including self-driving cars, hotel and restaurant management, laboratory fixtures, and medical equipment. Studies show that an incredible 88% of businesses worldwide plan to incorporate robotics into their infrastructure.
In recent years, Houston has become the launchpad for a growing maker community, which includes many robotics companies paving the way forward. As an integral part of this community, Alchemy Industrial leverages additive manufacturing to help robotics engineers create better, more successful applications.
How Additive Manufacturing Complements Robotics Applications
Many industrial applications use robots for an extremely specific purpose: to perform repetitive movement over and over again. That repetitive movement (think: picking up a cup) requires unique features distinct to the application. Here’s how additive manufacturing compliments these applications:
One of the major benefits of additive manufacturing is the opportunity for customization and personalization. With 3D printing, it’s possible to easily customize designs—no matter how individualized or specific. Let’s return to the example of a robot that picks up cups. If a robot of a certain size needs to pick up a cup of a certain size, we can make a gripper suited for that exact purpose. Because we work with digital files, we can easily customize any number of special features.
When customizing a product or building a proof of concept prototype, it’s important to be able to iterate without slowing down the process. Traditional manufacturing methods like injection molding and CNC machining require expensive tooling or time-consuming setup. But with 3D printing, it’s easy to iterate from one part to the next.
Geometric and material flexibility.
Additive manufacturing provides significantly greater design flexibility than CNC machining. 3D printing allows us to create complex geometric designs like internal and external threads, knobs, ridges, and undercuts. We can also work with a full range of materials to fit your unique purpose.
Injection molding may be a cost-effective option for mass production. But robots and robotic components aren’t typically mass-produced. 3D printing is a much cheaper, quicker solution for low-volume production than injection molding.
For parts that require portability or speed, Alchemy Industrial offers lightweight thermoplastic materials that are just as strong as metal. We also use a variety of lightweighting techniques during our generative design process, like designing infills.
Additive manufacturing offers precise and flexible solutions for robotics applications while lowering costs and improving time to market. At Alchemy Industrial, rapid prototyping with additive manufacturing is our expertise—and we’re highly skilled in developing components for the robotics industry.
Reach out to us today for 3D printing in Houston and let’s push toward an innovative and automated future together.