Flexible Object Handling in Additive Manufacturing with Service Robotics


The focus of this paper is the flexible handling of printed objects; specifically looking at the unloading process of a 3D printed object from the printer’s build plate. To design functioning universal gripper fingers 150.000 mod- els were analyzed, in order to calculate an appropriate range of dimensions. To determine the exact position, orientation and dimensions of the printed object a simple but effective algorithm analyzes the GCode file provided by the printer. Based on this information a detachment-strategy is chosen, which is a combination out of one or more of four basic movements. Upon receiving this information the robot executes the unloading process. Furthermore, five different gripper finger approaches and designs are examined and tested with an industrial gripper on a lightweight robot. The presented flexible handling approach provides the first step towards an economical way of handling printed objects from the build plate, reducing the non-value adding time of 3D printing. The proposed concept is not bound to the fused filament fabrication (FFF) technique, but can be applied universally to any 3D printing process by means of minor adjustments to the presented designs.

ICIEA - International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Applications