Gloucestershire, UK – Leading engineering and scientific technology company, Renishaw PLC is collaborating with UK start-up business Additive Automations, as part of the SALSA project. Separation of Additive-Layer Supports by Automation (SALSA) aims to use robotics and deep learning to digitalize some of the few remaining manual processes left in additive manufacturing (AM). Collaborative robots (cobots) were chosen for their high payload-to-size ratio and integrated force sensors, which gather data to determine the geometry of AM parts. Then, using twin digital technology, software analyses the data. The output is then used to figure out where the support structures are so that they can be removed using an end-effector tool.
Additive Automations, produces robotic systems to automate additive manufacturing. In addition, it collaborated with both Renishaw and the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC).
“Automating support removal and finishing in AM completely changes the economics when scaling up AM, and for the first time makes it feasible for manufacturers around the world to adopt this technology in rapid production,” explained Robert Bush, CEO, Additive Automations. “The digitalization of AM also comes with an increase in quality, traceability and repeatability. Given that on average almost two-thirds of post-processing costs are from finishing and support structure removal, we believe automation can reduce costs by an average of 25 percent per part.”
“Improvements in post-processing could bring AM to the forefront of new applications in medical and aerospace applications,” opined Bryan Austin, Director - AM Sales, Renishaw. “An automated manufacturing process could make AM adoption more appealing to manufacturers operating large volume production lines.”
Image Source: Renishaw