West Midlands-based Kuka Robotics has developed a lightweight robot industrial work assistant (LBR iiWA) which it says is becoming a popular addition to existing operational systems in the plastics industry due to its flexibility.
It can be used as an anchored or mobile variant within an automated environment.
The units, which operate on seven-axes, relieve machinery operators from repetitive and physically demanding tasks and can be incorporated across polymer production applications. iiWA enables clients to implement automated solutions without the need for safety fencing. The lightweight robot interacts with its human operator without the need for a protected space, making cooperation between humans and robots without physical safeguards a reality.
At the same time Kuka has recently been involved in some significant projects, with its robots supporting 3D printing technology.
In the UK it has partnered with London based 3D print specialists Ai Build, which is developing technology for 3D printing large scale objects cost efficiently at a very high speed.
Daghan Cam, co-founder and chief executive of Ai Build, says his firm had selected Kuka because its six-axis robots give us more freedom in the way we 3D print large objects. “By having very precise control of six-axis independently gives us enough flexibility to decide not only where the material is deposited, but also which direction it is deposited from. As opposed to conventional way of layer by layer 3D printing, we can extrude material spatially in mid-air, which saves material, time and money.”
Ai Build is developing robotic hardware and software to make best use of Kuka robots. On the hardware side, it is building end effectors for 3D printing that can extrude multiple materials at very high speeds.