A frequent goal in any design is to find ways to save on weight and power needs. The engineers at Bastion Solutions, a Toyota Advanced Logistics company, were looking for a way to develop a more efficient robotic material handling system. They turned to additive manufacturing to build fingers, joints, and elbows for their Bastian Solutions Shuttle System. Because the additively made parts were built from polymers, the robotic handler was more dexterous and had lower power requirements for operation. Thus, the engineers could choose a smaller motor than one they would have needed for metal versions of these parts.
The engineers at Bastian Solutions worked with Fast Radius, a provider of additive manufacturing solutions, to implement additive design and manufacturing into the Shuttle System. The additive parts for the product are made at Fast Radius’ Chicago headquarters.
Forty-five percent of the final build-of-material (BOM) for the arm will be produced using additive manufacturing. A portion of the Shuttle System’s parts and prototypes, including the durable polymer joints for the robotic arm, were made with HP 3D printers using Multi Jet Fusion industrial-grade technology. Additional parts, including the proprietary fingers/gripper for the robotic arm were developed using Carbon’s Digital Light Synthesis (DLS) technology and unique materials, notably EPU 40.
Said Ron Daggett, Vice President of Technology and R&D, Bastian Solutions, “The additive manufacturing process will enable us to customize each robot picker to fit a customer’s particular warehouse environment.”
Noted Lou Rassey, Chief Executive Officer, Fast Radius, “The nature of additive manufacturing enabled us to create and test over a thousand prototype parts for Bastian Solutions in under 20 months until we arrived at just the right ones for this unique piece of equipment.”
The Carbon DLS technology and EPU 40 resin made it possible for Fast Radius to manufacture a texture on the robot’s finger that allows the robot to pick up any part, of any size. This couldn’t have been achieved using traditional manufacturing methods and is an example of what kind of innovation is possible with digital manufacturing.