Industrial robots are heavy. I have just checked that the ABB (ASEA Brown Boveri) is a Swedish-Swiss multinational corporation headquartered in Zurich, Switzerland, operating mainly in robotics, power, heavy electrical equipment and automation technology areas. It is ranked 341st in… More IRB760 weighs 2310 kg with a payload of 450 kg. In my opinion, this is not a bad ratio. However, it is always worth trying to do something better 🙂
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Evolution of robot arm
Using a generative design tool allows us to discover unusual solutions. We have to define all the boundary criteria (dimensions, forces) and the application will try to design the best possible shape. Each time it starts from zero and compares the result with the previous ones. If there is progress than last design became a new reference. The software does not have any patterns in mind. It just wants to choose the best shape that meets the criteria.
As we can see in this video, the result can be very different from what we are used to seeing every day. I’m pretty amazed by the shape of this arm and also curious how much is stiffer and lighter than an original one.
Those are not all interesting technologies used in this project. This freshly designed part of the robot is manufactured by another robot using one of the 3D metal printing method: Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM).
Maybe in the future, there will be companies offering custom made parts for robots used in specific tasks? With greater stiffness or arm length depending on your needs. Or with the same parameters as the original part but with more attractive shape? Maybe each robot producer will be collaborating with part tuners like Brabus with Mercedes or AC Schnitzer with BMW?