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Shorter development cycles by use of 3D printing

To develop and build robotic arms and grippers smart and efficiently, we reach out for innovate technologies like 3D printing. In the design process of new robots and new custom applications we early and often use 3D printing to fasten the development cycles.

14 March 2018

3D printing in the product development

3D printing with MakerBot

Make faster and better decisions

The KR 3 AGILUS saw one of the company’s fastest development cycles yet among other reasons thanks to the extensive use of 3D printing. Using an in-house 3D printer with a large build volume allows designers and engineers to print and test designs much earlier in the process than if they outsourced parts. With the rich physical information available from the early printed prototypes, the designers can make faster and better decisions — decisions that ultimately save weeks off their total development time.
3D printed parts of the KUKA LBR iiwa
ItemPiQ: End-effector for efficient order fulfillment

Hands to carry out unique tasks

Once a robot arm was build, it needs custom end-effectors or “hands” to carry out unique tasks for KUKA’s customers. For the KUKA LBR iiwa, a smart robot capable of safely working alongside humans, we began to prototype gripper for specific customer requests;

Using 3D printers, we sprinted from early concept exploration to testing 3D printed prototypes, before eventually deciding to use 3D printed parts in the final hand, cutting down on hardware weight and development time. Discover why the future of manufacturing depends on the efficiency and reliability of innovative technologies like 3D printing on our KUKA blog.