Additive manufacturing and industrial 3D printing

3D printing process applied to KUKA robots – a powerful combination for unprecedented options in the design and production of precise, lightweight and inexpensive components from a wide range of different materials.

What is additive manufacturing and how does it work?

In the case of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, components of all different shapes, sizes and structures are manufactured by the precise application of meltable material in layers in accordance with digital design data. 3D printing processes – including Selective Laser Melting (SLM), Fused Deposition Modeling (FDM) and Binder Jetting – can be used, in particular, for the fast, precise and inexpensive production of workpiece prototypes or small series.

Landing flaps, engine radiator tanks or ships’ propellers: large­format components made using automated 3D printing

Stable, light and above all large: these are the primary characteristics of components for aircraft, cars, ships or buildings. Particularly in the case of such oversized formats, industrial 3D printing has proved to be the ideal production process. Thanks to the enormous reach of robotic units, even highly complex components measuring several meters can be made simply and inexpensively in one piece – with the proven precision and speed of KUKA robots.
  • Aerospace

    Both lightweight and extremely robust: the versatile possibilities opened up by additive manufacturing are perfectly suited to the special demands of the aerospace sector.

  • Automotive industry

    Print-on-demand for more efficient automotive production: parts printed on site and exactly according to requirements eliminate long supply chains and logistical effort.

  • Construction

    Extravagant design and unusual structures: automated 3D printing processes open up new freedom in architecture.

  • Shipbuilding

    Spare parts available at all times: 3D printing processes can even manufacture older parts, thereby minimizing the risk of repair-related delays in the shipping sector.

Additive manufacturing with KUKA: proven robot technology meets innovative process

KUKA robots are used by system partner Branch Technology for the manufacture of a 3D-printed pavilion.

Ideally positioned with KUKA to meet the challenges of additive manufacturing

Many years of experience in the metalworking and plastics industries, in-depth expert knowledge of laser applications and a comprehensive range of industrial robots and linear units – KUKA thus meets the most important preconditions for optimal results from industrial 3D printing processes.

Utmost precision combined with maximum reach: implement any printing project with KUKA robots

Manufacture components measuring up to 30 meters in a single printing operation: KUKA shelf-mounted robots and linear units enormously extend the spatial possibilities of 3D printing and open up new options for industrial production. Great expertise in the field of laser cladding and the use of high-accuracy robots such as the KR Quantec extra also ensure precise sequences and best-quality results.

At system partner Addere, KUKA shelf-mounted robots raise the possibilities offered by additive manufacturing to a new level.

3D metal printing – from aluminum to titanium: creating something entirely new from molten metal

At system partner Midwest Engineered Systems, KUKA robots demonstrate new areas of application in additive manufacturing with metal.

Optimal use of the versatility of plastics: support structures

The expert processing of a wide range of different plastics makes even highly complex or intricate designs possible: if required, specific combinations of materials, such as water-soluble plastic, can be used to make support structures onto which the actual building material is applied. Once printing has been carried out, the support structure can easily be removed – leaving the desired object exactly as specified.
Plastics have been one of KUKA’s core competencies for many years.

Creating the finished product quickly and easily with KUKA software: 3D printing directly from 3D CAD data

In addition to a wide range of robot hardware, KUKA also offers optimally coordinated software solutions. Using a CAM slicer, G-code is generated from any CAD data packets and serves as the basis for the print job in the KUKA.CNC system software. The entire CAD/CAM chain is thus contained under a single roof and the desired product is created entirely in house.

  • CAD data

    The digital 3D CAD data are created as the basis for the part to be printed.

  • CAM slicer 

    A CAM slicer generates G-code from the available CAD data for the structure of the desired part.
  • KUKA.CNC

    The generated G-code can be used to program and start the print job in the KUKA.CNC system software.

Siemens NX: free CAD test license

You are planning to convert your design development, design engineering and production to digital CAD? Make use of the unique opportunity to test the modern Siemens NX CAD software for a month with no obligation.

Request free test license here

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