Ford’s Superior Manufacturing Heart has developed an interface that permits machines from completely different suppliers to talk to one another in the identical language and function components of the manufacturing line autonomously.
Automakers have been incorporating robotics into their manufacturing processes for many years to cut back prices and increase effectivity. However Ford’s patent-pending system solves a vital bottleneck within the manufacturing line through the use of robots to function the 3D printers by way of the evening with out human interplay.
The autonomous system marks the primary time the Carbon 3D printers and the KUKA-built robots can speak to one another in the identical language, opening limitless potentialities for different machines concerned all through the manufacturing course of to collaborate.
Thus far, the enterprise has helped produce low-volume, customized automotive components such because the brake line bracket for Mustang Shelby GT500 sports activities automobiles geared up with the Efficiency Bundle.
“This new course of has the power to vary the way in which we use robotics in our manufacturing amenities,” Jason Ryska, director, international manufacturing know-how growth, mentioned in an announcement.
Javier, the identify given to the wheeled robotic from provider KUKA, can run the 3D printer constantly with out human interference, even as soon as staff have gone house for the evening. Ford says the robots are continually studying from the printer information to assist the automaker obtain extra accuracy and scale back margins of error.
“At Ford’s Superior Manufacturing Heart, Javier is tasked with working the 3D printers fully on his personal,” Ford mentioned in an announcement. “He’s at all times on time, very exact in his actions, and he works many of the day – taking solely a brief break to cost up.”
Normally, tools from completely different suppliers are unable to work together as a result of they use separate communication interfaces. Ford’s system permits tools from completely different suppliers to speak to one another, sending instructions and suggestions in actual time.
As soon as the Carbon 3D tells Javier that the printed automotive element is prepared, Javier retrieves it and places it apart for a human operator to gather later.
Ford has filed a number of patents for the know-how underpinning its communication interfaces and the exact positioning of robots. Although the method is autonomous, human operators should add the 3D designs to the printer and keep the equipment.