Meltio says industries worldwide have witnessed a surge in demand for the Meltio Engine Robot Integration, combining the Meltio head with robotic arms for metal part printing and repair. These applications mainly involve stainless steels, titanium, nickel alloys, Inconel, and tool steels with the company aiming to add new materials to its wire-laser metal 3D printing portfolio. In response to this growing industrial need, Meltio has introduced the Meltio Space toolpath generator software, designed to streamline the adoption of its metal 3D printing solutions. Additionally, Meltio has unveiled the Meltio Robot Cell, a turn-key solution offering a safer, and efficient method for 3D printing metal parts.
“Meltio’s main commitment with the launch of the Meltio Robot Cell is to offer all types of industries the ability to manage the entire manufacturing process using our metal 3D printing technology consisting of a Meltio head integrated into a robotic arm and in a safe environment, in order to just produce parts. This new hardware system allows the customer to receive a ready-to-use cell for robotic metal 3D printing, removing the integration process and long assembly lead times. The Meltio Robot Cell has a specific area for every supply the cell requires on a daily basis, only connecting to the inert gas and electric supply is enough to start manufacturing,” said Meltio Engine Product Manager, Alejandro Nieto.
Meltio Space: a user-friendly toolpath generator for robotic metal 3D printing
Meltio Space offers a built-in robot library and postprocessors for popular robotic brands such as ABB, Kuka, FANUC, and Yaskawa, making it easier for users to adopt the technology. The software supports planar, nonplanar, and variable extrusion toolpaths, along with 2-axis workpiece positioner interpolation, kinematics simulation, collision checks, and cell configuration. This enables users to break free from the limitations of traditional 3-axis systems and leverage advanced robotic capabilities without requiring expertise in robotics or programming.
The toolpath generator also employs a virtual model of the real robot movement, ensuring accurate and precise 3D printing by simulating the kinematics of the robot and performing collision checks with the part being 3D printed. This feature minimizes the risk of errors or damage during the additive manufacturing process. Additionally, Meltio Space provides presets with recommended material profiles and 3D printing parameters. The software aims to offer a fully tailored customer experience, focusing on the seamless integration between the Meltio Engine and Meltio Space, thus reducing the learning curve for users.
Meltio Space enhances the Meltio Engine’s capabilities by optimizing print profiles for diverse materials and applications. The software provides continuous updates, ensuring users stay current with industry advancements. Meltio Space is backed by comprehensive support, training programs, and resource platforms, facilitating the optimization of Meltio technology. It combines affordability, advanced capabilities, and a user-friendly interface, maximizing both investment and project outcomes.
Additionally, the Meltio Space software sales model is an annual subscription with a competitive price based on its capabilities. Meltio Space software has only one price configuration in which everything is included. Meltio is bundling a one-year free license with every Meltio Engine, allowing its users to start manufacturing metal parts from the very first day. Users can obtain this one-year license for a reduced price which also will include training to “get them up to speed.” The renewal of the license the following year is estimated at around €7.500.
According to the company, Meltio Space software has been “quickly welcomed” by its existing base of Meltio Engine Robot users, increasing the usability of the platform. Meltio is working with some of them in order to publish case studies showcasing the software’s capabilities.
Meltio Robot Cell: affordable metal 3D printing for industrial applications
Meltio’s second offering, the Meltio Robot Cell, presents a turn-key solution designed to optimize the performance of robotic arms transformed into metal 3D printing systems. This system includes a standard ABB robotic arm, prioritizing safety, reliability, and precision. Moreover, the Meltio Robot Cell is adaptable to other robotic arm brands, such as Kuka and Yaskawa, enhancing its versatility for various industrial applications.
The Meltio Robot Cell features a self-supporting platform housing the robotic arm, positioner, laser-safe enclosure, Meltio Engine, Meltio Space, and accessories. It offers a plug-and-play approach with a single electrical power supply and inert gas supply. Suitable for controlled indoor environments, the system also ensures optimal operation. Meltio envisions this system as a foundational model for integrating 3D printed parts into industrial production systems, emphasizing adaptability to diverse industry needs.
“In Meltio we believe that a significant percentage of the current metal manufacturing market can be addressed by our wire-laser DED process. It’s difficult to provide actual values at the moment as we’re still educating the market on the capabilities of the system. However, we have strong evidence of a growing interest within a wide range of industries, from automotive, to oil & gas, to architecture, and we are confident that the adoption rate will keep growing,” says Giorgio Olivieri, Applications Engineering Manager at Meltio.
One of the advantages of the Meltio wire-laser DED process over other AM processes is in the use of commodity welding wire. This feedstock offers significant cost savings over the alternatives. When it comes to the comparison with traditional methods, the competitiveness resides in the ability to manufacture complex parts without the need for high initial investment in tooling, minimizing labor costs and reducing supply chain delays. A typical example can be seen in the small-scale manufacturing of pieces designed for casting, the replacement of complex thin metal sheet components, and thin wall structures that are traditionally manually assembled and welded.
“The Meltio Robot Cell also provides the industrial customer with a working protocol. Relative to existing offerings in the market today, the Meltio Robot Cell is very competitively priced and its price is below 300,000 dollars ex-works. The cost of the solution is also competitive when compared with thermoplastic and concrete 3D printing systems as seen in other sectors that demand 3D printing for structural parts. This cell has the possibility to be delivered with other robot brands on the market to be more responsive to customers in terms of availability and technical capability. The Meltio Robot Cell is compatible with the open hardware platform that allows Meltio to integrate our metal 3D printing head on any brand of robotic arms,” concluded Alejandro Nieto.
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Featured image shows robot 3D printers represented in the Meltio Space software. Photo via Meltio.