Bastian Solutions, an Indiana-headquartered material handling division of Toyota Advanced Logistics, has launched a new robotic handler that features 3D printed parts. Developed in collaboration with Chicago-based advanced digital manufacturing company Fast Radius, 45% of the final bill-of-materials (BOM) for the Shuttle System robotic picker have been produced via additive manufacturing. The parts were developed using HP Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers and Carbon DLS technology. Ron Daggett, Vice President of Technology and R&D at Bastian Solutions, comments, “We envisioned that additively manufacturing specific parts would make the Bastian Solutions Shuttle System the most efficient and agile robotic picker available on the market,”
“The additive manufacturing process will enable us to customize each robot picker to fit a customer’s particular warehouse environment.”
Improving speed and efficiency with additive manufacturing
Founded in 1952, Bastian Solutions specializes in providing automated supply chain software, robotics, and conveyor technologies for distribution, manufacturing, and order fulfillment centers around the world. With its new Shuttle System, Bastian Solutions sought to improve the efficiency of robotic materials handling.
Fast Radius provides a platform to support companies like Bastian Solutions who are looking to integrate additive manufacturing technologies into their workflow. As part of its support, Fast Radius helps identify potential applications; it conducts engineering and economic evaluations; and it produce the parts required within its own factories.
“Developing a new process for a robotic arm and using advanced additive materials to design lifelike fingers and joints is a reflection of Fast Radius’ mission to ‘make new things possible,’” explained Lou Rassey, Chief Executive Officer, Fast Radius. “The nature of additive manufacturing enabled us to create and test over a thousand prototype parts for Bastian Solutions in under 20 months until we arrived at just the right ones for this unique piece of equipment.”
Carbon DLS and HP Multi Jet Fusion dream team
Manufactured at Fast Radius’ industrial additive manufacturing facility in Chicago, the additive parts of the Bastian Solutions Shuttle System include the fingers, joints and elbow of the arm. When 3D printed, these parts work to make the arm lighter. This allows for a smaller motor and thus less power requirement to carry out daily tasks compared to previous metallic materials.
HP’s Multi Jet Fusion 3D printers were used to manufacture sections of the Shuttle System’s parts and prototypes, including the polymer joints of the arm. Carbon DLS 3D printing technology, and Carbon elastomeric polyurethane (EPU 40) resin was used to produce additional parts including the fingers/gripper.
“We’re excited that Carbon DLS™ technology and innovative materials are playing a critical role in bringing the Bastian Solutions Shuttle System to market,” stated Dana McCallum, Head of Production Partners for Carbon.
“Carbon DLS technology and EPU 40 resin made it possible for Fast Radius to manufacture a texture on the robot’s finger that allows the robot to pick up any part, of any size.”
3D printing’s place in logistics
By producing industrial-grade parts for Bastian Solutions, Fast Radius is carrying out its goal of supporting companies and empowering industries to embrace industrial additive manufacturing. In a recent interview for 3D Printing Industry, Fast Radius CEO Lou Rassey explained, “This is done through a set of technical solutions; it’s an integrated workflow that walks companies all the way through the process which begins by helping the business understanding its own applications and the value that additive can bring upon embracing it.”
Recently, Fast Radius raised $48 million in Series B funding led by the United Parcel Service (UPS) to expand its production capabilities worldwide and further help customers integrate additive manufacturing for new product development.
Bastian Solutions will display the new additively manufactured Shuttle System at ProMat 2019, held April 8-11 at McCormick Place in Chicago.
Looking for a career in additive manufacturing? Visit 3D Printing Jobs for a selection of roles in the industry.
Featured image shows the Bastian Solutions Shuttle System, featuring 45% 3D printed parts. Screengrab via Fast Radius.