End of Arm Tooling
Tooling in days not months
FDM technology provides an alternative method for producing EOATs that can provide dramatic time and cost savings while optimizing performance. FDM is an additive manufacturing (3D printing) process that builds plastic parts layer by layer using data from 3D computer-aided design (CAD) files.
With 3D printing, EOATs can be customized and tailored to a specific application while often accelerating implementation on the production floor.
3D Print End of Arm Tooling
- 3D printing allows for a faster and less expensive EOAT to replace conventionally fabricated tools.
- End of Arm Tooling can made with lightweight FDM plastic, which reduces the weight on robot arms.
Case Study Example
Genesis engineers examined the feasibility of using 3D printing to reduce the time and cost of making EOAT grippers.
They determined that while most 3D printed parts were not rugged enough to withstand the rigors of the water jet cutting process, grippers created with Fused Deposition Manufacturing (FDM®) technology were more than equal to the task.
3D printed EOAT provides a simple, cost-effective alternative method for producing complex tooling.
FDM technology and materials make End of Arm Tools/EOATs that result in many performance advantages for robots.
FDM EOATs are lighter than those made with metal, which means that robots can move faster or carry larger payloads. Weight reduction also improves motor efficiency and reduces component wear, extending the time between preventive maintenance (PM) cycles. FDM technology easily makes hollow internal structures and the thermoplastic materials are lightweight, yet durable.
When combined, weight reductions of ninety percent or more are possible
Plastics have two additional advantages: they won’t scratch the products they grip, and they dampen impact forces so that a tool crash is less likely to damage the robot. An FDM EOAT can also have components like magnets and sensors embedded during the FDM build process. Fully encased, the components are protected and won’t mar the parts that come in contact with the EOAT.
FDM EOATs can be as simple or complex as needed, which gives designers the freedom to create tooling solely for its specific function. For example, EOATs can have integrated vacuum channels, assemblies consolidated to a single part, or organic shapes that conform to the object being manipulated by the robot.
This design flexibility provides a unique opportunity to optimize robot performance and with FDM technology, design complexity doesn’t increase cost.
Easily make changes
FDM EOAT manufacturing is responsive, efficient and straightforward, turning EOAT design projects into simple tasks. If a design needs to change, FDM can produce a new tool in as little as one day.
New or revised designs and replacement EOATs are delivered and mounted on the robot quickly, regardless of complexity. During robot testing and validation, a quick response avoids delays in starting up a production line. Once FDM EOATs are operating in production, rapid revisions keep the line running at peak performance.