AM Flexbot System - CEAD View larger

AM Flexbot System - CEAD



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Flexible robotic arm-based solution for large-scale additive manufacturing.

CEAD Group is a company specialised in 3D printing equipment for large format additive manufacturing (LFAM) and a pioneering force of innovation within the industry. Thanks to CEAD's contributions to pushing technological advances in the sector forward in the recent years, LFAM is becoming a more and more accessible alternative for on-site production.

Video 1: 6 things to consider when starting with Large Format Additive Manufacturing (LFAM). Source: CEAD.

The implementation of 3D printing in the production processes of large companies makes it possible to accelerate the workflow, creating flexible manufacturing and supply chains and thus optimising the efficiency of the production cycle. This is how CEAD's AM Flexbot System was born, a flexible robot-based solution for large-scale 3D printing.

Video 2: CEAD AM Flexbot. Source: CEAD.

AM Flexbot is a versatile system that provides the customer with various configurable options that can be adapted to their specific needs, for example to include extra add-ons such as a CNC milling upgrade (ideal for mold making and tooling applications), a robotic arm with a higher payload, a heated or larger working table, a larger throughput extruder, a linear track for large work volumes, dynamic flow control or a rotary table for complex shapes.

Video 3: The installation of a Flexbot additive manufacturing system at your facility. Source: CEAD.

Once a factory acceptance test has been carried out successfully, CEAD will send the AM Flexbot machine along with a team of experienced technicians who will start a 1-week installation process. After a site acceptance test, the CEAD team will conduct a thorough LFAM training on-site. Once the installation and training have been completed, support will be still provided at all times by CEAD's support and application engineers.

Precise control

AM Flexbot is equipped with a Comau NJ60-2.2 6-axis robotic arm, which has a payload of 60 kg and can lift up to an additional 20 kg. This robot arm is controlled by the Siemens Sinumerik 840D controller. Siemens Sinumerik 840D allows the customer to control the robot directly, providing very precise movement of the robotic arm.

The Siemens Sinumerik has the capability to manage 31 axes, allowing for effortless expansion of your Flexbot with supplementary features like a rotary table, extra robots, or diverse production tasks such as CNC milling and beyond.

The AM Flexbot system is optimised to use the Siemens Sinumerik controller

Image 1: The AM Flexbot system is optimised to use the Siemens Sinumerik controller. Source: CEAD.

This controller is a highly advanced numerical control system designed for precision machining operations in the manufacturing industry. Renowned for its quality and performance, it is often used in aerospace applications and is the standard used for 5-axis milling equipment.

Compared to other control systems, Sinumerik 840D offers greater ease of use, precision, and does not require the knowledge of specific languages or the use of specific CAM software. The design to be manufactured can be carried out in any CAM software that allows G-Code export.

Extruder robot

The AM Flexbot solution features the CEAD Pellet Extrusion technology and includes a pellet extruder robot. This robot is  designed for seamless integration with the robotic arm and has a lightweight structure. It reaches a temperature of 400 °C, making it suitable for processing virtually any thermoplastic, including engineering-grade materials or materials with carbon fibre or glass fibre fillers. Materials tested with AM Flexbot include ABS CF/GF, PA6 CF, PE, PEEK CF, PEKK CF, PET CF/GF, PETG, PESU CF, PP GF or PPS CF pellets among others.

Video 4: 3D printing test with different materials on AM Flexbot. Source: CEAD.

The AM Flexbot pellet extruder robot has a pellet storage section and a system to automatically transport the pellets to the melting area. In addition, AM Flexbot has a pellet drying system to keep the materials in optimum condition and ensure manufacturing quality. The AM Flexbot extruder robot is developed for intensive use, ensuring reliable and continuous operation.

The perfect complement to the AM Flexbot system are the CEAD extruders available in four different variants: E25, S25, E40, and E50. These comprehensive robot extruders provide various levels of output (12-84 kg/h) and can work with various ranges of nozzles sizes (2-18 mm up to 4-24 mm), thus accomodating the different manufacturing needs. These extruders seamlessly integrate with the AM Flexbot system, effectively transforming it into a large-scale pellet 3D printer, capable of processing cost-effective fiber-filled thermoplastic pellets for diverse industrial applications.

Manufacturing base

AM Flexbot has a robust manufacturing base that provides a rigid and stable surface, optimised to accommodate large 3D printed parts on the standard 200 x 1200 print bed. It is possible to customize the AM Flexbot to include a heated bed, a larger bed or a rotary bed for complex shapes.

Extruder robot

Image 2: AM Flexbot extruder robot. Source: CEAD.

The AM Flexbot's printing base has an innovative structure developed by CEAD. Thanks to its unique design consisting of aluminium profiles and innovative diversion plugs, a mechanical bond is created between the printed object and the printing surface during the manufacturing process. However, the structure of the base has fixings that allow this bond to be broken, making the 3D printed part easily detachable once it is finished


AM Flexbot has a 5000 x 3000 mm safety cage (default), which includes a 3500 mm opening door and a locking mechanism. However, the design of the structure and its dimensions can be modified to suit the customer's needs. The design of the AM Flexbot safety cage is compliant with ISO 13857, ISO 14120, ISO 138491 and ISO 10218-1.

AM Flexbot in its safety cage

Image 3: AM Flexbot in its safety cage. Source: CEAD.

ISO 13857 specifies safety distances to prevent hazard zones being reached, while ISO 14120 outlines requirements for guards to protect personnel from machinery hazards. ISO 138491 details safety-related parts of control systems for machinery, and ISO 10218-1 covers safety requirements for industrial robots, ensuring safe interaction between humans and robots in various applications.

Modular system

AM Flexbot is presented as a modular system that can be adapted to the customer's needs for specific applications. Its versatility is such that it is even possible to expand the system by implementing additional functions such as a rotary table, additional robots or other manufacturing processes.

Video 5: A use case of the AM Flexbot in research on thin glass and its application in façades and building envelopes. Source: CEAD.

AM Flexbot makes it possible, for example, to combine 3D printing and CNC machining in one automated process. This combination is extremely useful in the manufacture of moulds and tools, and allows the customer to achieve the required finish while optimising the manufacturing process.

Video 6: 3D printing molds and tooling for aviation and aerospace applications with the AM Flexbot System. Source: CEAD.

Without a doubt, AM Flexbot is ideal for companies looking for a versatile machine that adapts to their needs to optimise their production process. For more information about AM Flexbot, its features, applications and possible additional functions, please contact us.

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