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End-of-Arm Tooling

3D Printing End-of-Arm Tooling

End-of-arm tooling (EOAT)—the ‘hands’ at the end of industrial robot arms that enable industrial automation – should be lightweight, conformal to each unique part a robot manipulates, and strong enough to move heavy parts. Light tools allow the arm to move faster and more efficiently, and conformal tooling maximizes the contact surface between the tool and part, decreasing the odds of gripping failure. Practically, the economic and physical limitations of conventional manufacturing processes often result in EOAT that is heavy, bulky and inefficient—at high costs and with long lead times.


3D printed end-of-arm tooling is strong but light, highly conformal and can be rapidly iterated for a fraction of the cost of traditional tooling. With Markforged’s continuous fiber technology, these parts can withstand thousands of cycles without failing. Unlike many 3D printing plastics, Markforged’s chopped carbon fiber reinforced nylon base material is chemically resistant enough to work in environments with corrosive machining fluids. 3D printing EOAT is not a cost-saving stopgap—it’s the best way to fabricate the part.

Challenge


Robotic tooling requires strong, chemically resistant parts that can be customized for superior part interfacing.

Solution


3D printed end effectors are strong, light, and geometrically flexible, while being an order of magnitude cheaper than their machined counterparts.

Impact


Printing end effectors not only yields a cheaper product, but also one that allows a machine to operate faster with a lighter payload.

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