Atropos, a revolutionary robotic arm for continuous fiber smart manufacturing, which also uses basalt fiber, has been announced the winner of JEC Innovation Award 2017 in 3D Printing category. The award ceremony will be held in Paris this year in March, during the international show JEC World 2017.
Italy located +LAB has demonstrated their robotic arm for the first time in last year’s autumn. Inspired by nature and silkworms, and controlled by the artifact intelligence of special algorithms, Atropos fluently moves in space depositing a continuous fiber of thermosetting composite material, instantly cured as it comes out of his head. The fiber is fed directly from a six-axis robotic arm.
The developers consider that six axes of movement are optimizing the performance and the material consumption. To implement their idea +LAB used the robotic arm made by KUKA, and mineral fibers supplied by Owens Corning.
The prototype can print a sample of glass and basalt fiber, added to the acrylic resin photopolymer. In the future, the range of possible raw materials for printing will be expanded, above all, carbon fiber and polyaramide. The team is also exploring the use of epoxy resins as a binder.