Robots now operating Ford's 3D printersMarie Donlon | April 08, 2022
Automotive giant Ford is now using robots to autonomously operate the Carbon 3D printers employed in the making of custom-printed automotive components in its Advanced Manufacturing Center.
The autonomous robot — dubbed Javier by Ford — is from the robot manufacturer KUKA and is able to operate the auto giant's Carbon 3D printers both day and night, pausing only for charging breaks.
Ford reportedly enabled Javier and the Carbon 3D printer — both of which are from different suppliers — to communicate, or “speak the same language,” by developing a patent-pending application interface program that enables the equipment to communicate real-time feedback.
Achieving this exchange of feedback has been an ongoing challenge because different equipment from different suppliers typically cannot communicate due to separate communication interfaces.
However, Ford’s interface program enables exchanges such as Ford’s Carbon 3D printer telling Javier when a 3D-printed component is finished, for instance.
Because the robots can autonomously operate the 3D printers day and night, Ford suggests that throughput for its 3Dprinted components will be increased and the price tag of custom-printed components will decrease.