The new unit will be used mainly for research into the programming of robots for the additive manufacturing of metals with Delcam's PowerMILL Robot software.
Cold Metal Transfer welding was initially developed by Fronius to join materials with different properties – in particular for welding aluminium to steel. The process uses very high frequency movement of the wire to give a clean, spatter-free material transfer. It provides a stable, reproducible deposition of material that Delcam believes should have great potential in metal additive manufacturing.
The ABB robot arm offers six axes of movement with an additional two axes, tilt and rotation, provided by the table holding the material. This additional flexibility allows parts to be orientated into the optimum position as they are being built so enabling complex shapes to be created with less need for extra support structures.
PowerMILL Robot makes it as easy to program a robot for machining as it is to program a 5-axis machine tool. As a fully associated application inside PowerMILL, users have access to all the multi-axis machining strategies within PowerMILL and can use all the system's project management options to manage, store and retrieve data.
As well as making it possible to program robots for additive manufacturing, PowerMILL Robot can be used for tool to part applications, especially for machining large parts such as composite panels that need to be trimmed, or for part to tool applications such as grinding or polishing.