Challenge and solution

Challenge

Challenge

YuMi is a collaborative industrial robot designed to grab, pick and place parts, and perform insertions. Depending on the part, YuMi uses different finger shapes that require multiple prototypes to perfect. Previously, prototype finger design was carried out in-house and the prototypes were manufactured externally. This process took a month, including wait time, and around €1,800 in costs.

Solution

Solution

When ABB Robotics incorporated 3D printing in their workflow, engineering took between four and sixteen hours per four prototypes, with an average total cost of €300. It also significantly improved their productivity and flexibility, allowing them to be more responsive to their customer needs. It’s no longer a problem if the original designs aren’t perfect. Multiple iterations are quick, easy and cheap.

Cost comparison

External suppliers

Ultimaker 3D printers

Time/part 2-4 weeks Time/part 1-4 hours
Cost/part* €450 Cost/part* €75
Feasibility tests/month 1 Feasibility tests/month 5-6

*Including engineering time, the 3D printing material cost is negligible (€1). It takes from one to four hours engineering and one hour printing per finger. In total, 3D printing saves four weeks and €400 per finger.

Results

Reduced prototyping and production times

Reduced prototyping and production times

Printing new prototypes in-house reduces design validation and prototyping times from weeks to hours without going over budget.

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Multiple feasibility tests and iterations

Multiple feasibility tests and iterations

With 3D printing, ABB Robotics can perform multiple tests and feasibility studies per day. New iterations have no time penalties.

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Higher responsiveness to customer needs

Higher responsiveness to customer needs

Being flexible and fast allows for more customized solutions and a compelling reason for potential customers to choose ABB.

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Reduced prototyping and manufacturing costs

Reduced prototyping and manufacturing costs

As a fast, cost-effective alternative to traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printing allows ABB to save around €100k per year.

3D printing in engineering

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