Ford Now Operates 3-D Printers Autonomously with the Help if Roving Robot
Ford Motor Co. in Dearborn announced that Javier, a robot on wheels from supplier KUKA, is used to operate the company’s 3-D printers completely on its own, increasing efficiency and reducing the cost of the essential process.
“This new process has the ability to change the way we use robotics in our manufacturing facilities,” says Jason Ryska, director, global manufacturing technology development at Ford. “Not only does it enable Ford to scale its 3-D printer operations, it extends into other aspects of our manufacturing processes — this technology will allow us to simplify equipment and be even more flexible on the assembly line.”
The robot is integral to the company’s development of an industry-first process to operate 3-D carbon printers with an autonomous mobile robot rather than a fixed, stationary unit. Ford has achieved great accuracy with Javier, using his feedback to significantly reduce margins of error. In addition to 3-D printers, the method can be applied to a vast array of robots already working at the company to increase efficiency and reduce cost.