Tesis de maestría:
Development of an end-effector for an industrial robot for the automates integration of threaded inserts into a hybrid additive manufactoring process



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In this thesis, a novel approach to automatically install threaded inserts into additive manufactured parts is developed and validated. Such an approach is highly relevant in the context of process automation and production of function-integrated parts. Automated production in combination with additive manufacturing has the potential for resource and energy-efficient production. This is becoming an increasingly important factor during decision making, due to climate change. Furthermore, additive manufacturing can support the development of climate-friendly solutions across all fields of application, as it enables quickly adaptable designs and flexible production methods. In addition, new design approaches to produce function-integrated components are becoming available. Integrating mechanical and electrical functional components during manufacturing makes it possible to realise an efficient and cost-effective integration procedure. The Fused Filament Fabrication (FFF) process can be used for this purpose, as it allows easy automation and expandability compared to other additive processes, plus a wide variety of materials can be processed. Initial literature research on the state of the art shows, that currently no process has been described, that combines the FFF process with a subtractive process and conductive filament. The 4K-FFF unit, the subject of this thesis, offers a unique approach to the automated production of function-integrated components. The system consists of a multi-material FFF printer with a milling and handling module. Manufacturing inaccuracies resulting from the FFF process can be compensated by the milling module. An industrial robot on the handling module is used to add functional components to the process. This setup enables the fully automated production of function-integrated components. For fastening and contacting the function-integrated components, threaded inserts are used, which have to be installed manually due to a lack of a suitable alternative. Literature research shows that there are no methods for the automated installation of threaded inserts into individual components, which are common in FFF. This shortcoming is addressed in this thesis. A new end-effector for the industrial robot is developed, which can grip, heat and install threaded inserts into a component. In addition, a quick-change system is established. Both expansions further increase the degree of automation of the 4K-FFF unit. A parameter optimisation procedure is carried out to determine the ideal operating parameters for the new end-effector. The functionality of the development and the quick-change system is validated by the production of demonstrator components.


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