Case History PCam:

The Company

Specialized in the design and development of automation solutions and robotized islands for machine tools in the industrial market, PCam SA, a Swiss company from the Canton of Ticino, has adopted additive manufacturing for the production of small series of mechanical parts for several years(PLA , ABS and Nylon-Carbon).

After an intensive testing phase lasting over 2000 hours of continuous printing, the company decided to integrate the Sharebot 42 3D printer into its production/demo system line.

Integration

Sharebot 42 is considered to all intents and purposes as one of the company’s machine tools (cutters, EDM wire/dive machines or measuring machines) and inserted as a “worker” inside a robotized island, an automatic processing cell in which one or more programmable robots are installed.

Sharebot PCam
Sharebot PCam

Realization

On software side, a dedicated interface was developed to be able to control the printer remotely through the cell manager that controls the start of the programs, the pallet loading/unloading and the error management.

On the hardware side, PCam has created a “pallet system” of the Sharebot 42 printing plates. Low thickness steel “pallets” have been developed and produced in order to allow a rapid thermal balance, to guarantee the use of the magnetic surface beds supplied with the printer. The pallet is placed directly in contact with the heated plate and held in place by mechanical inserts.

A socket link has also been developed that is compatible with the PCam robot interchangeable clamp. Sharebot 42 created the robot terminal sockets, the gripping links and the insert guides guaranteeing mechanical and positioning functions. The creation of a 3-station pallet system grants production autonomy. Finally, some laser and magnetic sensors were installed to detect the presence and position of the objects in the cell and to report any anomalies.

Additive Manufacturing & Traditional Manufacturing

The industrialization of 3D printing has opened up new challenges and offers interesting opportunities in the field of production. A growing number of manufacturing companies are reworking their production processes to optimize them through 3D printing to achieve a significant reduction in time and costs. This also includes understanding how the additive manufacturing of the 3D printer can be integrated with traditional subtractive manufacturing to ensure an optimized workflow.