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We are also exploring pathways for the adaptation and further development of existing large-scale metal additive technologies to lower barriers-to-entry for complex and remote component repair.

Ideal for manufacturers who produce high-value castings, repair precision metal components or maintain remote infrastructure, this solution would enable workpieces to be 3D scanned before a tool path is automatically generated to repair, modify or add features.

The product

We are researching an intelligent robotic metal additive system prototype with integrated sensing and situational awareness.

The core, automated path generation technology can be applied to different material deposition processes. In addition, pre-process surface preparation steps (e.g. grinding, machining or de-scaling) and post-process activities (e.g. machining or polishing) can be added to the workflow to complete the repair task.

The system comprises:

  • a robot holding a metal deposition head such as a cold spray gun, laser head or welding torch
  • a metal deposition system, power supply and powder or wire feed
  • machine vision sensors for (a) situational awareness and collision avoidance, (b) scanning the component surface requiring repair, and (c) monitoring and feedback control during metal deposition 
  • Continuous3D software- a desktop application that allows the user to recreate the whole scene around the robot and to automatically generate and execute a robot program based on sensor scans of the damaged component.

This Automated Robot Tool Path Calculation for Metal Additive Digital Manufacturing and Repair product combines two crucial features for customers.

  1. the ability to scan a component and integrate this information with the robot reference frame and 3D CAD design.
  2. the use of CSIRO’s Continuous3D™ application to automatically generate complex robotic tool paths to build whole 3d components layer-by-layer, or to add material onto existing surfaces.

The system is designed to operate in a manufacturing facility or the field for remote repair.

Proposed benefits

This research is focused on creating intelligent tools to guide and control robotics and integrate advanced machine vision, situational awareness, and collision avoidance to deliver a compelling assistive and autonomous solution to complex tasks.

Proposed applications

  • Foundry: Castings may include defects that can be certifiably repaired, reducing the amount of scrap and rework.
  • Defence: Damaged field assets can be quickly and effectively restored when a timely supply of new, replacement parts is lacking.
  • Building and architecture: Use of advanced robotic path planning techniques to make large-scale 3d structures.
  • Mining: Critical infrastructure in remote, hostile locations can be repaired on-site faster than a back to base approach.
  • Waste Recycling: Large metal components suffering wear can be effectively repaired in-situ.

If this technology application presents a potential for adaptation or integration into your manufacturing processes, or your business has digital integration challenges that we may be able to assist with, we would love to hear from you. Our team is looking for manufacturers and operators interested in evaluating automated robotic tool path generation and partners with commercialisation expertise. 

CSIRO Future Digital Manufacturing

Dr Peter King

Scientist (Manufacturing)

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