Esprit's parent company is DP Technology and it has been working with Alma to create an advanced toolpath planning in both subtractive and additive areas, and the industry-leading technology in robotics trajectory computation and off-line programming of arc welding robots.
This solution allows Alma to use the full Esprit additive DED cycles such as 3x, 4x, and 5x, bringing the software to a new level of support for additive technology. The solution also allows Esprit to support industrial robot brands including Yaskawa, ABB, Fanuc, Kuka, and many others.
The result of this technology partnership is a complete workflow to provide end users with dedicated additive toolpath planning and programming, robot programming, simulation, verification, collision detection, and code generation; and subtractive finishing process planning, simulation, verification, collision detection, and G-code generation.
Additive DED is a series of metal 3D printing technologies that creates parts by melting and fusing material as it is deposited. Wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM), also known as DED-arc, is one of the additive DED technologies being applied in robot additive DED to produce the near net shape preforms with significant cost and lead time reductions, increased material efficiency and improved component performance.
Esprit says that compared to a machine tool-based DED machine, which can cost up to several million dollars, a robotic DED machine costs significantly less (close to US$150,000 to $200,000). Additionally, many companies have existing programmable, industrial robots that can be retrofitted for additive DED applications.
In order to program a robot to perform an additive DED task, an engineer needs to determine not only the toolpath of the DED head, but also the robot arm movements to efficiently achieve the ideal toolpath.
Esprit explains that through industry collaboration with several key customers and research institutions, the solution has been validated in multiple applications and test cuts with various robot brands. It also backed by technical support from both Esprit and Alma.