Meltio announced an interesting product that should make it easier to use their DED 3D printing technology.
The new Meltio Robot Cell is a way to short-circuit the path to production for metal 3D printing for industrial customers.
But first, let’s recall exactly what Meltio’s product is all about. They offer a powerful metal print head that is typically used on a robotic arm. The print head consumes standard wire and instantly melts it with powerful lasers. As the print head moves, metal is deposited to form the 3D structure.
Meltio’s approach has been to integrate their toolhead with robotic systems already in place at manufacturers. This dramatically lowers the price of entry to metal additive manufacturing for many customers, since they re-use their robots.
Now it seems that Meltio wishes to simplify the process of adopting their technology by supplying a “robot cell”.
Basically the cell appears to be “everything for the robot” in a box. Meltio has certified the cell with the popular ABB robotic systems that are already used in many customer factories. The standard cell configuration includes an ABB robot, but the company indicated that it is possible to integrate other robotic systems.
The Meltio Robot Cell provides not only an enclosure for safety, but also a print plate, and defined work volume. The cell requires only power and gas supply, as everything else is ready to go.
It seems that the cell system should overcome almost any installation difficulties that might have been encountered by customers. Because Meltio has basically pre-configured the workstation through the design of the cell, there’s not a lot for customers to do other than install the cell and get printing.
Meltio said the Meltio Robot Cell is priced at approximately US$300,000, which is probably a good deal when you consider the amount of effort required by a customer to figure out how to set up a system on their own. The cost likely offsets a significant amount of customer labor, and could help form a good business case for some customers.