AM Factory of Tomorrow
Production scenario of the “AM Factory of Tomorrow” from Concept Laser in which modules move between the individual production stages automatically.
Concept Laser have entered into a strategic development partnership with automation solutions provider, Swisslog to deliver an innovative Automated Guided Vehicle (AGV) system to their M Line Factory.
A technology leader for laser melting with metals, Concept Laser becomes the first manufacturer of machines and installations for 3D metal printing to embrace an automation solution for moving modules between different machine units and within the production environments.
The partnership has been agreed after Concept Laser launched their M Line Factory 3D printing system, which comprises of two separate machines. Lying behind the ‘AM Factory of Tomorrow’ is an original production scenario, whereby production and processing are completely separated. Using this method, it is thought the downtimes are considerably reduced and the output quantity is increased.
Swisslog will bring its vast experience and expertise in the automation of material flow and intralogistics to ensure the M Line Factory, among potential future products, run smoothly. As a globally leading provider of flexible robotic and data-driven automated solutions for warehouses and distribution centres, Swisslog’s AGV system is regarded as a key strategic element of the M Line Factory. Specifically, Swisslog’s task is to integrate a driverless transport system with smart software for fleet management and power supply to ensure that modules can be moved between different machine units or within an AM factory.
Meanwhile, Concept Laser will take charge of the set-up on top of the AGV in order to move powder or parts independently. The Lichtenfels-based company is also responsible for the docking, including the receipt and transfer of modules.
This approach pursues two objectives. Firstly, the AGV system should be capable of moving modules between the machine units or within a production environment, and secondly the intralogistics in the factory need to ensure a reliable and automated supply of powder material and preparation.
“With this collaboration we see the opportunity to implement our highly efficient automated solutions for smart logistics networks in production,” said Dr Christian Baur, CEO of Swisslog’s Warehouse and Distribution Solutions division.
Swisslog’s new partner, Concept Laser, has long been seeking to implement automated solutions as part of the process of manufacturing additive metal parts.
“The ambitious concept of the M Line Factory ensures a high level of automation and flexibility in 3D metal printing,” said Florian Bechmann, Head of Research and Development at Concept Laser. “The AGV system from Swisslog is the next stage in the development toward consistent automation of the processes embracing the basic idea of ‘Industry 4.0’.”