Robotics technology firm Activ8 Robots has deployed 3D printing technology from Markforged to produce end of arm tooling and end effectors with significant time and weight savings.

Activ8’s investment in 3D printing technology has allowed it to generate new business, producing parts that were previously too difficult or costly with traditional methods. The company specialises in robotics, industrial automation and system integration solutions, serving customers in the food, pharmaceuticals, defence and automotive industries.

Acquiring three Markforged composite 3D printing systems through CREAT3D, Activ8 has been able to move its application of 3D printing beyond prototyping and design development, which it carries out with FFF and SLA machines, into production. Printing parts like conveyor guides, sensor mounts, tooling and end effectors, Activ8 has been able to reduce lead times, part weight and material costs. The development of a bread lifting tool saw lead time reduction of 88.6%, while the 3D printing of Activ8 Robots’ single hollowed Foam Gripper end of arm part brought the weight down by 50%, the development time down from one week to three days, and the material cost by 7x.

Activ8 Robots says that 3D printing is used in some context on all of its physical projects, and now that it has stepped into printing production parts, expects to invest further in additive manufacturing technology.

“Our 3D printers are indispensable to us,” commented Alan Quinn, Engineering Manager from Activ8 Robots. “They form a fundamental part of our process. We use Onyx for massive weight reductions. Parts are strong and tough; they don’t shatter under load and have superb surface quality. You have to look really closely to see that the parts are not injection moulded. We can prototype quicker, design better, produce a more refined end product and we can achieve continuous improvement.”

“Markforged’s platform with composite, metal and advanced software systems is an essential toolkit for any manufacturing firm,” offered Simon Chandler, Managing Director of CREAT3D, a Markforged reseller. “As soon as we provide this technology to our clients, they see immediate benefits, and the machines become a core tool across multiple departments solving a multitude of engineering problems.”

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