Innovate UK backs automated AM post processing project CAMPFIRE

Rivelin Robotics is leading a funded project that is set to deliver automated finishing of flight parts, orthopaedic implants and gas turbine components produced using metal additive manufacturing (AM) processes.

The project is part of the UK Research and Innovation’s MSI Challenge, delivered by Innovate UK, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and the Economic and Social Research Council. It is one of 11 grants, totalling £3.7 million, awarded to late-stage robotics and automation projects ‘with a focus on developing solutions to improve productivity, sustainability and resilience within factory production areas,’ according to Innovate UK.

Designated Project CAMPFIRE (Certified Additive Manufactured Parts Finished with Intelligent Robotics Engine), the team at Rivelin is delighted to be leading this project and working with partners and collaborators who are as committed to success as they are for delivering advanced automated metal post-processing solutions for AM parts. The partners fully engaged in this project include GKN Aerospace, Materials Solutions a Siemens Energy Business, and Attenborough Medical; along with partners on the supplier side Yaskawa EU and Saint-Gobain.

The post processing of metal AM parts is well known for causing a bottleneck in the production of end-use parts, particularly at scale. Rivelin’s Netshape Robots, which utilise 3D vision and force control algorithms, have already proved their worth in industrial settings since their launch in 2022. This project is set to demonstrate the capabilities of Netshape Robots’ at the next level, with the potential to revolutionise tightly regulated industries (such as aerospace, medical and energy, as well as civil aerospace, defence and automotive) and unlock growth and investments in automation and AM.

Commenting on the project and where it can lead, Robert Bush, CEO of Rivelin Robotics said: “The support from Innovate UK has been pivotal in accelerating Rivelin Robotics’ journey. The funding not only catalyses the development of our innovative platform, but also empowers us to tackle complex challenges in additive manufacturing. This grant is a key enabler in our mission to revolutionise robotic finishing of near-net-shape parts, enhancing the UK’s position in advanced manufacturing.”

With a 15-month run time, the goals of project CAMPFIRE seek to automate the manual, filthy and time-intensive metal support removal process. This alone, according to key stakeholders, would be a primary enabler in achieving a much more competitive business case for AM components. The ability to also finish those components to optimised specifications of the application and the regulatory standards they must adhere to also adds further value and will be a huge leap forward with a successful project outcome.

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