Abstract

Swarm manufacturing is a new paradigm for distributed manufacturing, where each factory uses an army of mobile manufacturing robots working together to manufacture desired products. It focuses on building factories within a local supply chain, where multiple products can be produced to meet changing customer demand from mass manufacturing to on-demand production of customized products. Cooperative 3D printing (C3DP) is a primitive form of swarm manufacturing, where multiple mobile 3D printing robots work together cooperatively to print the desired part, representing a major step toward enabling swarm manufacturing. At the core of C3DP lies the chunk-based printing strategy. This strategy splits the desired part into small chunks. The chunks are then assigned and scheduled to be printed by individual printing robots. In our previous work, we presented various hardware and software components of C3DP, such as mobile 3D printers, chunk-based slicing, scheduling, and simulation. This paper presents a fully integrated and functional C3DP platform with all necessary components and outlines how they work in unison from a system-level perspective. Specifically, the new architecture of hardware and software includes a set of new chunking strategies, a scalable scheduler for multi-robot printing, a SCARA-based printing robot, a mobile platform for robot transportation, a system of modular floor tiles, and a charging station for the mobile platform. Finally, we demonstrate the capability of the system using two case studies with successful large-scale prints.

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