Special show and FabLab Lübeck agree on cooperation
The market for 3D printers is growing. In 2018, roughly 28% of industry companies in Germany used 3D printing. This technology has long made it possible to produce filigree components for a wealth of different applications, some individualised and some in series. At the special show of the plastics trade fair K, young researchers from FabLab Lübeck e.V. will demonstrate where the linking of additive manufacturing, robotics and modern materials (e.g. plastics) is taking us: In October, they will present their humanoid robot.
The FabLab consists of students of IT, engineering and psychology. In an open high-tech shop floor, they follow an interdisciplinary approach to combine and drive forward topics such as 3D printing and robotics. A flagship project of the young researchers is the construction of a humanoid robot where all body parts, such as head, hands, arms and torso, are manufactured separately and assembled using 3D printing. The humanoid robot is brought to life by the interplay of state-of-the-art technologies. Plastic materials have a special role: They enable the easy, precise and fast production of the various components – from high-tech instruments to mechanical elements.
The young inventors were inspired by the French designer Gaël Langevin who created in 2012 the human-looking robot “InMoov” and has been imitated worldwide ever since. For the gripping movements, the inventors from Lübeck will additionally equip their robot with cameras and special software. Several gestures, such as “shake hand” and “move arm”, can thus be controlled and performed. Many different components are needed to make sure that all this works together smoothly. The robot’s head and nape alone consist of over 50 small units. Gears or cogwheels – everything comes from the 3D printer. The robot is made of an all-round plastics.
The special show “Plastics Shape the Future” at the plastics trade fair K is clearly the perfect place to make the work of the young researchers known worldwide. Ian Pösse, founder and board member of FabLab, states: “For us, K is an excellent platform to present our research results to wider audiences and to demonstrate what the linking of 3D printing and robotics will make possible in the future.” Bearing this in mind, a practical stance is taken at “Plastics Shape the Future” – with printing, sanding and putting in the screws. FabLab project manager Natascha Koch is excited about the show: “Visitors can admire the assembly of the robot at close range.”
The special show supports the young researchers and offers them an extra platform at the forthcoming K trade fair. Every day, they will have their own space to present their innovations and to give practical on-site presentations of 3D production. Dr Rüdiger Baunemann, director-general of PlasticsEurope Deutschland, explains: “With this partnership, we want to emphasise that the exchange with young researchers is very important to us. We also want to illustrate in what ways plastics as modern and innovative materials can shape our future together with 3D printing. It is worth noting that 3D printing is a major key factor for Industry 4.0. I am eagerly anticipating what we are going to see, and I am looking forward to the practical presentations of the young people.”
The “Fabrikationslabor” (FabLab, manufacturing laboratory) of the Hanseatic city of Lübeck was founded in October 2014 by the TZL (Technologiezentrum Lübeck). In the immediate vicinity of the local university campus, young inventors and researchers can try out industrial production technologies. In an open high-tech shop floor, students and other interested persons produce functional models and prototypes. They use, inter alia, 3D printers, laser cutters and CNC machines to create highly individualised models (rapid manufacturing). FabLab Lübeck is a registered association that currently brings together 60 members from highly different disciplines.