PRUSA Research – Czech producer of cheap, amateur 3D printers, announced the premiere of its proprietary system for automated additive production AFS (Automated Farm System). It is currently on display at Expo 2022 in Dubai at the Czech national stand. The system was designed to control farms of cheap 3D printers and for the purposes of presentations, it was based on a line of 34 new, proprietary devices from Prussia, using CoreXY kinematics.
The concept of automated 3D printer farms is not new – over the years, several companies have tried this with more or less success – including big players such as Stratasys, MakerBot and Ultimaker. The concept of AFS Prusy has an internal character – the company has long been using its own 3D printers to produce parts for new devices, using a farm with nearly 1,000 machines. Launching such a number of 3D printers requires considerable involvement of human resources and PRUSA Research has been experimenting with methods of work automation for a long time. Automated Farm System is the result of these actions.
AFS składa się z systemów regałów, które umożliwiają szybki montaż i wymianę poszczególnych drukarek 3D. Jeśli któraś wymaga serwisu, można ją łatwo wyjąć i w jej miejsce wstawić kolejną. Prusa Research opisuje to jako system typu „rack-like”. AFS został zaprojektowany tak, aby był elastyczny i może być skonstruowany z drukarkami 3D o różnych obszarach roboczych, a nawet z różnymi modelami urządzeń.
The main challenge in automating 3D printing is the need to remove finished prints. This is usually done manually, which is expected to be as problematic as it is costly as it requires human resources. Several companies using this type of solution have already tried to automatically remove printouts. AFS PRUSY uses a robotic arm that removes the pads with ready-made 3D prints from the work tables and transfers them to the unloading station. In Dubai, printouts are collected in bins, but can be transferred to other workstations for post-processing.
Prusa Research intends to offer AFS for up to $ 3,000 for 1 3D printer. At this price level, a farm displayed in Dubai would cost $ 102,000.