The combination enables agile manufacturing, according to the system’s developer, Machina Labs.

LOS ANGELES and AUGSBURG, Germany—A portable robotic system from Machina Labs  digitally forms and cuts custom composite and metal parts, combining the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics with “unparalleled” portability, the company said in a release.

The Machina Deployable System is reported to empower manufacturers to “elevate production capabilities with minimum disruption to facilities.” It consists of a portable platform, two 7-axis robotic arms, tool-changing corral, configurable frame, and AI-driven process controls. The system can be transported on the back of a truck and can be up and running on-premise in a matter of hours, the company said.

Machina Labs said its RoboForming™ technology is currently available as an on-premise, stand-alone option for virtually any manufacturing site. The robotic sheet forming technology employs “precise industrial robotics and AI-driven process control” to rapidly shape sheet metal into “large, complex parts that are expensive and slow to produce using conventional manufacturing tools”, the company’s website stated.

The technology can also be deployed at remote locations, such as an aircraft carrier, where it can be installed in an existing environment without significant foundational changes to the facility. It can work “with any industrial robot,” the company said.

Machina said its customers are already using its offering for purposes of tooling, sustainment, research and development, rapid prototyping, and production, to rapidly produce large, complex sheet metal parts at the point of use. The Machina Deployable System reportedly can form virtually any metal (aluminum, steel, titanium, Inconel, and more) up to thicknesses of ¼ inch and into parts as large as 12 x 5 x 4 feet. “If it bends, the Machina Deployable System can form it,” the company said.

“Machina Labs has a mission to develop manufacturing solutions that give businesses the ability to make changes with ease, and iterate and produce rapidly,” said Edward Mehr, CEO and co-founder of Machina Labs, in the release. “Our portable Deployable System is a game-changer in the manufacturing world. By providing manufacturers with a portable solution that combines flexibility, precision, and speed, we are essentially putting a twenty-first century blacksmith shop in the backyard of any business that wants one.”

The Deployable System is said to redefine the possibilities of on-demand manufacturing, rapid prototyping, and agile hardware development and production. Its applications span small, custom workshops to large-scale manufacturing facilities. The United States Air Force is reported to be using the Machina Deployable System for maintenance and repair—or sustainment—of older aircraft that have parts which are no longer being fabricated.

“Machina Labs’ advanced manufacturing platform utilizes our advanced robotic arms in new and innovative ways,” said Casey DiBattista, chief regional officer–North America for KUKA Robotics, in the release. “Their intelligent process controls and proprietary end-effectors are unlocking cutting-edge manufacturing capabilities, never thought possible, that we are delighted to support. We pride ourselves on partnering with forward-thinking companies like Machina Labs that pioneer new ways for automation to impact industry.”

As D2P went into production, Machina Labs was preparing to introduce the system to the public at FABTECH 2023 in Chicago. Delivery of the new portable system is scheduled to start in the fall of 2023, the company said.