GM Tries RoboGlove, 3D-Printed Parts at Assembly Plants
SANTA CLARA, CA—General Motors has been testing various new technologies at its assembly plants. Two of note are the RoboGlove and 3D-printed parts. Futurecar.com reports that RoboGlove is a grasp-assist device worn over the user's arm and hand. It's designed to prevent tendon stress by using actuators, pressure sensors, and synthetic tendons. The invention was created by GM and NASA while working on the Robonaut 2 humanoid robot-in-space program.
Later this year, GM plans to launch a pilot program for the RoboGlove. At least 20 line operators will sample the unit while performing routine work. It's not clear yet which plant will conduct the tests.
At its Lansing Delta Township assembly plant in Michigan, GM is trying out 3D-printed parts on a large scale. The facility has a dedicated area–and large 3D printer–for producing such components. It cost approximately $35,000, but is worth the price. Printing parts instead of buying them has saved the company around $300,000 over the last two years.
"We've done many parts for many different applications, including production aids, ergo tools for operators, and prototypes," says Zane Meike additive manufacturing plant lead. The 3D-printed parts are made from various powders, including carbon fiber-infused nylon."