Robotic Prototyping

For those of us confined to wheelchairs, comfort and support are paramount factors in the quality of life we may experience. There are enormous benefits in having a custom-sculpted chair support that will disperse weight evenly and prevent slipping out of the optimal comfort/support posture.

Our client, Megalong Positioning Service , certainly appreciates this and approached RA to automate 3D modelling and machining of the custom support foam inserts for their clients’ wheel chairs. Each client is first seated in a special-purpose bean-bag which can then be vacuum-locked to their impression.


Previously, the supports had to be sawn by hand and refined over several client-fitting appointments and trials. With the accuracy of digital scanning, 3D modelling and robotics, this can now be reduced to just one fitting!

At right: The hand-held 3D scanner unit records the impression of each client’s body-shape. Inset: the resulting model is then converted to a robotic milling-path (see video – below).

Application in Action :

Motoman HP20D

Equipment in Focus :  The new system utilises…

  • A hand-scanner unit to record the client’s body-shape.
  • 3D modelling software to refine the scan-model and convert this to a robotic machining path.
  • A Motoman HP20D robotic arm with elevational base and high-speed milling unit.

Benefits include :

  • Greater efficiency & productivity.
  • Reduced client fitting appointments and travel needed.
  • Reduced costs.
  • Less material wastage.
  • Staff time can be re-allocated.
  • Accurate results and improved product quality.
  • Better client outcomes.