Robocasting Enterprises is a spin-off from Sandia National Laboratories and a success story of Sandia's technology transfer program.
The foundation of Robocasting is based on technology developed at Sandia National Laboratories in the 1990's when additive manufacturing (then called freeform fabrication) was in its infancy. In fact, the Founder of Robocasting Enterprises, Dr. Joseph Cesarano III, was a career scientist at Sandia and one of the inventors (along with Prof. Paul Calvert) of freeform fabrication via ceramic slurries (i.e., robocasting). Since then the technology was transferred to the University of Illinois and is now being used by several research groups and hobbiest throughout the world. Several groups have changed the name of the technology for their own reasons and robocasting is sometimes confused with Direct-write assembly, Direct Ink Writing, micro-robotic deposition, solvent-based extrusion, extrusion freeforming, robotic deposition, etc. Regardless of the name, the foundation of 3-D printing via particulate pastes is robocasting and Robocasting Enterprises LLC is currently the world leader in its commercialization.
In the year 2000 there wasn't an application for the technology within Sandia and there weren't any private-sector companies interested in licensing the technology. It was a little ahead of its time. In an attempt to find a commercial niche, the company Robocasting Enterprises was started as a part-time garage operation.
Finally, in 2007 a commercial opportunity for manufacturing of advanced filters for purification of molten metals emerged. Robocasting Enterprises LLC (ROBOCASTING) was born and operations expanded into a full-time manufacturing facility with three former Sandians: President, Joe Cesarano; Vice-President, John Stuecker; and Senior Engineer, Mike Niehaus.
Since 2007, ROBOCASTING has continued to improve and scale-up operations with the goal of transitioning 3-D printing of ceramics from a very small-lot prototyping technology into a manufacturing technology.
As such, ROBOCASTING is now housed in a state-of-the-art facility with capabilities for larger-scale production and R&D for custom work and small-lot fabrication. All of our equipment is specialized, developed and built in-house. Currently, we do not sell equipment but we enjoy working with companies to help develop new and unique parts for their operations with the intent of eventually becoming their supplier.
Robocasting is a very versatile and valuable 3-D printing technology (especially for ceramics and composites). However, products have inherent surface roughness and difficult to predict dimensional variations. It is important to understand this reality and the applications for which robocasting is particularly suited. Robocasting is a near-net-shape 3-D printing process but it is not near-net-size. Parts requiring very high dimensional precision and/or surface smoothness are not good candidates for robocasting unless final machining is acceptable.
Products/applications that can benefit greatly from robocasting are:
1) Products that can improve performance by incorporation of previously unobtainable internal geometries e.g., lattice structures or parts with internal pathways; and
2) Simple shapes that can be made more economically and to customers' specifications because of automation (e.g., labware, thermal analysis crucibles).
A final note; there is a lot of hype surrounding 3-D printing. Robocasting Enterprises LLC does not want to perpetuate unrealistic expectations. The 3-D printing technique, called robocasting, is not appropriate for everything; however, the components it is good for ... it is exceptionally good for.
Contact us to see if robocasting is appropriately valuable for your current supplies or new products. Our goal is to provide you with extraordinary products at affordable prices to help your business or research activities thrive.