Print a part

SUT Tradiebot

Mats Isaksson next to a cell designed at Swinburne to scan and fix the headlight inside

Industry is investing in robots to cheaply fix car headlight housings using blueprints from the cloud and 3D printing.

A fender-bender could soon mean a quick trip to a robot for a cheap same-day fix thanks to a new project driven by robotics expert Dr Mats Isaksson, a senior Research Fellow at  Swinburne’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Product Design Engineering at its Manufacturing Futures Research Institute.

Isaksson has been given government funding to lead Repair Bot, a $1.2 million industry project that will harness 3D scanning, 3D printing, and robotics to automate headlight repairs.

Minor damage to the plastic lugs and brackets in a headlight assembly can cost between $200−$14,000 for parts alone, said Isaksson, and the headlight, which is still functional, will end up in landfill.

“The vision is an automatic repair cell that scans the broken plastic part, compares the scanned damaged part to an original part blueprint in the cloud, and employs 3D printing to automatically repair the broken part,” he said.