RhinoCAM & IRBCAM Speeds Rapid Prototyping at Savsu Technologies

Gordon Barnard is a Designer + Engineer for Savsu Technologies, a medical technology design company specializing in the Cold Chain industry. Cold Chain refers to the technology for keeping a payload at a specific temperature range. Savsu also designs and manufactures custom solutions for customers who ship live cells, vaccines, etc. used in biotechnology and precision medicine applications. Savsu’s smart packaging systems incorporates GPS, temperature monitoring and other electronics into their transportation packaging designs.
In Savsu’s Albuquerque, NM facility, Gordon uses RhinoCAM and IRBCAM to program their ABB 4400, 6 Axis robot for the production of rapid prototype components in their made to order smart packaging systems. In the example shown below, Gordon is able to go from 3D CAD to CAM to Robot to thermoformed prototype in just a couple of hours! This means that Savsu engineers can have a design review in the morning and physical prototypes for testing in the afternoon! That’s Rapid Prototyping at its finest!


Here is the process:

  1. Rhino: Design and 3D modeling
  2. RhinoCAM: Create toolpaths and post to APT file
  3. IRBCAM: Load APT file, review motions, parameters and post to RAPID file for robot
  4. ABB 4400 Robot: Cut the positive mold core
  5. Thermoform and trim
  6. Engineering review of new design component

RhinoCAM’s role in this process allows you to define the toolpaths the robot will follow and post the APT file that IRBCAM will use.


Using RhinoCAM and IRBCAM, Savsu engineers can have a design review in the morning and physical prototypes for testing in the afternoon.

That’s Rapid Prototyping at its finest!


In this example, we see the part design in Rhino and the toolpaths generated in RhinoCAM. Gordon uses setups to organize his toolpaths by tool type. Setup 1 contains all of the toolpaths that require a ½” end mill. Setup 2 contains the ½” ball mill finishing toolpaths.

IRBCAM’s role in this process is to read the APT post file from RhinoCAM, validate the motions, and post the robot language code (called RAPID for Gordon’s ABB 4400) for the robot to cut the part. The image below from IRBCAM illustrates this process.
Here we see the combination view in IRBCAM showing the robot motion simulation view in the top left (the lines of APT code are listed on the very left). The remaining views show the motion plots in the XYZ planes. In the bottom right we have inserted a sample of the RAPID robot language text file that is posted from IRBCAM. This is the file that is sent to the robot to cut the part



I model all of my designs in Rhino because I find it to be a very intuitive CAD program. For this reason, RhinoCAM was a natural fit for us. We have the 3-5 Axis Premium configuration and find the interface to be very user friendly and the learning curve to be very smooth – Gordon Barnard, Designer + Engineer, Savsu Technologies


Don LaCourse

Don LaCourse

Don LaCourse is an Application Engineer with MecSoft Corporation. Don brings over 20 years of experience in CAD/CAM operations in both automotive and mold design applications. Don also has extensive experience in documenting CAD/CAM products and is actively involved with writing the on-line help as well as creating training tutorials for MecSoft's products.
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