Cost-effective, customized functional prototypes

With 3D printing, ABB Robotics can minimize risk in the development process by proving the viability of a design before investing in an expensive tool. This shrinks the development process from months to a matter of days.

Reduce prototyping time from weeks to hours

"Compared to the traditional aluminum fingers that were very costly and took about 5 weeks for each iteration, the 3D printed designs cost almost nothing and took about an hour to create. Sometimes, I don’t even need tooling and can use the 3D print as an end-use part."

— Guillaume Pradels, YuMi Product Manager at ABB Robotics

Challenge and solution


YuMi is a collaborative industrial robot designed to grab, pick and place parts, and perform insertions. Depending on the part, YuMi uses different finger shapes that require multiple prototypes to perfect. Previously, prototype finger design was carried out in-house and the prototypes were manufactured externally. This process took a month, including wait time, and around €1,800 in costs.


When ABB Robotics incorporated 3D printing in their workflow, engineering took between four and sixteen hours per four prototypes, with an average total cost of €300. It also significantly improved their productivity and flexibility, allowing them to be more responsive to their customer needs. It’s no longer a problem if the original designs aren’t perfect. Multiple iterations are quick, easy and cheap.


Reduced prototyping and production times

Printing new prototypes in-house reduces design validation and prototyping times from weeks to hours without going over budget.

Multiple feasibility tests and iterations

With 3D printing, ABB Robotics can perform multiple tests and feasibility studies per day. New iterations have no time penalties.

Higher responsiveness to customer needs

Being flexible and fast allows for more customized solutions and a compelling reason for potential customers to choose ABB.

Reduced prototyping and manufacturing costs

As a fast, cost-effective alternative to traditional manufacturing methods, 3D printing allows ABB to save around €100k per year.