Birds are beautiful creatures. However, if you work in aviation, waste management or agriculture, you will be aware that birds can be a very tough problem to deal with. They can endanger passenger safety by damaging an aircraft, spread disease or ruin crops. Dutch company Clear Flight Solutions responds to these problems and limits bird nuisance with high-tech ‘Robirds’, 3D printed at Materialise.

These remote controlled robotic birds of prey, with the realistic appearance and weight of their living counterparts, serve as modern-day scarecrows. Robirds propel themselves by flapping their wings, with a flight performance comparable to real birds. This way they offer the possibility to influence an ecosystem in a controlled and balanced way.

 

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Clear Flight Solutions immediately saw the advantages of 3D Printing in terms of design flexibility and production optimization: “It’s all about creating the most realistic bird models,” says Robbert de Vries from CFS, “and 3D Printing is the only technique that allows this kind of design freedom.

The Robirds' bodies are laser sintered in glass-filled polyamide. All necessary internal fixation points for mechanical components are directly printed inside the body.

 

  Robbert de Vries said,

By eliminating the manual assembly we did before and being able to perform rapid design changes, we save a great deal of time and money. Thanks to the expert advice from Materialise we are now creating better products.”

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Clear Flight Solutions runs tests at Twence Waste & Energy in the Netherlands with great outcomes so far. Tests at European airports will commence by the end of this year. Having showed its capability of highly effectively chasing birds with lasting effect, it is clear that the Robirds can help increase the safety of passengers and personnel at and around airports.