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Applying coatings in automotive manufacturing is one of the tasks best suited to industrial automation because of the hazardous chemicals involved, as well as the need for precision and consistency. ABB last week said that its new Compact Interior Paint Station combines 12 robots to help automotive OEMs reduce the footprint of their paint booths by up to 33%. It is able to paint a the interiors of variety of vehicles, from cars and sport-utility vehicles to large multipurpose vehicles, said the company.
ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation is a unit of Zurich-based ABB that has more than 10,000 employees in over 53 countries, and it has shipped more than 400,000 robotic systems serving a variety of industries.
ABB IRB robots enable a compact workcell
The Compact Interior Paint system includes four IRB 5350 robots for opening vehicle doors and two IRB 5500-22 robots to open hoods and trunks. ABB said the key to its compactness are the capabilities of six new IRB 5500-27 seven-axis robots.
Featuring a 3.8-meter working envelope and offering a choice of floor, wall, or inverted mounting options, the IRB 5500-27 is able to reach further across a car body than other painting robots, claimed ABB. The enhanced working angle reduces the number of robots needed to carry out a particular task and eliminates the need for a linear track, it said.
The improved reach also enables the robot to optimize the angle of the atomizer relative to the surface to be painted, which helps to reduce paint waste by minimizing overspray, said ABB. In addition, the Compact Interior Painting Station reduces the need for ventilation and illumination on the factory floor, helping to make paint operations more sustainable and cost-effective, according to the company.
Compact Interior Paint systems designed for teamwork
In addition, ABB said its robots are able to compensate for one another to help maintain productivity. In the event of a failure, the remaining working robot will enter degrade mode, either increasing speed to cover the work of both robots or increasing cycle time to cover for the failed robot until it can be brought back online.
The robots in the Compact Interior Paint Station are able to work in close proximity because of ABB’s SafeMove software. By setting each robot’s working envelope as a safety zone and using it to control speed and movement, the risk of a collision or triggering of an emergency stop is reduced, said ABB. SafeMove can also help to prevent injury to workers who may have to enter the booth, as the robots brought to an automatic stop as soon as a person is detected.
“Our Compact Interior Painting Station is the latest development in our mission to help automotive OEMs find new ways to enhance their flexibility and reduce production costs and their impact on the environment wherever possible,” stated Jörg Reger, managing director for automotive OEMs at ABB Robotics. “By removing the need for ancillary equipment such as the linear track and additional ventilators, the Compact Interior Painting Station can help to significantly reduce the time and cost of setting up a paint booth.”
“With its ability to fit into different booth configurations, and with fewer items that need to be installed and maintained, it presents an ideal solution for retrofitting existing paint shops,” he said.