Case Studies Of Industrial Robots

Robots in action can be found everywhere. Robot Manufacturers give examples of robot applications in different industries.

Dürr Systems, Germany - IFR-Partner

Like it shorter? Shortest painting lines through integrated application concept and one hundred percent full automation

Short painting lines save money on two counts - on the investment and on operating costs. That is nothing new and must therefore be considered as one of the most important requirements in all installation plannings. Next to compact painting processes - this article is about the solvent based 3-wet process - the full automation, that is the exterior and interior application of the paint material with robots, also offers the possibility to achieve short painting lines. Further advantages of full automation: low unit costs through high transfer efficiency and minimum color change losses, high and particularly consistent quality level as well as a reduced energy demand and as a consequence lower CO2 emissions, to name but the most important ones.

Present painting robots have reached a very high availability. What to do, however, if a robot fails in spite of that? The simplest - and formerly frequently practised - possibility is so called backup zones with manual application. This is associated with some disadvantages, however: of course additional length of the line, quality problems because of paint materials that are difficult to be applied manually with small process window and because of limited  "experience" of the painters as well as no rationalization effect.

A comparison of two line concepts for the solvent based 3-wet process. The Dual Rail technology by Dürr, combined with a full Degrade functionality, reduces the line length considerably. The capacity is identical in both cases and is 50 units per hour. Water borne lines can achieve similar reductions, but have longer flash zones

Another possibility to compensate for a robot down is to reassign the painting scopes in the affected station to the remaining robots, a strategy that is called Degrade concept. Here, the system capacity is to be considered. If a temporary reduction of the system capacity is accepted, one can manage with the number of robots that is required for the optimum layout. If this is not the case, a certain redundancy must be "built in" into the robot station.

In the meantime, the Degrade concept has become state of the art in the exterior application, so that backup zones can already be eliminated here. How do things look in interior application, however? Here, the connections are clearly more complex. In interior painting, not only painting robots are used, but also robots for the handling. Finally, also doors and hoods must be opened and closed again. In standard interior painting concepts with only one traveling rail per side, handling robots share the rail with the painting robots. A mutual "overtaking" is not possible, so that the robots cannot be used for various jobs.

This little flexible situation with related disadvantages is solved by a simple concept, the "Dual Rail" technology by Dürr. Employed is a robot cell with two traveling rails each per side laid out above each other. The painting robots are on the lower rail, the handling robots on the upper one. This way, they can act completely independent of each other, a mutual overtaking is now possible. An important requisite for "Degrade Mode" in interior painting, but not the only one. A high flexibility of the overall system is another key for success, a unique  feature of the "Ecopaint Robot" concept. Thus, a hood opener can also open doors and a painting robot can replace handling robots. And: the local separation of painting and handling already leads to a shortening of the station length.

This way, the challenge of Degrade concept is fundamentally solved, however not optimally. Fact is that indeed the backup zones can be eliminated now, if one considers interior and exterior stations together, however, there are still too many robots included because of the redundancy.

The base coat interior application: here, the Degrade mode can be seen, that is the failure of a robot in the following base coat exterior station. First of all, the front and rear doors are painted.

The left outside surface of the vehicle is painted. This Degrade robot can also apply all necessary interior painting scopes if required and can be assigned as a handling robot.

Painting of the engine compartment and the tailgate interior.

The base coat interior application: here, the Degrade mode can be seen, that is the failure of a robot in the following base coat exterior station. First of all, the front and rear doors are painted (figure on top). In the figure below that, the left outside surface of the vehicle is painted. This Degrade robot can also apply all necessary interior painting scopes if required and can be assigned as a handling robot. In the last figure, the painting of the engine compartment can be seen. In this step, the tailgate interior is also painted.

 Dual Rail technology by Dürr

A new automation concept, the Dual Rail technology by Dürr. Here, painting robots and handling devices are arranged above each other to save space. The figure shows the clear coat interior station at pre-commissioning (modular build).




Now it would be obvious to combine the interior and exterior application in one station in the Degrade mode. In other words: a robot of the interior station would become an allrounder. It could paint interior and exterior, it could open doors and hoods. This way, the exterior station could be laid out optimally without redundancy. A clear case of robot reduction and efficiency increase. Only: what about the application? Is there any atomizer that can be used equally well for interior and exterior surfaces? With narrow and wide paint pattern? With high transfer efficiency and high paint appearance quality? Yes, this atomizer exists. It is the new EcoBell2 HX.







Painting robot with handling functionality: Between hand axis and atomizer, a tool is mounted that can open and close hoods and doors.

The EcoBell2 HX is the merger of the many times proven EcoBell2 for exterior painting and the EcoBell2 HD for interior application. An atomizer for "all cases" has been created. Next to the use in the main body paintshop, the EcoBell2 HX is in particular also optimally suited for the application of plastic add-on pieces, such as bumpers for example. Bumpers unite so to say exterior and interior application in one process, large surfaces as well as narrow areas and sharp edges. Frequently combined with an extremely complex geometry. An application with and without high tension with high transfer efficiency must be a matter of course for that.

Which potential does the EcoBell2 HX offer for the future, however? Here, it is allowed to dream a little. Apart from a few exceptions, most painting lines worldwide are designed as line concepts (therefore the name painting line). One application step follows the next one. One of the reasons for this sequential process comes from the past: the differing applicators for the individual paint applications.

EcoBell2 HX

Pneumatic atomizers for interior painting, bells for the first base coat application, again pneumatic atomizers for the second base coat application. This necessity does not exist anymore with the EcoBell2 HX. Now so-called modular or integrated concepts, where a vehicle is painted completely and in a fully automatically way in one station, would be conceivable. With all applications, interior and exterior without any atomizer changes. Advantages of these concepts are a maximum of painting time relative to the total cycle time, a reduction of the color change losses as well as a high flexibility concerning the total system capacity. By switching individual modules on or off, it would be possible to react to market demands considerably better than it is the case today. Really only a dream?

The EcoBell2 HX, an atomizer for "all cases", equally suitable for interior and exterior application as well as for the painting of plastic add-on pieces