Case Studies Of Industrial Robots

Preserving resources by minimizing their environmental impact, improving energy efficiency, reducing waste, and adopting new environmental friendly technology will be the trends in the future for robot manufacturers. On the other hand, robots take part in producing environmental friendly products.

ABB, Sweden - IFR-Partner

ABB robots help furniture maker use less paint and reduce waste

June 2011

High-pressure painting using industrial robots has enabled Spartan in Slovakia to reduce the amount of paint they use by 15 percent

Office and kitchen furniture manufacturer Spartan, a branch of Swedwood Slovakia, recently introduced two robotized painting lines. Their goal was to meet the increased quality requirements of their clients, to become more environmentally friendly and to boost production capacity. Spartan is one of almost 40 furniture factories owned by Swedwood International AB and is a key supplier to IKEA.

An IRB 6650 robot is used for sanding the panel edgesThe new paint lines stain and paint the edges of wooden panels used in fitted kitchens."Our company switched from using nitrocellulose lacquer to water-based lacquers after IKEA, our exclusive customer, began requiring them for a higher quality surface," said Anton Dvoøák, Spartan?s Investment Director.

Spartan also wanted to improve the quality of work for its employees by removing humans from an unsuitable environment. Spartan had to find solutions for a transport system, drying tunnels, devices for high-pressure painting, software and the robots themselves. It was also necessary to build cells and filters as well as to find a lacquer supplier.

"We picked ABB as the robot supplier because of a general framework agreement on cooperation between Swedwood and the ABB group," says Dvoøák. "Another reason was that ABB Robotics has a unit in Trnava (Spartan's home town). This meant that we could expect better client support, maintenance and other services."

IRB 5400 painting robotABB Robotics supplied seven robots in total: five IRB 5400 paint robots for staining and painting using integrated high-pressure guns and two IRB 6650 robots for sanding.

The lines are U-shaped, with the longer one running around the outside of the other. The wood pieces range in size from table tops (2.3 m x 1.3 m) to drawer fronts (56 mm x 386 mm) and enter the lines in stacks 1.3 meters high on stop-and-go conveyor tracks.

On the longer line the edges are first stained, then continue to the painting cell where they are painted with a base coat. After being hot-air dried in a tunnel, they are sanded and finally receive a top coat. On the shorter line the wood pieces just receive base and top coats.

"The capacity of the two lines is approximately 280,000 pallets per year. Four people now work on the robotized lines in one shift, while the old manual paint lines required a staff of eight - a reduction of 12 people over three shifts," said Dvoøák.

Among the advantages that robots have brought Spartan Dvoøák noted that they allow regulation of the amount of spray used, and reduce over-spray by 15 percent. He also said that using robots results in much more even application of spray compared to manual spraying.


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