Paint Technology 4.0: increased productivity and significant fault reduction

ABB Ability™ for Paint is a solution portfolio for automating and digitizing paint technology and paint lines. It enables car manufacturers to control the painting process in many ways.

Today’s automotive production is characterized by short product life cycles as well as a multitude of models and variants, which are manufactured on common production lines with a high degree of customization. Body painting is one of the key processes in the automotive industry to have a direct influence on the external appearance of a vehicle. Automobile manufacturers attach great importance to the quality of the final product, and invest in the most modern paint lines for their factories.

Data analysis for optimized painting processes

Within a paint cell with state-of-the-art conveyor and process technology, special paint robots take on various painting tasks, such as the homogenization of the surface and the subsequent application of topcoats and clear lacquers. An optimal interplay of all components must be achieved in order to obtain the best possible paint result. The range of different body variants and colors also entails new requirements for painting systems: intelligent programs can, for example, set the individual paint parameters for the atomizer’s itinerary, which is determined by the color, the vehicle model and the factory.

By monitoring and analyzing the data from production processes and equipment, automobile manufacturers can now design their painting systems even more efficiently and thus increase productivity. ABB supports its customers through its technology and its ABB Ability for Paint digital portfolio, which allows them to optimize their painting processes, reduce material and energy consumption, and improve the end results of the painting process. The range of solutions is part of the entire cross-industry digital expertise falling under the umbrella of ABB Ability™. This includes an open, interoperable cloud platform that connects devices, systems, solutions, and services in order to increase performance, productivity, efficiency and security throughout the operational life cycle. ABB Ability™ technology products and services are used in a wide range of industries, helping to create significant added value through digitalization and closed-loop solutions.

With ABB Ability for Paint, companies will achieve a first-run rate of almost 100 per cent with continuous availability thanks to early fault detection. 

Flexible machining methods as required

Depending on the type of core, Inacore turns to three optional processing methods after removal: In the first version, the IRB 6700 places the cores on the deburring table on core specific support pallets. There, the IRB 1200 moves the dividing plane with a steel needle for deburring. The IRB 6700 then picks up the cores again and places them on the removal shuttle. The shuttle takes the cores out of the safety area of the cell and presents them to the operator for clearing into the core racks and for manual visual inspection. In the second operating mode, suitable for simple core contours, the removal robot removes the cores under a chain field for deburring. The cores are then deposited on the removal shuttle. In the third version, the IRB 6700 removes the cores from the core box and places them directly on the removal shuttle without an intermediate deburring step.

MultiMove reduces space requirements and costs

The IRB 1200 controls Inacore with MultiMove. "We will never operate the two deburring robots per cell individually, so this configuration was the obvious choice," says Rudolf Wintgens. "In production, every cubic centimeter of space counts. Because we only need one robot control unit in the MultiMove, we reduce space requirements and costs".

Paint Technology 4.0 optimization

Pioneer appreciates reliability

Andreas Mössner, Managing Director of Inacore and Laempe Mössner Sinto, explains: "We appreciate the reliability of the ABB robots in harsh environments and the good adaptability of the programming, especially during deburring. In addition, ABB was able to score with our other requirements and also with the price." The companies behind Inacore have extensive experience with robots for core making and casting; Laempe and Scheuchl implement ABB robots for customers worldwide. Laempe is a pioneer in the automation of sand core production using robots. Together with ABB, Laempe installed the first robot in a core-making application back in 1996. 

Laempe is an ABB Authorized Value Provider. For many years, Scheuchl has relied on robots for casting production and raw casting machining. During the new installation for Inacore, the assembly team and the programmers from Laempe and Scheuchl provided all services for the implementation of the ABB robots.

An economically viable solution

Inacore believe that automation solutions with robots are the best method to produce with high reproducibility and quality. "We achieve shorter cycle times and lower personnel requirements and can thus reduce costs," says Dr. Udo Dinglreiter, Managing Director of Inacore and Scheuchl. "From a business point of view, ABB robots are favored for their low overall and implementation costs. In addition, the robot relieves employees of physically heavy, repetitive and dangerous tasks, thus increasing occupational safety”.