Painting goes high-tech
Europe is differentiating itself on the world market by offering more competitive, scalable and user-friendly solutions for different sectors of industry and manufacturing. Automatic painting systems can be improved on and robotised to offer quicker, better production methods. The-EU funded project 'Economical and ecological high quality painting at highly scalable batch sizes' (Eco2Painter) developed new technology for self-programming painting robots that are capable of learning. The technology can enable eco-efficient, high-quality painting up to 100 times more quickly than conventional methods and for much smaller batches if needed. The technology is based on sensors used to closely study and deconstruct the object to be painted. The project team developed a prototype robotic painting system that programmes itself by using a 3D 'what we see is what we paint' approach. The system offers minimal downtimes and products changes, reducing the amount of paint used and increasing quality. This is enhanced by improved scheduling and the ability to deal with complex surface geometries and critical regions. In more specific terms, the new technology can control the smoothness of the paint, as well as motion and paint strokes. Thus, it considerably minimises unnecessary strokes and overspray. There is even the ability to specify paint direction for certain parts. Project results are expected to bring an eco-friendly and rapid method of painting for use by industry. This will empower small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to respond better to market needs and become more competitive.