Painting robot integration

Basic Integration for Painting Robots

We automatically think of the automotive industry when we consider the use of painting robots. For example, factories with long lines of robots weaving their way around the inside and outside of car bodies. Off course this is an area where painting robots have been working for many decades now. Today, we are seeing a new interest in paint robots for much smaller applications which have traditionally been carried out by hand.

Spray painting is typically a task that is unpleasant for humans and also in a lot of cases an environment which is toxic as well.  This leads to one big advantage in using robots for this role.  Robot arms are able to take on this potentially unpleasant and dangerous work.

A robotic painting installation is made of a number of principal elements outlined below:

Integration for painting cell

The EcoSupply P Basic Single Pass System by Durr

The Robot Manipulator itself which will carry out the painting movements over the part or parts. The manipulator will have a high degree of freedom of movements. Therefore, it will allow for smooth and fluid trajectories around the part(s).

The robot manufacturers design the painting robots with the essential and appropriate elements to contain the paint application piping. Moreover, these robotic elements such as colour changers are within the structure of the arm of the robot. It allows eliminating the risk of cables and hoses snagging and contamination from paint material.

It is possible that the material being sprayed when vaporised can bring rise to explosion risk. In which case, the robot will need to have the appropriate Atex protection rating to comply with the Atex rating of the zone that it will be working in. This is an important consideration for any new cell so we will consider this subject in a bit more detail.

Rating for Painting Robot Operation

Health, Safety & Environment (HSE) – Robotic Painting Systems

The HSE states that an explosive atmosphere is:

A mixture of dangerous substances with air, in the form of gases, such as vapours, mist or dust in which, after ignition has occurred, combustion spreads to the entire unburned mixture. Atmospheric conditions are commonly referred to as ambient temperatures and pressures. That is to say temperatures of –20°C to 40°C and pressures of 0.8 to 1.1 bar. HSE Guidance

For any new project, it will be necessary to establish the Atex rating for the zone where the application will take place, the HSE directs that:

Employers must classify areas where hazardous explosive atmospheres may occur into zones. They give this classification to a particular zone, and its size and location, depends on the likelihood of an explosive atmosphere occurring and its persistence if it does.

For gases, vapours and mists we have the following zones:

Zone 0: A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of dangerous substances in the form of gas, vapour or mist is present continuously or for long periods or frequently.

Equipment category 1 (1G/1D) – Very high level of protection

Zone 1: A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of dangerous substances in the form of gas, vapour or mist is likely to occur in normal operation occasionally.

Equipment category 2 (2G/2D) – High level of protection

Zone 2: A place in which an explosive atmosphere consisting of a mixture with air of dangerous substances in the form of gas, vapour or mist is not likely to occur in normal operation but, if it does occur, will persist for a short period only.

Equipment category 3 (3G/3D) – Normal level of protection

Robot applicator
Painting robots by Durr
Production line in manufacturing
Painting Robots in Car Manufacturing

For dusts we have the following zones:

Zone 20: A place in which an explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in the air is present continuously, or for long periods or frequently.

Equipment category 1 (1G/1D) – Very high level of protection

Zone 21: A place in which an explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in the air is likely to occur in normal operation occasionally. Equipment category 2 (2G/2D) – High level of protection

Zone 22: A place in which an explosive atmosphere in the form of a cloud of combustible dust in the air is not likely to occur in normal operation but, if it does occur, will persist for a short period only.

Equipment category 3 (3G/3D) – Normal level of protection

The robot manufacturer will indicate the rating for its robot ranges. For example, in the case of the FANUC range of paint robots: All FANUC paint robots are explosion proofed and fully ATEX compliant for category 2 and Group IIG (previously zone 1)

 

 

Painting Robots Applicator Systems

The Applicator which is mounted on the robot flange to apply the material. Additionally, there are different types of applicator depending on the material and coverage required. For example, we have:

  • Air-based spray guns supplying paint via a nozzle with control of paint flow.
  • Airless spray guns supplying paint via a nozzle with control of paint flow.
  • Electrostatic spray guns with HT to provide the greater material transfer.
  • Rotary bell-type applicators with control of the fan shape and HT.
  • Mixing systems for materials with catalyst.

Distribution or Paint Supply System

The Distribution or Paint Supply System to bring the material to the robot and ultimately the applicator. However, when considering paint application whether manual or robotic, it is essential to consider the storage and supply of the material(s) to the gun. Some of the main elements being:

  • Agitators for correct mixing of the material in the storage containers.
  • Pumping systems for taking the material from the storage containers through the supply network to the base of the robot.
  • Fluid pressure and air regulators for fluid control.
  • Control system for managing the distribution process.

Robotic Systems for Painting Operation

Our Phoenix Control Systems engineers have a vast experience in paint application gained over many years from installations around the world.  So, our installations range from complete car manufacturing paint shops to small painting applications in general industry. Example of car manufacturing shops, we have Peugeot in Slovakia, Ford in Russia to installations in Jaguar Land Rover and BMW here in the UK. Check out our Robotic Cell System Case Studies

For smaller applications, we have a system available based on the very successful KUKA Agilus Robot with Durr spraying equipment. Please contact us for further information for all your material spraying needs.

Download full documentation for Painting Robots operation

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