Automotive inkjet painting system

Automotive inkjet painting system

September 15, 2020

ABB Robotic Systems
3D/Additive/Alternative Assembly Surface Finish Automation

Auburn Hills, Michigan – ABB’s PixelPaint system uses an inkjet print head attached to industrial robots to paint vehicle surfaces in different colors, significantly reducing time, labor, and coating materials when producing two-tone paint jobs on new vehicles.

Previously, applying a two-tone or customized design onto bodywork was a time and labor-intensive process that required the vehicle to be put through the painting line twice, once for the first layer and then, after the areas had been masked, again for the second color. Typically, masking the bodywork required around 10 to 20 operators per shift, with two operators also needed to de-mask it after the second color had been applied.

With only 70% to 80% of the paint being applied to the bodywork surface, significant quantities of paint are wasted, increasing costs through recycling and having to purchase additional paint.

“In today’s fiercely competitive automotive manufacturing market, vehicle producers need solutions that can help them to improve their flexibility, efficiency and cost competitiveness while delivering a high quality paint finish, including individualized options to meet the growing demand for non-standard and customized designs,” said Michael Larsson, Managing Director Automotive OEM for ABB Robotics. “With PixelPaint, 100% of the paint is applied to the bodywork surface, so there’s no overspray. Not only does this reduce operating costs and improve environmental performance by ensuring that no paint is lost, PixelPaint also eliminates the process of masking and de-masking each car, helping to reduce bottlenecks in automotive paint shops.”

Pixelpaint is available as a cell using two ABB IRB 5500 robots. The non-overspray technology prints paint directly on to a target area using the printing nozzle head instead of spraying with a conventional atomizer, resulting in 100% transfer efficiency.

With no need for masking or de-masking, a customized paint job can be carried out in a single pass, reducing cycle times by around 50%.