Paint automation is a fickle beast — too much spray and you get drip, too little spray or too slow and you can get dry spray, inconsistencies, and rejections that require you to execute the whole process over again.
While powder coating and other spray media can be more forgiving in actual application, the capacity to automate today is almost as difficult. Automated powder coating booths with reciprocating arms and varied production lots offer a variety of creative approaches to successful coating automation, but they have clear limits around the shape, size, position, and detail required on each and every part.
In place of what’s most commonly available today, autonomous paint robots allow you to adapt to the varied needs of your production environment — whether in aerospace, heavy equipment, metal fabrication, or more — and instead of bumping up on the limits of automation, empower their workforce to do more.
Autonomous Paint Robots Let You Work in a High-Mix Environment
Autonomous paint robots aren’t like traditional robots – they don’t require precision fixturing, jigging, or elaborate programming.
How is this possible? Autonomous robots can either use live 3D Perception technology or a CAD file injected into a Digital Twin to locate and understand the shape and position of parts. From there, their intelligence can help automate the robot programming in real-time, which means the robot paints what it sees — and it can do it according to your actual instructions!
This intelligence doesn’t come easy, however. Omnirobotic’s AutonomyOS™ is the only integration method that allows autonomous robots to function in real-time for value-added spray processes.
This technology is, at its heart, powered by Omnirobotic’s autonomous robotics platform. This platform allows manufacturers, integrators, and almost anybody to build and deploy autonomous robotic systems no matter what they want to throw at it, meaning that when you start working with autonomous paint robots, you can take the lessons you learn (and the benefits!) to other parts of your factory floor!
Autonomous Paint Robots Enable Significant Quality Improvements
With autonomous paint robots, you finally have access to robots without the pains of programming, jigging, and more. Robots can function almost exactly like skilled laborers would, except while retaining the improved quality, consistency, and productivity that robots are already known for.
Why is this the case? Robots programmed algorithmically will always follow the same principles, while manual programming introduces its own form of human error. While artfulness is the benefit of human ingenuity, you shouldn’t expect everybody to be comfortable working 8-hour shifts on a paint line day-in and day-out — especially if you expect every piece to be perfect.
In place of dull, tedious, and tiresome jobs, your skilled workers — already in short supply — can be moved to different parts of your facility where they have more capacity to design, create and validate the work that autonomous robots are doing. The quality comes with the territory, but the quality of life is what you’ll notice most!
Autonomy Can Reduce Rework, Waste, and Overspray
While the benefits of autonomous robots over a thinning skilled workforce are multiple, the add-ons truly allow the overall payback of the systems and cost savings to become comprehensive.
First, the quality and consistency improvements that come with autonomous robots enable one benefit above all: reduced rework, waste, and rejections of parts.
This is often the most costly aspect of any production line because of the amount of coordination, energy, and attention to detail it requires. While rework can compose 5 or 10% of a production’s volume, the need to touch up or completely redo parts can make up to 20 or 30% of your regular operating expenses.
At the same time, overspray is another quality issue that comes with a “hidden waste” of coatings. Each coating — whether paint or powder — has very specific requirements that mean any coating over the necessary thickness is effectively waste.
For instance, in traditional powder coating, an operation can often leave up to 30 to 50% excess coating on targeted parts. This excess thickness is effectively waste. For a medium-sized powder coating shop (2 lines with 2 shifts), reducing this coating excess by half can save $1 million per year or more.
With these side benefits, operational expenses don’t just go down, but the rate of payback for robotic deployment accelerates rapidly.
Paint Shop Automation Has Never Been More Accessible
Robotics has dominated automotive and consumer electronics manufacturing for decades, but that is only about 20% of manufacturing in North America. While other manufacturing sectors struggle with reliable, flexible automation systems, autonomous robots for value-added processes represent a game-changer for any manufacturer looking to automate efficiently.
We call this the “Autonomous Manufacturing Future”, but there’s no reason you can’t start with it today. Contact us with your spray process, its requirements, or with ideas on what project you want to build using our autonomous robotics engine and we can help you get started!
With AutonomyOS™ and AutonomyStudio™, it’s never been easier to deploy an autonomous robotic system. Using 3D Perception with AI-based Task Planning and Motion Planning, manufacturing engineers and integrators can configure autonomous robotic systems for value-added processes that allow manufacturers to achieve more consistency and flexibility in production than ever before.