Less is more with new ABB painting robot

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 7 March 2008



(2008), "Less is more with new ABB painting robot", Industrial Robot, Vol. 35 No. 2. https://doi.org/10.1108/ir.2008.04935baf.005



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2008, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Less is more with new ABB painting robot

Less is more with new ABB painting robot

ABB's IRB5500 robot (Figure 4) reduces the number of robots required to paint the exterior of a car from four to two. With the coverage and flexibility of the robot arm, each IRB5500 robot can typically paint over half of a car's body each, from a fixed position.

Figure 4 ABB's IRB5500 robot, which halves the number of robots required to paint a car from four to two

With a huge working envelope, the IRB5500 can paint complete surfaces eliminating the need for overlapping or “patch painting” and ensuring that the paint quality on the car's body is more consistent.

In addition to the working envelope, two other features of the IRB5500 make this possible – the robot's high- acceleration rate, and the high flow of the atomiser or paint gun on the robot.

In order to achieve a high-quality paint finish in existing processes and to maintain application consistency, each robot arm needs move off the part, switch off the atomiser, slow down, change direction, accelerate, switch on the atomiser and then move back over the part to continue painting.

The IRB5500's acceleration rate of 24m/s2, double what many robots currently reach, and painting speed of 1.5-2m/s, ensures that paint is applied consistently across a car's body surface allowing the robot to continue to paint the part whilst changing direction. This produces the highest quality finish whilst also minimising cycle time required to paint a car body.

The addition of a high-flow atomiser, with a flow rate of 1,000cc/min, complements the acceleration and fast working speed of the robot. This is achieved through the bell atomiser having a rotational speed up to 70,000rpm and a voltage of up to 90,000V. This attracts the paint to the car body through a process of electrostatic attraction creating a consistent film build.

With fewer robots required for painting, users' initial outlay and consumable costs are reduced. The IRB5500 robot has been designed to work in a narrow booth, enabling major reductions in the air handling volume, reducing the capital investment and running costs of the booth.

The IRB5500 uses ABB's Cartridge Bell System for applying paint. Each paint cartridge is filled to provide the required amount of paint for the car being painted, so that waste is kept low. The change-over process keeps disruption to a minimum, with the robot taking only 10s to change cartridges.

The IRB5500 is powered by ABB's integrated process system. It is a closed loop process system that ensures that both the robot motion and paint process control are precisely co- ordinated to provide optimum quality.

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