Spraying, Painting, Coating


Paint spraying was one of the first uses for industrial robots. The volatile and hazardous nature of solvent based paint means that it is best to minimise human contact and robots give an excellent and consistent finish. Painting robots have been developed that are impervious to paint shop conditions and present no hazard when in proximity to flammable compounds or explosive atmospheres.

There are two types of painting robots; explosion proof and non-explosion proof. The former are sealed units and the arm is pressurised with air to prevent the ingress of explosive solvents. Pressure sensor are used to monitor integrity. Non-explosion proof robots do not have the pressurised system but the do have the other features specifically for painting. Paint robots typically have quite thin arms as they do not have to carry much weight and access is important. They are also capable of very fluid movements as they have to mimic a skilled human painter.

Painting robots often have a controller that has been designed specifically for the job. Not only are paint related controls needed but also the way in which the robot moves may be different from a standard type robot. Some painting robots can even be programmed by actually moving the arm directly, by hand, rather than using a joystick or buttons. In this way the robot can be taught very "organic" movements that may otherwise be difficult to achieve.

Pictured is ABB's latest painting robot the IRB 580 which is usually supplied as a sealed EX type and has a specialist painting control cabinet.