Painting Small Masked Parts Using Robots and Chain-On-Edge Machines
Painting in a chain-on-edge environment
allows for parts to move in front of a stationary robot such as FANUC Robotics'
PaintMate 200iA. The parts are painted
efficiently, allowed to move along to other parts of the system, and are painted
with little overspray.
In the following photos for example, the PaintMate 200iA
is painting automotive interior parts. The system has two slides that move
parts in and out of the painting zone. Also, each slide has a mask system
that fits on the part blocking out where paint is not desired. The system
is loaded with parts then the mask table is raised putting the parts into
the mask. The table is then moved into the paint booth, and is ready for paint.
While the robot is spraying one side, the other slide is moved out and
parts are unloaded and reloaded. This method allows a high level of efficiency
of the robot keeping it painting at all times. The operator must tend to
the machine to keep up with production. This type of painting is targeted
for products that are masked or require fine edges of paint. The mask is
a formed cover over the part and can be used over multiple times before cleaning
is required. This is an improvement over the use of expensive fixtures or
multiple spray guns.
Automotive Interior Parts Painting
Automotive Interior Masked Parts Painting
Painting small parts in a paint process is traditionally done using
a variety of coating application types and technologies (LVHP, HVLP, Powder
Coating, Electrostatic Paint Systems, etc.). Some general industrial painting
applications require extensive conveyors and multi-robot systems to paint
large parts. Traditional painting systems utilize rigid and costly custom
multi-axis reciprocators and banks of fixed guns.
However, if your application is to paint a small part, such as a pen
for example using any paint processing method, you can utilize chain-on-edge
coating methods to transport the part instead to one robot for paint application.
Benefits of Chain-On-Edge Coating
Chain-on-edge coating or chain-on-edge painting is utilized in environments
where traditionally a part was brought in on a fixture, and several stationary
guns painted each surface of the part. Chain-on-edge allows a part, secured
to a shaft attached to the chain, to travel smoothly through different painting
cycles in the painting process. The part can then continue on the chain and
travel to other areas in the paint booth. This eliminates the use of potentially
costly fixtures, and allows for a smooth to accommodate a product changeover
High performance motion control enables direct spraying on the part
and is easily adapted into existing systems. This high performance motion
control allows for six degrees of freedom for direct spraying over the part.
Precise gun triggering accurately controls the spray pattern timing to paint
only the part. This reduces material usage over fixed spray systems that douse
the area with paint. A single spray gun approach also reduces multiple spray
gun setup and maintenance operations.
Benefits of Chain–On–Edge Coating over Fixed Paint Guns
|Fixed Paint Guns
||Flexible Paint Guns
|Many paint guns needed
||Multi location – Reducing number of guns
||Variable Gun Control
|Reciprocators can limit paint surface area
||Precise Gun to Part Location to minimize overspray and waste; maximize
|Expensive fixturing limits part changeover
||Ease of adaptability to different parts
|Hard to maintain different guns if painting multiple parts of different
||Easy to maintain one gun
|High paint waste with multiple guns
||Less Paint Waste
|More parts required
||Fewer spare parts needed
Using the Paint Mate 200iA to Perform
The Paint Mate 200iA
is FANUC Robotics’ latest and smallest six-axis coating robot designed
to meet the automation needs of a variety of industries including aerospace,
alternative energy, automotive component, appliance, agricultural equipment,
consumer goods, plastics and many others. The Paint Mate 200iA
has a payload capacity of 5kg and a reach of 704mm; a longer reach version,
the Paint Mate 200iA/5L, is available with
a reach of 892mm. Ideal for small part applications, the Paint Mate 200iA is a cost-effective replacement for fixed automation.
In addition, it is approved for FM and ATEX Hazardous locations, Class I,
II, III and Div. 1 environments.
The Paint Mate 200iA
robot provides a level of affordability and simplicity previously not available
in general industry painting. Rigid and costly custom multi-axis reciprocators
and banks of fixes guns are eliminated with a single robot designed and approved
for the hazardous paint environment.
The Paint Mate 200iA
uses a programmable fixed gun sprayer. The robot positions the spray gun over
multiple locations for direct spraying. The Paint Mate 200iA’s
compact design is effective in chain-on-edge systems because of its low cost,
and small footprint. It is flexible and reliable and is perfectly suited
for all Class 1, Div. 1 painting environments.
Using Vision to Improve a Paint Process
In some cases, FANUC Robotics can use iRVision®
for part location in paint applications. iRVision®
is Integrated Robot Vision which is the integration of a camera interface
built into the robot controller. One or more cameras can be in a remote location.
In traditional processes, if you want the robot to manipulate every workpiece
in the same way, you need to place every workpiece at exactly the same position. iRVision® is a visual sensor system designed
to eliminate such restrictions. In painting environments, the camera is placed
upstream in a safe environment.
iRVision® measures the position
of each workpiece by using cameras, and it adjusts the robot motion so that
the robot can paint the workpiece in the same way as programmed even if the
position of the workpiece is different from the workpiece position set when
the robot program was taught. All of the application-specific tools developed
to simplify the use of the camera as a guidance, identification, or inspection
tool are integrated with the robot.
Can reduce the need for a Manual Input Station (MIS)
Makes part changeovers a breeze.
Can identify parts in multiple orientations.
Can identify parts in 2D.
Can error proof the parts as they enter the booth.
Can increase throughput.
Reduces or eliminates fixturing costs.
Chain-On-Edge Coating Small Parts Example
Paint Mate 200iA Aerospace Painting
Classic Metal Finishing’s team leaders have 25 years of experience
in manufacturing and engineering. According to Phil Morrison, plant manager
of Classic Metal Finishing, “Classic Metal Finishing and Classic Turning
is a one-stop job shop, we machine from the raw material to the metal finish
to deliver complete components to the customer.”
Classic Metal Finishing’s total machine process solution, provided
by Thierica Equipment Corporation (Grand Rapids, Mich.) includes two FANUC
Robotics Paint Mate 200iA robots in a table-top
paint booth design. “It’s a great compact system that uses minimal
floor space,” said Morrison.
Airplane Parts Painting Cell
Thierica Equipment Corporation’s spray system design used an AB
PLC with a touch screen that is able to handle one thousand jobs, which is
well suited for communication with FANUC Robotics’ R-30iA
robot controller. The operator’s end of the two-position index table
has a pair of safety light curtains for intrusion detection. Once the job
is selected, the operator simply adjusts the gun spray to a predetermined
setting, loads the part into the machine, and selects the finger sensor start
Thierica Equipment Corporation designed an end-of-arm-tool capable
of spraying with two guns and a quick tool change capability. The two-position
index table has twin spindles, rpm control for spindle speed, and adjustable
fan air dials on each gun. The integrated two-position index table and Paint
Mate 200iA robot system handles components
sized from 3/16” to 5” diameter, and is capable of spraying two
types of material and two different part configurations with any combination.
For example, it can apply a type of dry film lubricant to the ID of the component,
and a second type of dry film lubricant to a section of the component’s
The robot system is required to apply dry film lubricant to a wide range
of components with a consistent film thickness. The dry film lubricant is
sprayed with an air brush gun due to the required minimal film thickness.
This type of material has a short two-second flash time, making it difficult
to apply without dry spots and runs which makes this a perfect application
for the FANUC Robotics’ Paint Mate 200iA
robot. The dry film lubricant supply system consists of Graco pressure pots,
a fluid pressure regulator, and a back pressure regulator. The air brush
gun has a “Y” fitting attached so the dry film lubricant continuously
re-circulates and agitates to keep the dry film lubricant flowing past the
gun needle. This fluid system design prevents plugged, dried out gun tips
and also keep the dry film lubricant system ready to spray at a moments notice.
Classic Metal Finishing is able to spray parts in the same manner that
an operator could spray by hand. System payback is in the production speed,
repeatability, and labor. Hand spray of a dry film lubricant produced 65
parts per hour, a servo controlled two-axis fixed gun spray machine produced
125 parts per hour, the Paint Mate 200iA
system with only one gun can produce 250 parts per hour with a single spindle,
but with a duel spindle load it can produce 500 parts per hour. That is a
770% production increase over hand spraying, and 400% production increase
over a servo controlled two-axis fixed gun spray machine. Due to the accuracy
of the Paint Mate 200iA the system requires
less masking fixtures versus a manual spray operation or servo controlled
two-axis fixed gun spray machine. Classic Metal Finishing expects a labor
cost savings of 30-50% and a system ROI (Return on Investment) of three years.
Classic Metal Finishing will be able to grow their business through the system
flexibility, quality (consistence film thickness), and reduced labor cost
provided by the robotic system.
“The small premium far exceeds the benefits of part run flexibility
and increased production with the Paint Mate 200iA
versus a servo controlled two-axis fixed gun spray machine,” said Classic
Metal Finishing’s Morrison.
Classic Metal Finishing has learned that the Paint Mate 200iA would spray the dry film lubricant faster than
a human can load the part, so the robot process speed was slowed down for
the operator to keep up. To speed production, a FANUC LR Mate 200iC robot with vision is planned for the future to
handle loading and unloading dry film lubricant applied components from the
Paint Mate 200iA two-position turn table
to a chain-on-edge conveyor system for final curing.
Other Chain-On-Edge Examples
The system capability with the Paint Mate 200iA
can, in some cases, utilize a dual gun set up, allowing the robot arm to
address each inside and outside surface With hard automation the customer
would have to run the parts through twice for each surface, requiring two
workcells. Small cylindrical parts, for example, require a precise application
of coating to the inside and outside of the part which is not possible with
fixed guns or reciprocators.
Small Plastic Parts Painting
This example uses a Paint Mate 200iA
to paint clear coat on chromed plastic parts. This chain-on-edge system was
an upgrade to an existing fixed reciprocator automation paint line.
Small Plastic Parts Painting
This system utilized the Paint Mate to perform line-tracking painting
which allowed for a moveable robot mount so that the booth could be cleaned
easily at an economical system cost. It also resulted in improved quality
with accurate robot triggering and gun placement. In this case the customer
was able to increase production while meeting material build and appearance
specifications. Programmability was maintained for multiple parts, and the
compact design minimized the booth layout.
Paint Mate 200iA with Removable
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