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ABB claims its ‘world first’ digital connected paint atomizer can save ‘millions of dollars’

ABB has launched what it claims is the “world’s first digital connected paint atomizer”, adding that the technology could potentially save “millions of dollars” for users.

The new solution – the ABB Ability Connected Atomizer – combines “state-of-the-art hardware” with ABB Ability digital platform to achieve “breakthrough paint performance”, says ABB.

The connected, sensor-equipped, robotic paint atomizer allows for real-time smart diagnostics and precise paint control to optimize painting quality, says ABB. 

The company says it supplies “turnkey solutions” to increase uptime and ensure zero quality defects.

ABB says the system increases transfer efficiency by 10 per cent, reduces internal atomizer waste during color changes by 75 per cent, and reduces compressed air consumption by 20 per cent.

The system is also said to double the time between manual cleaning for externally charged atomizer.

All this added together could “collectively save millions of dollars”, says ABB.

ABB launched the new robotic painting system at the recent industry event, Automatica, in Munich.

The ABB Ability Connected Atomizer is designed to enable automakers to optimize painting quality in real time during application rather than following a quality inspection after painting is completed.

The paint shop is one of the most expensive parts of automotive manufacturing, with costly raw materials and high energy consumption.

Undercoat, paint or sealant errors can be especially costly and are often only discovered during post-paint inspection.

The new solution, says ABB, begins with its “state-of-the-art paint atomizer”, whose design increases paint transfer efficiency and reduces paint waste by 75 per cent between today’s frequent color changes.

The design also doubles the operating time between manual cleaning from two to more than four hours for the externally-charged atomizer, meaning the system is easier to maintain and can stay online and productive longer without over-spray contamination.

The entire ABB painting system offers an “environmentally friendly turnkey solution” that provides real-time analysis and improved diagnostics in order to increase uptime and ensure zero quality defects.

ABB says that the real breakthrough for this solution comes from connecting the sensor-equipped atomizer to the ABB Ability digital platform, which allows for real-time smart diagnostics and precise paint control.

This new level of digitalization supports robot users’ transition towards the factory of the future.

By monitoring the condition of key atomizer components such as bell cups, air motors and shaping air ring, as well as variables such as acceleration, pressure, vibration and temperature, paint transfer efficiency can be boosted by up to 10 per cent while the paint is being applied.

This also eliminates the need for costly downtime for repainting or touchups.

Per Vegard Nerseth, managing director robotics at ABB, says: “Even in mature, heavily automated industries like automotive, digitalization is creating new low-hanging fruit–opportunities for automakers to sharpen their operations in ways never before possible.

“Even incremental improvements in high-cost activities like paint can have a significant multiplier effect. The ABB Ability digital platform allow us to help our customers discover and make the most of these emerging opportunities.”

The ABB Ability Connected Automizer RB 1000i is currently available for order.