Durr Systems has won the German Innovation Award in the ‘large enterprises’ category for its EcoPaintJet robot painting system. The innovative EcoPaintJet is used for razor-sharp painting of cars and other products. The benefits of the process impressed the jury most.
Almost 100% of the paint lands on the surface without any waste and this process also makes two-tone painting easier. All in all, this process makes painting faster, more energy-efficient and resource-friendly.
The EcoPaintJet combines know-how and high-tech components from the fields of paint application, robotics and software. Its core element is an innovative applicator mounted on a robot. Unlike a conventional rotating atomizer, it applies paint using an intricate nozzle plate. This has around 50 hardly visible holes with a diameter of nearly one-tenth of a millimeter. The paint is applied through these holes in parallel jets from a 30-millimeters distance. This is similar to an ink-jet printer. A measuring system measures the surface using a camera before all of this. The software program then calculates the paint path based on this data and the applicator hovers over the surface in sync with that.
The overall speed and tilt angle of the applicator is controlled in a way that the paint is applied evenly. The contours of the surface are also taken into account, which is important in certain cases, for example, painting car roofs. The innovation eases product customisation significantly. This also makes application of decorative strips or contrasting colours much easier and fully automatic.
Dr Lars Friedrich, member - Dürr Systems AG Board of Management and CEO of the Application Technology division explained that “The EcoPaintJet enables us to support automakers in an important trend - an increasing number of car buyers want a customised vehicle. Our innovation offers completely new possibilities here – cost-efficient and fully integrated into series production.”
The EcoPaintJet does not generate any overspray since the paint never misses its target. This also makes the process relatively easier and the rest of the car body does not have to be masked using film when a second paint colour is applied. The EcoPaintJet also hastens up the process. It needs just 120 seconds to paint a car roof. Previously, the application and removal of the masking film alone took 50 minutes. Around 15 square meters of masking film per car body is also saved now. Further benefits include improved capacity utilisation in paint shops and energy savings of up to 25% during the paint drying process.
The EcoPaintJet is not only suitable for car bodies, but also for products where paint application has so far been highly labour-intensive. The range extends from wheels, furniture and two-wheeled vehicles through to cardboard packaging, garage doors and decorations for aircrafts and railway wagons.
The German Innovation Award is one of the most renowned awards for innovations ‘made in Germany’ and is presented by the leading global professional services company Accenture, the energy supply company EnBW and the business magazine WirtschaftsWoche. It goes to enterprises that change business and markets with their innovative strength.