CLIENT : Australian Automotive Interior Components Manufacturer

PROBLEM : Our client's staff were manually spraying glue to interior vehicle panels and fabrics. The potentially flammable and toxic glue presented health and safety concerns for staff. Also, should air circulation fail and allow glue fumes to accumulate in high concentration, there was even the potential for explosion.  Arm and wrist strains to staff were also common while using manual spray-guns in a repeated back-and-forth motion across each work-piece.  Though very repetitive and exhausting, the spraying still required intense concentration to ensure a full and uniform glue application, but due to these challenges, the results of manual spraying could be inconsistent and with high glue-wastage. Strict quality control requirements were largely unachievable.

The process involved 6 staff per day over 3 shifts and with the regular breaks required - productivity suffered.

Motoman Spraying Robot
MOTOMAN HP6 robot (with additional explosion-proof casings) faces the spray-booth water-wall and overhead part carriage rail.

SOLUTION : Robotic Automation P/L took a "whole-of-process" approach in working with the client to develop a turnkey solution, designing not just the robotic spray booth cell, but also the adhesive-curing oven and overhead rail conveying system to carry the various parts through the process. Here's how it works:

  • From the operator loading/unloading station, the rail carries the parts on a hanging frame (2 parts per frame, 20 frames in use) past the part recognition photo-sensor which signals the correct painting program for the robot to use as the part continues into the spray booth. The system initially needed to work with 2 different part designs to be glued, but the system is also designed to handle any number of varied future parts which can be quickly programmed and uploaded as required.
  • The HP6 robot uses its 6 axes and 1.4 metre reach to access and pivot about the part's moulded surfaces as it sprays glue to a uniform coverage, all that within only a 3 second burst of efficient movements - using minimum glue and process time.
  • The rail then carries the framed parts on into the oven for 2 minutes of curing before presenting back to the operator for unloading.

EQUIPMENT :

  • MOTOMAN HP6 robot with explosion-proofing and NX100 controller
  • Automatic spray gun and in-line fluid monitoring system
  • Robot-synchronised overhead rail and hanging-carriage system for part presentation & conveying over 30+ metres
  • Open-faced wet-wall spray booth and adhesive-curing oven
  • Guarding system with safety stop features

BENEFITS :

  • Improved staff safety
  • Improved productivity
  • Improved quality control
  • Reduced costs due to product failure
  • Reduced costs in glue wastage & staff break times
  • Elimination of costs in injury claims & lost production time
  • Reduced labour costs and associated management / admin costs

On completion, the system was able to achieve an astounding 50% improvement in process cycle time!