CLIENT : DuluxGroup
CHALLENGE : Mixing the various powder ingredients of a customised powder-coat product was a labour-intensive process requiring staff to handle and decant loose, heavy bags of powders, in different sizes weighing 20 to 25kg each.
Additionally, the process results in a hazardous work environment saturated with fine powder dust that hangs in the air, potentially to combustible intensities. Other associated hazards include respiratory, dusty flooring, and the need for uncomfortable safety-wear.
SOLUTION : DuluxGroup proactively sought a solution and partnered with RA to develop an automated system that could also concentrate their custom production in one Centralised Make-up Facility. The heart of this system consists of…
- The Major Materials Robotic Loading System
- The Minor Materials Robotic Loading System
- SCADA system to govern the total solution and take each unique batch order via a database management system connected to Dulux Group’s Management system and staff operated by HMI touch-screens.
With the production schedule assigned, the system checks each recipe against the real-time stock of each ingredient powder stored in either dispensing hoppers or as sacks on pallets and then outputs a loading plan to the 3 robots. These robots are enhanced with extra body and sealing protection to safely work in a combustible “Zone 21” hazardous environment.These 3 Robotic Chefs now set about their tasks to stock, handle, pour, mix ...or more basically to cook up a perfect powder-coating product to order! Racing back and forth along two 21 metre long tracks, the tasks of these robots include:
- Fetching sacks of ingredient powder from pallet racks.
- Opening and decanting the powder from each into 130 different storage hoppers, then disposing empty sacks into a compacting machine for recycling.
- Tending the 130 ingredient hoppers between 3 mixing machines.
- Fetching empty pails, weighing & delivering full pails of the final product-mix.
- Replenishing the powder stocks contained in the 130 mixing hoppers. Ready again for the next custom order!
APPLICATION IN ACTION : (here undergoing testing at RA's facility prior to installation at site.)
MAIN EQUIPMENT :
- 3x Motoman HP165 Robots (extended-reach version with 100kg payload).
- 2x 21 metre servo-tracks with robot mounts.
- RA-designed end-of-arm tooling.
- SCADA & Database management systems interfaced with Client's Management System.
- HMI system (touch-screen operation).
- Increased staff safety.
- Increased product consistency & quality.
- Increased productivity.
- Capability for smaller custom batch-sizes.
- Redeployment of staff.
- Reduction in staff injuries & associated costs.
- Reduced losses to production time.
- Reduced batch-errors & waste