Benefits of Thermal Spray Robots
Thermal spray is a coating process used to treat surfaces in order to prevent corrosion, wear, and erosion. It has been used for decades in the automotive, aerospace, and manufacturing industries. In these industries, thermal spray applications are critical to the safety and quality of products. This is why thermal spray applications are frequently automated by the FANUC M-20ia and other industrial robots.
Robotic thermal spray involves programming articulated robots to automatically execute the process of melting ceramic or metallic materials and applying that molten material to product surfaces in order to create a protective coating. Automating thermal spray applications with six axis robots provides several benefits, which include:
- • Control of Application Parameters - With robotic thermal spray the parameters of the application can be controlled. Parameters such as speed of coating application, coating thickness, coating pattern, and trajectory can all be programmed with robotic thermal spray. With manual methods these parameters cannot be controlled which causes inconsistencies in surface coatings from part to part as well as errors. The ability to control thermal spray parameters with the ABB IRB 2600 ensures consistent and accurate coatings. All parts will be uniform to one another. The ability to control application parameters with thermal spray robots creates an extremely reliable process.
- • Mitigation of Errors - Manual thermal spray applications are prone to errors. Even for the most experienced thermal spray operators errors are unavoidable. As mentioned above, parameters cannot be controlled with manual thermal spray. When errors occur, they can have a serious impact on the quality and safety of products. The ability to program and control application parameters with robot manipulators mitigates errors. The Yaskawa Motoman MH50 will consistently follow programmed steps without any deviation ensuring consistent coatings across all parts. If errors do occur with industrial robot arms it is usually caused by programming mistakes and not the robot.
- • Improved Quality - Automating thermal spray applications with the FANUC M-10ia and other manufacturing robot arms will significantly improve coating quality and therefore the overall quality of the products being manufactured. Error mitigation and the ability to control the thermal spray application eliminate inconsistencies and mistakes that result in uneven or poor coatings. Issues associated with manual thermal spray such as porosity, oxide formation, cracking, bumpy surfaces, and thermal stress are eliminated with robotic manipulators. Higher thermal spray quality ensures the longevity and safety of products. Coatings will not wear or breakdown prematurely which could compromise the other aspects of products especially in the automotive and aerospace industries.
- • Safer Work Environment - Implementing the Yaskawa Motoman HP20D and other factory robots creates a safer work environment for workers. With manual thermal spray workers are exposed to high temperatures, loud noise, hazardous materials, and pressurized equipment. Inhalation of toxic fumes, burns, and electric shock are just some of the safety risks of thermal spray applications for workers. Thermal spray operators can be at risk for both short and long-term health effects. Replacing workers with thermal spray robots eliminates worker exposure to such dangers. Thermal spray robots are built for operating in harsh work environments and for handling combustible materials. Worker injuries and illnesses are significantly reduced with automated thermal spray.