Coating involves the process of applying a covering to the surface of an object, often referred to as a substrate. It is common for this process to require tedious work with chemicals that can be hazardous if inhaled by humans or that are highly flammable. Manufacturers in industries such as automotive and medical device have recognized these risk factors for their employees and have added coating application robots such as the FANUC R-2000ib/125L to their production lines. Coating robots differ from other robots because they feature air purge systems that are designed to make these robots explosion proof when working with dangerous materials. These robots can also be fitted with one to two spray guns for their end-of-arm tooling that allows them to be able to coat even the most complex surfaces with uniform results. Types of robot coating applications include:
The process of coating application can be timely, costly, and impair the health and safety of human workers. Companies are recognizing robots can help eliminate these risk factors while providing the following key benefits:
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- Increased Efficiency - Coating robots can get the job done much faster than human workers. They are capable of performing applications without the need for breaks and without any errors. Reduced errors save manufacturers time because they are not having to stop production to fix mistakes. It would take a worker tremendous precision to apply coating materials as evenly as a robot and would be very time consuming.
- Consistent Results - Once programmed a robot like the Yaskawa Motoman MH50-20 can coat millions of parts without any discrepancies. Robot programs are designed to adjust for changes in spray shape, nozzle diameter, depth of passes, number of coats, and coating thickness. The end result is a product that is uniform in covering from start to finish. This is particularly important to car manufacturers where all parts for a specific car need to match exactly and each part may be coated at different times.
- Increased Quality - By producing goods that are evenly coated this increases product quality because inconsistencies can cause flaking or pealing of coating materials. This would result in potential product breakdowns. In industries such as medical device manufacturers cannot risk their products being compromised due to improper coating application. This is why these manufacturers have added coating robots such as the ABB IRB 4400/L30 to their operations.
- Worker Safety - As mentioned above, it is common for coating applications to involve chemicals that are toxic for workers to inhale or are highly flammable. Coating robots are specially designed to handle these kinds of hazards and allow human workers to be moved to safer and more comfortable work environments.
- Lower Costs - Adding a FANUC M-710ic/20L to your production line will lower manufacturing costs because it is programmed to spray the right amount of coating for every application resulting in less wasted materials. Manual coating can often turn out to be uneven as humans are no match for the accuracy of coating robots. These errors lead to the consumption of additional time and materials to fix mistakes, driving up manufacturing costs.