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Seven of the Best Industrial Robots for Professional Surface Painting and Finishing

Do you often feel like you need the best robot painter in the world but don’t know where to start? Today, many industrial robots make use of an automated spray system and possess advanced painting capabilities.

In this article, we’ll highlight seven of the top robots available for use in industrial painting and finishing.

Robots for Industrial Painting

In 2019, the first exhibition of robot paintings was presented by robot artist Ai-Da. This follows the $432,500 landmark sale by the auction house Christie’s of the painting “Edmond de Belamy” created by robots in 2018.

Despite these feats, most of us aren’t necessarily concerned with art when shopping for a robot that can paint on an industrial scale. But complex interactions between different robot parts and rules for safety have the potential to make a search for the right device challenging.

What we need is a robot that’s reliable and easy to program in order to give our products the coatings and finishing they need.

What Capabilities Should Robot Painters Have?

There are a few characteristics and components required for most robot painting devices. These make it possible for a robot to effectively apply paint to any surface. Let’s take a look at them:

1. Degrees of Freedom

A sufficient number of degrees of freedom (DoF) allows a robot to approach a target object from a variety of directions. In order to provide a consistent coating of paint within the robot’s workspace, a painting tool needs to maintain the correct distance from the target object’s surface at all times.

2. An Atomizer

At the heart of every robotic painting device is an atomizer. In order to coat a surface, the liquid paint needs to be transformed into a spray or fine mist.

3. A Paint Pump

A paint pump is used to transport paint from its container to the painting implement.

4. A Color Changer

Some painting robots include a color changer that allows for quick transitions between hues. To fully transition from an old color, the atomizer may need to be flushed, which can sometimes be a wasteful process in terms of paint.

5. Hollow Wrists

Robots designed specifically for painting have hollow wrists. Wires and paint bottles can be protected from sprayed paint by threading them through the robot’s wrists.

6. Explosion-Proof

Some paint can catch fire and explode (especially if it’s been atomized). Specialized painting robots are often made to be “explosion-proof” in order to function despite an explosion.

7. Paint Programming Software

Robotics applications demand powerful programming tools. They need software that facilitates the creation of complex painting trajectories with as little coding as possible.

Many types of robots require supplemental parts to function effectively as painting systems; the aforementioned components are perhaps the most crucial ones. Fortunately, each supplementary item isn’t necessarily sold individually; some companies that produce robots sell dedicated, fully equipped painting systems.

The Seven Best Robots for Professional Surface Painting and Finishing

Below are seven of the best robot systems on the market for painting and finishing:

1. KUKA and Dürr’s ready2_spray

Dürr, a German company, has been at the forefront of the automobile assembly and painting industries for quite some time. Two years ago, KUKA and a few other manufacturers collaborated with Dürr on the ready2_spray solution.

The solution employs a KUKA AGILUS KR 10 R1100 robot and offers everything most buyers need. There’s a video on the ready2_spray webpage contrasting it with a standard KUKA painting robot.

2. FANUC’s PaintMate

The PaintMate series from FANUC is another robotics giant’s solution for the task of painting. The PaintMate series is safe against explosions since it’s certified as ATEX-compliant.

3. B+M Surface Systems’ Painting Technology Devices

B+M Surface Systems, a lesser-known German robot manufacturer, focuses on surface finishing technologies, including dipping and robotic painting.

4. ABB’s FlexPainter

In the late 1960s, ABB developed the world’s first painting robots. The ABB Ability Connected Atomizer, which is part of the firm’s FlexPainter robot, is billed as the “world’s first digital automotive robotic painting system.”

Like its predecessors, the FlexPainter (based on the ABB IRB 5500) can extend around massive workpieces to paint on both sides.

5. Kawasaki’s K-Series

Kawasaki produces a robot painting system called the K-Series. All the robots in this series are well-suited to the pressurized environment of a painting booth and come with a choice of accessories that improve the painting experience.

6. Yaskawa’s MPX/MPO Series

Yaskawa produces painting robots that are part of the company’s Motoman MPX/MPO Series. Like the firm’s other Motoman robots, they can be mounted at any height to a ceiling, wall, or floor.

7. Stäubli Paint Robots

Stäubli’s paint solutions are powered by the company’s TX and RX robots. With the company’s PaintiXen software, you can control the velocity, atomization, and static electricity of your paint. Stäubli claims a 30% reduction in solvent and paint material needed using this software.