ABB Robotics has collaborated with two world-renowned artists, eight-year-old Indian child prodigy Advait Kolarkar and Dubai-based digital design collective Illusorr, to create the world’s first robot-painted art car. ABB’s PixelPaint technology has, without human intervention, perfectly recreated Advait’s swirling, monochromatic design, and Illusorr’s tri-color geometrical patterns.
Equipped with 1,000 nozzles in the printer head, ABB’s IRB 5500 paint robots completed the highly complex artworks in less than 30 minutes. The PixelPaint technology demonstrates precision and speed, capturing intricate, elaborate detail that would be impossible to achieve by hand.
Sami Atiya, President of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation business area, commented, “Our RobotStudio software can not only pave the way for more sustainable manufacturing but can also perfectly replicate delicate pieces of art that celebrate the originality and beauty of the human spirit.”
PixelPaint technology reimagines the paint application process and reflects the growing demand for sustainable personalization in the automotive industry, particularly in exterior paint. Multi-colored car painting has traditionally been a laborious and costly process involving multiple stages of masking and unmasking, but this technology allows for a detailed, colorful, and exact replication of any design.
Carefully controlled, the paint can be quickly applied in a single application. This development in the automation of the painting process opens the door to specialized and personalized designs for the automotive market.
Automotive designer Ian Callum, responsible for designing the Aston Martin Vanquish and, more recently, the Jaguar I-Pace said, “There’s something very special about a car. People get emotionally attached to them, and the importance of personalization is becoming stronger and stronger. In fact, I’m working with customers who actually want the whole car designed in a bespoke way. So, this paint offering — with all sorts of new levels of individual design for a motor car — is incredible.”
PixelPaint technology also enhances manufacturing sustainability, removing the need for masking materials and extra ventilation, which lowers emissions while saving water and energy. Coordinated by the firm’s RobotStudio software, the paint head tracks very closely to the vehicle body to ensure 100% of the paint is applied to the car with no airborne misting. Different paint colors are applied quickly, with the product only running through the paint shop once. For car manufacturers, this can halve the production time and reduce costs by up to 60%.
To create the art car, ABB refurbished a Volkswagen SUV damaged by the floods in Germany in the summer of 2021. Its recycling confirms ABB’s commitment to sustainability wherever possible.
ABB is at the forefront of developing smart manufacturing principles and technology to support the global automotive industry as it undergoes one of the most significant periods of transformation in recent history. The transition will lead to the use of more robots in combination with other technologies, including Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs). This will enable ABB’s automotive customers to optimize the delivery of components across their facilities and connect integrated, scalable, modular production cells, such as PixelPaint, ensuring the necessary flexibility to meet varying levels of demand.
Sami Atiya added: “We are in the midst of a significant decade in the history of the automotive industry and the start of a new era. Automakers need to consider new ways of working towards the transition to electric vehicles. We are working to support the industry in this transition, and I’m confident that with flexible automation, sustainable transportation will fast become a reality.”
Filed Under: Robotics • robotic grippers • end effectors