Automated Paint Robot (APR)
A Completely Automated Paint Solution
The Automated Paint Robot (APR) is under development on the backdrop of a feasibility study for Airbus in 2015. By adding a COTS rotary bell spray-gun to the LCR platform, we created a cost-effective and autonomous solution that reduces labor costs by 80%, saves up to 30% of paint and ensures higher quality and predictability in the paint process. In addition, new technology is being developed to decorate aircraft in record time in any color and pattern, with fully digital created content. This Direct Printing feature will soon be announced.
From the study for Airbus a complete automated paint end-to-end paint process was developed, that includes the following functionalities and applications:
- Sanding: The process that lightly “sands” the primer for (re) activation before the paint layer is sprayed. Similar sanding will reactivate an existing paint layer before the next paint is prayed.
- Cleaning: The process that cleans the surface after the paint stripping process is completed. This function is also suitable for cleaning of aircraft during inspection intervals at A and B checks.
- Spraying: The process that will spay sol-gel, primer and clear-coatings by means of a spray gun.
- Rotary Bell spraying: The process that allows a much more effective paint process by using an electrostatic process and yields to less paint for achieving the same result as more conventional methods.
- UV Curing (Drying): The process that reduces the dry-time of clear-coatings from the current 14 hours to 2 hours.
- (Partial) Direct Printing: The process that allows full masking and color painting of the aircraft.
APR benefits and operational characteristics
- Much better facility planning through-out the year
- 80% reduction of labor costs
- Process workflow reduction in the MRO operation (A320+B777 10%, A380 35%)
- Reduction of paint by 27% (with Direct Printing > 30%) as a result of more efficient spraying, respectively printing
- Higher quality and predictability in the paint process
- No cost increase with complex livery schemes a result of marketing campaigns or new branding schemes
- No hazardous paint fumes
- Safer and healthier working environment