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Sports Car Manufacturer Embraces Automation with Dürr

Lotus is using technology from Dürr, including painting robots, updated painting supply systems and a new drying rack, to modernize its paint shop.
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Durr painting robot

 

In the future, Lotus sports cars, such as the Evora, will be painted with painting robots from Dürr.

Sports car manufacturer Lotus (Norwich, U.K.) is using technology from Dürr (Bietigheim-Bissingen, Germany) to modernize its body painting facility at its British headquarters in Hethel. Updates will include automation of exterior painting, updated Dürr paint supply systems and an efficient drying rack.

Dürr won the contract in 2019 due to their ability to produce less waste with a low environmental impact, according to the company.

Currently, all Lotus cars are manually painted. Their goal is to improve efficiency with automation while maintaining the quality of their current manual spraying process. To achieve this, four Dürr EcoRP E133 painting robots will be used to automate exterior painting. These robots have six axes and rails which enable flexibility, according to the company.

Once the composite body panels are coated with conductive primer, one pair of robots will apply the primer and clear coat in one mixed spray booth. A second pair of robots will apply the color coat in another booth. In addition to painting, the robots will also be able to open the body doors and hoods due to their modular design.

The EcoSupply P paint supplying systems are designed to increase efficiency at Lotus.

Lotus cars are built to order with Lotus Exclusive, with a range of color options, and individualizations like stripes and highlights, available on all model lines. To be able to provide such a variety of colors in low quantities, EcoSupply P paint supply systems will also be installed. These units are designed to pump the various paints to the painting booth hoses with very little paint waste. EcoSupply P is also designed to minimize cleaning material consumption and color change times.

Lotus will also use the EcoDry Rack, which is said to increase efficiency. The multi-stage overspray filter system is compact, with permanently installed filter walls. It is designed to offer all the advantages of dry separation. It does not require water or chemicals. Up to 95 percent of the supply air can be recycled as recirculated air using this technology, which is said to reduce energy consumption in the paint booth by more than 60 percent compared with a classic wet scrubbing system. Once the filters are saturated, they can be replaced during production breaks or on weekends.

The new Lotus body painting facility is scheduled to be commissioned in 2021.

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