ABB PixelPaint Optimizes Automotive Painting Efficiency

Appears in Print as: 'Robots Improve Automotive Painting Efficiency'

ABB Robotics’ PixelPaint cuts custom automotive painting job times in half and eliminates overspray.


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ABB Robotics' PixelPaint
All photos credit ABB Robotics

Global technology company ABB Robotics (Cary, N.C.) has released PixelPaint, a non-overspray technology designed to increase automotive painting speed and improve painting sustainability. Instead of using a traditional spray, PixelPaint uses an inkjet head that eliminates overspray and applies two-tone paint and individual designs in one pass without masking or demasking. According to the company, it reduces downtime, improves productivity and allows for more customized paint scheme options.

Millennials’ desire for greater individualization has increased the need for customized vehicle paint schemes using a second color, different paint finish or special design. Customized designs have historically been a labor-intensive process requiring multiple trips through the painting line and wasting between 20 and 30% of the applied paint to overspray. Masking the bodywork required around 10 to 20 operators per shift, with two operators also needed to de-mask it after the second color had been applied. 

ABB’s PixelPaint was designed to reduce some of the labor, waste and cost associated with customized paint jobs. The solution incorporates a high-painting inkjet head, dosing control package and RobotStudio programming software for two-tone and decorative painting applications.


“In today’s fiercely competitive automotive manufacturing market, vehicle producers need solutions that can help them to improve their flexibility, efficiency and cost competitiveness while delivering a high quality paint finish, including individualized options to meet the growing demand for non-standard and customized designs,” said Michael Larsson, managing director automotive OEM for ABB Robotics. “With PixelPaint, 100 percent of the paint is applied to the bodywork surface, so there’s no overspray. Not only does this reduce operating costs and improve environmental performance by ensuring that no paint is lost, PixelPaint also eliminates the process of masking and de-masking each car, helping to reduce bottlenecks in automotive paint shops.”

Pixelpaint is available as a cell using two ABB IRB 5500 robots.  The technology prints paint directly onto a target area using the printing nozzle head instead of spraying with a conventional atomizer, resulting in 100% transfer efficiency. This approach allows shop owners to carry out customized paint jobs in a single pass, significantly reducing cycle times. It also enables painters to paint complicated images with high resolution.

PixelPaint also won a Technology award at the SURCAR annual conference in Cannes in June 2019. 

In addition to robots and application-specific equipment, ABB offers standardized production cells for the automotive industry, as well as the design, planning and implementation of complete production lines.

ABB Robotics & Discrete Automation|800-435-7365|www.abb.com/robotics                   

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