Automotive Engineering - April 2021 - 11

TECHNOLOGY REPORT

MANUFACTURING

ABB

Inkjet ingenuity for the automotive paint shop 
Robotics' specialist ABB has developed
painting robots that use an inkjet-type
printer head with over 1,000 individually
controllable nozzles, enabling higher accuracy and transfer efficiency in the automotive paint shop, the company claims.
The new robots have been designed to
meet end-customer demand for vehicle
individuality, particularly in the SUV segment. Typically, special OEM finishes demand extensive masking and repeated
paint applications, adding significant time
and cost during manufacture. 
 Transfer efficiency refers to the ratio
of sprayed coating that adheres to the
substrate versus the overspray that
ends up as wasted material.  " Removing
overspray from a factory paint process
may not sound that impressive - until
you appreciate how many benefits are
created as a result, " said Joerg Reger,
managing director of ABB Robotics

Complex paint
schemes can be
applied by ABB's new
system using one or
two robots without
the necessity for
masking.

Automotive OEM. " By eliminating the
creation of overspray, we can dispense
with masking between different colors,
we reduce paint wastage to zero, and
all that with greatly reduced operating
costs. The flexibility of programming
means the nozzles can also produce
complex graphics in a single pass. "  
 Called PixelPaint, the system avoids

paint flow, but instead uses the multiple
nozzles to apply individual droplets of
paint to a surface, much like digital pixels. Variable droplet control, combined
with a novel inkjet design incorporating
1,000 nozzles within a 100-mm (4-in.)
spread, facilitates faster and more accurate high-resolution printing of twotone and customized designs directly

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April 2021 11


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Automotive Engineering - April 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Automotive Engineering - April 2021

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