WB Coatings Adds a Dürr Robot in its Laboratories to Develop Special Coatings

Date: 23/03/2020
Categories: Success stories

To support the development of new special paints, WB Coatings has integrated in its R&D laboratory a new compact painting robot from Dürr. The robot allows to fully reproducing coating layer thicknesses in the µ range, supporting the development of special coatings, such as chrome-effect paint systems.

WB Coatings is the first paint manufacturer to use the "ready2spray" robot by Dürr in the development and optimization of its new products. The company, which has invented the hammertone paint, and also many other special coatings, has recently developed a chrome-effect paint that can be used on components made of plastics for different industrial sectors, such as the automotive interiors one, where it is applied on window lift switches or decorative trims on the steering wheel

To develop this new product, WB Coatings installed the compact six-axis robot EcoRP 10 R1100 with state-of-the-art application technology including mixing and dosing technology for two-component paints (2C), paint supply systems, and controller. "A major benefit for us is the in-house tests that we can now conduct in our technical center with various base coats to test recipes. The robot lets us model automated industrial production and develop new paint systems that can make production more profitable for our customers involved in series production," says Sebastian Grahammer, Head of Development in WB Coatings' innovation center.

Industrial series production modeled in the lab

The robot system's automated spray program ensures maximum reproducibility and starts with dosing the components in the exact same ratio every time, decreasing the risk of inaccuracies that could arise with manual coating. Moreover, the automated spray system allows identical coating layer thicknesses, ensuring the quality of the coating work.

The chrome-effect is achieved using paint systems consisting of one, two or three coating layers. "Without using a robot, we would not have been able to develop these new paint systems as a chrome-free alternative for shiny, silver-colored surfaces. The challenge is to apply the coating layers of the chrome-effect paint very evenly. And the three-layer paint system in particular needs very thin, reproducible coating layers of 2 to 3 µm. This is something even highly experienced hand painters can't achieve," explains Andreas Ohletz, Head of Sales for Innovations at WB Coatings.

Coating complex 3D geometries

Usually, only sample panels and speed shapes are painted in the paint manufacturers' labs Nevertheless, with the aim of flexibly meeting customers' needs in the future, WB Coatings opted for a six-axis robot. "The robot lets us paint 3D objects with complex geometries. With a 2D spray system, we would have limited ourselves in what we could develop", explains Sebastian Grahammer.

Ready to spray in no time

Dürr robot system was delivered already assembled and ready to be used, and its set up only took one day and a half. Its compact dimensions enabled it to be integrated into the existing painting booth, which can still be used for manual coating, in front of the same extraction wall, whenever the robot is in the parked position.

"The painting robot is part of our ready2integrate concept. The concept centers on technologically sophisticated and tested application solutions that are easy to integrate into individually designed plants. Dürr collaborates with selected system partners here, since they enjoy extremely close proximity to their customers, are familiar with their requirements, and can act with an extremely high level of flexibility," explains Holger Beiersdorfer, Vice President Industrial Products at Dürr.

Where to find Dürr technologies

Dürr will be showcasing its ready2spray technologies for automated painting at PaintExpo (stand 3320, hall 3), from October 12-15 in Karlsruhe, Germany. The painting robot EcoRP 10 R1100 will be presented at the booths of Dürr's partners Eurotherm (hall 2, booth 2539), L&S Oberflächentechnik (hall 1, booth 1238) and SIDASA Engineering (hall 1, booth 2540).