Industry 4.0 — Now what?

Teaching the old paint shop new tricks

  • All robots were able to take input from the chain drive on the actual speed and synchronize automatically. Although each drive had sensors for the actual speed available and even provided an available signal block for it, these were not connected to the robot controls and all equipment was set to manual speed control.
  • “Time under the gun”, meaning the actual time that the parts are being painted by the spray guns or bells, has significant impact on the quality and costs. When the time is too long, the amount of used paint is much higher than required and has possible negative impact on the quality. Is the time too short, not enough paint is applied to the parts. The spray gun and bell assemblies could be upgraded with the ability to measure the size of the part and calculate the optimal pressure/speed automatically where these were now run in manual mode, even the 2 assemblies which already had this capability. By setting the speed of the chain and spray equipment manually, the amount of paint used was much too high, especially for the smaller and lighter parts. Investigating further, we found that the controls even lacked data to set pressure and time based on speed and size, clearly indicating that these features had never been used.
  • The supplier of the chain provided an upgrade set to create 4 segments matching the 4 paint processes to upgrade the current single segment chain and was able to demonstrate that a segmented chain not only increased flexibility but also significantly reduced maintenance costs in combination with extended lifetime of the chain segments compared to a single chain.
  • Based on data provided by the supplier, we also established that additional maintenance costs of running the chain at maximum speed were slightly less than 15% of the costs of running the paint shop at below 50% of the capacity.

Taking it to the next level

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