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Dulux & Robotic Automation Win Endeavour Award for Robotic Compositing Ingredients of Powder-Coat Product

Published on 2011-05-27. Author : SpecialChem

THE DULUX Group and Robotic Automation have won the Technology Application of the Year category at the 2011 Manufacturers' Monthly Endeavour Awards for their Robotic Compositing, Handling & Stocking System.

Compositing the various powder ingredients of a customised powder-coat product was a labour-intensive process requiring DuluxGroup staff to handle and decant loose, heavy bags of powders, in different sizes weighing 20 to 25kg each.

The process results in a hazardous work environment saturated with fine powder dust that hangs in the air. This dust not only presented a respiratory danger to staff, but could also reach combustible intensities.

Staff were required to wear hot and uncomfortable respirators, bodysuits and other safety wear while at the same time working accurately with each powder ingredient to composite the correct coating product type in the exact colour/shade of paint specified by the customer.

The work was tiring, uncomfortable, hazardous and repetitive. This resulted in regular mistakes, workplace injuries, and varying product quality.

Due to the limitations and inefficiencies custom orders were subject to a minimise batch size to ensure profitability, impacting on the customers.

Dulux worked together with the engineering team at Robotic Automation to develop the Centralised Make-up Facility, which consisted of robotic loading systems for the major and minor materials, and a SCADA control system.

The process begins as the SAP system pushes the production schedule down to the database, from which the production managers can manipulate the batches to run. The recipes are pushed to the control system which checks the stock of each ingredient powder stored in either dispensing hoppers or as sacks on pallets and then outputs a loading plan to the robots.

These robots were enhanced with extra body and sealing protection to safely work in a combustible "Zone 21" hazardous environment.

Three Robotic Chefs (Motoman HP165-100 models) now set about their tasks to stock, handle, pour, mix or more to cook up a perfect powder-coating product to order. The robots move back and forth along two 20 metre long tracks to fetch ingredients, load the materials and mix them.

The robotic system has improved safety by redeploying 9 employees from a hazardous and uncomfortable work environment, eliminating OH&S incidents in the process.

Since the robots operating continuously without breaks, production has ramped up. Through-put has increased by approximately 20 percent, allowing DuluxGroup to accept smaller custom batch orders of less than 500kg while.

About Robotic Automation

Robotic Automation Systems offers over 15 years of experience as a leader and innovator integrating automation and robotics for the plastics industry. They work with you from concept to completion, providing a fully functional, state of the art, turnkey solution and the edge over your competition. Robotic Automation Systems will provide the robots, material handling automation and custom end of arm tooling (EOAT) that your project requires, along with the training and ongoing support you need.

Source: Robotic Automation


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