Robots provide car paint personalisation

| Manufacturing

ABB PixelPaint selected by Mahindra to deliver premium paint options

A range of electric vehicles will benefit from customised paint options with the use of robotic paint delivery

ABB’s PixelPaint technology has been selected by Mahindra & Mahindra (M&M), an Indian SUV manufacturer, for its new electric vehicle paint facility. The technology, which uses a paint head similar to an inkjet printer, will begin serial production in 2025.

“Our PixelPaint technology can apply large areas of uniform colour as well as the tiniest details with complete accuracy, without delaying the production line or the need for manual intervention,” said Joerg Reger, Managing Director of ABB Robotics Automotive Business Line. “By deploying PixelPaint-equipped robots in dedicated cells, Mahindra’s paint shop will be able to apply finishes such as contrasting roof and pillar treatments on its new line of EVs in a completely automated process.”

PixelPaint consists of a paint head with more than 1,000 tiny, individually controlled nozzles, mounted on an ABB robot such as the IRB 5500 paint series. Combined with ABB’s 3D vision system and coordinated by ABB’s RobotStudio planning and programming software, the head tracks very closely to the vehicle body to ensure that 100 percent of the paint is applied to the car with no overspray or airborne misting. This eliminates the need for labour-intensive masking and repeat trips through the paint shop, resulting in zero waste while ensuring faithful reproduction of precise details.

Demand for personalisation options has been growing in recent years, and PixelPaint is just one example of how ABB’s technologies are helping to establish Mahindra’s products within the luxury segments.

The deployment, which builds on ABB and Mahindra’s existing relationship, also includes 42 robots from the IRB 5500 family making M&M the first OEM in India to use PixelPaint technology for the painting of contrasting roofs and pillars.

Complex and time-consuming operations such as interior painting and sealing are performed entirely autonomously, with the accuracy of ABB’s systems ensuring that paint is applied precisely and only where needed, eliminating the need to manually mask off areas, saving time and materials. Similarly, ABB’s RB1000i digitally-enabled paint atomisers improve transfer efficiency by 10 percent and reduce waste by more than 30 percent, ensuring less paint is lost to the air.

Jonathan Newell
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