Paint finishing involves the final steps to achieve the desired aesthetic or protective qualities of a painted surface. Optimized paint application is necessary for various automotive, aerospace, furniture, or appliance manufacturing products, ensuring desired quality and performance.
The paint finishing system you choose will depend on circumstantial factors such as the available space and the complexity of the process. Regardless, time and cost efficiency are important considerations to boost the bottom line and streamline production — and that’s where robotics integrations come in.
At Richards-Wilcox Conveyor, we believe that machines and robotics work best together. That’s why we offer the latest robotics and finishing systems advancements, ensuring precision, efficiency, and safety. To help you get started, we’ve compiled this guide covering Industry 4.0, the paint and finishing industry history, and how our engineering expertise can transform your paint-finishing process.
Discover Industry 4.0
Technology is rapidly evolving, offering benefits for the manufacturing and processing industries. From improving efficiency and precision to streamlining processes through automation, technology offers the potential to increase productivity and quality while reducing costs and time-to-market.
However, technological capabilities and robotic solutions must be paired with a machine that complements the development.
Industry 4.0 represents the fourth industrial revolution and the integration of advanced technologies into manufacturing processes, contributing to the development of smart factories. Technologies such as automation, artificial intelligence, data analytics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) work harmoniously with machines to achieve production goals with efficiency and precision.
At Richard-Wilcox Conveyor, we build conveyor systems that have adapted to robotic advancements, maximizing the results of your operation. Robotic integration is at the heart of our smart conveyors, which optimize workflows, minimize downtime, and help businesses adapt to shifting demands.
Paint and Finishing Industry History – Changes and Safety Concerns
The paint and finishing industry has experienced significant evolution over the years. Leaders have embraced advanced technologies as they emerge and reap the benefits. Each change contributes to improving product quality, environmental sustainability, and efficiency of processes, ultimately leading to streamlined robotic finishing systems.
The Issue of Using Liquid Paint
Before the 1990s, liquid paint was the go-to option for the finishing industry. The safety risks and environmental concerns were largely unexplored (or ignored). For example, approximately 75% of liquid paint waste went into landfills in 1996, contributing to environmental damage. This figure had decreased dramatically to 8% in 2013, but other issues should be considered.
Gradually, the widespread use of liquid paint raised concerns over safety and emissions. For example, solvent-based liquid paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which are a health risk to workers and contribute to air pollution.
The Switch to Powder Paint
Environmental concerns and regulatory requirements drove the paint finishing industry to swap liquid paint for powder paint. Powder paint offers significant benefits over liquid paint, including the following:
- Improved environmental friendliness as powder paint does not contain VOCs
- Reduced waste as powder paint does not require solvents or carriers
- Better durability and performance, such as corrosion resistance and color retention properties
- Cost-effective due to reduced waste, faster application, and lower energy consumption
- Versatility of use as powder paint can be applied to a range of surfaces such as wood, plastic, and metal
Even with these benefits, powder paint is simply a steppingstone for the finishing industry. As auto manufacturers started phasing out metal parts, they switched from liquid paints to powder paints and then returned to a new, safer variety of finishes suitable for non-metal components. The migration ensures compliance with evolving regulations while meeting market needs.
Leveraging the Robotic Era
Conveyors have been essential in the finishing industry for decades, but robotics is a modern phenomenon. Implementing robotics alongside paint conveyors has revolutionized safety and sustainability capabilities.
For example, tasks previously performed manually in hazardous environments can be automated, reducing the risk of workers being exposed to harmful chemicals. It also ensures consistent quality throughout the process.
Robots control the application of powder paint with precision, reducing the amount of waste while optimizing the amount of paint applied to the substrate. When robots and conveyors work together, manufacturers achieve higher levels of safety and operate with maximum sustainability.
Richard-Wilcox Blazes the Trail
At Richard-Wilcox Conveyor, we have our finger on the pulse of robotic integration, understanding how systems are revolutionized with the help of robotics. These developments have optimized production workflows and enhanced overall productivity. As a team of experts, we have embraced the opportunities presented by conveyors working with computers.
Richard-Wilcox Conveyor engineers systems with robotic integration capabilities in the front of mind. We are driven by the understanding that the most advanced robotic systems are better and safer when paired with conveyors that embrace technological capabilities.
By prioritizing robotic integration, we offer the following benefits for paint finishing across sectors:
- Automate tasks such as painting, coating, and inspection for consistent quality and precision
- Reduce the risk of workers being exposed to hazardous environments by handing over select manual tasks to machines
- Achieve higher levels of efficiency and sustainability as robots control the application of coatings
- Adapt to changing production demands as robots use advanced sensors and conveyor control systems
- Enhance operational flexibility and responsiveness
Our dedicated team specializes in designing customized robotic integration solutions that are tailored to the specific needs of each client. We collaborate closely with manufacturers to assess their requirements and develop innovative solutions.
For example, our Monocart and Power and Free Conveyor systems pair seamlessly with manufacturing execution systems and robotic interfaces. These conveyors streamline a range of processes from picking, packing, and, of course, painting.
Partner with Richards-Wilcox Conveyor
Unlock the power of robotics and the potential of Industry 4.0 by teaming up with Richard-Wilcox Conveyor. We have observed the benefits of robotics and continue to work alongside technology, melding them with our conveyor designs to ensure safe and efficient processes.
With conveyors and computers working as a single unit, we offer robotic overhead conveyor systems, paint line inverted monorail conveyors, and other conveyor applications designed to meet your needs.
Contact a Richard-Wilcox Conveyor representative today to learn more about our paint-finishing systems.