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ABB Robotics unveils world’s first robot-painted art car

POSTED 05/10/2022

  • creation and digital design company Illusorr’s geometric concept
  • Paint-head technology delivers unprecedented precision and flexibility, reducing complexity while providing a more sustainable, efficient way to paint
  • Advanced robotic technology meets demand for sustainability and personalization in the automotive industry

ABB Robotics has collaborated with two world-renowned artists, eight year old Indian child prodigy Advait Kolarkar and Dubai-based digital design collective Illusorr, to create the world’s first robot-painted art car. ABB’s award-winning PixelPaint technology has, without human intervention, perfectly recreated Advait’s swirling, monochromatic design as well as Illusorr’s tri-color geometrical patterns.

Equipped with 1,000 nozzles in the printer head, ABB’s IRB 5500 paint robots were able to complete the highly complex artworks in less than 30 minutes. The PixelPaint technology demonstrates unprecedented precision and speed, capturing intricate, elaborate detail that would be impossible to achieve by hand. A film highlighting this world-first achievement can be seen here.

Sami Atiya, President of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation business area, commented: “ABB’s PixelPaint technology is more than an evolution – it is a revolution. It’s a shining example of how robotic automation and our RobotStudio® software can not only pave the way for more sustainable manufacturing but can also perfectly replicate delicate pieces of art that celebrate the originality and beauty of the human spirit. At a time when consumers want more customized products, PixelPaint is a game changer and allows any design to be replicated in a manner that is both sustainable and affordable.”

ABB’s ground-breaking PixelPaint technology reimagines the paint application process and reflects the growing demand for sustainable personalization in the automotive industry, particularly in exterior paint. Multi-colored car painting has traditionally been a laborious and costly process involving multiple stages of masking and unmasking, but ABB’s technology allows for a detailed, colorful, and exact replication of any design.

Carefully controlled, the paint can be quickly applied in a single application. This breakthrough in the automation of the paint process opens the door to specialized and personalized designs to the automotive market.

Influential automotive designer, Ian Callum, responsible for the design of the Aston Martin Vanquish and more recently the ground-breaking Jaguar I-Pace said: “There’s something very special about a car. People get emotionally attached to them and the importance of personalization is becoming stronger and stronger. In fact, I’m working with customers who actually want the whole car designed in a bespoke way. So this paint offering – with all sorts of new levels of individual design for a motor car – is incredible.”

PixelPaint technology also enhances manufacturing sustainability, removing the need for masking materials and extra ventilation, which lowers emissions while saving water and energy. Coordinated by the firm’s RobotStudio software, the paint head tracks very closely to the vehicle body to ensure 100 percent of the paint is applied to the car with no airborne misting. Different paint colors are applied quickly, with the product only running through the paint shop once. For car manufacturers, this can halve the production time and reduce costs by up to 60 percent.

To create the art car, ABB refurbished a Volkswagen SUV that was damaged in the catastrophic floods in Germany in the summer of 2021. Its recycling confirms ABB’s commitment to sustainability wherever possible.

ABB supports a transformation of automotive manufacturing

ABB is at the forefront of the development of smart manufacturing principles and technology to support the global automotive industry, as it undergoes one of the most significant periods of transformation in recent history. The transition will lead to the utilization of more robots in combination with other technologies, including Autonomous Mobile Robots (AMRs). This will enable ABB’s automotive customers to optimize the delivery of components across their facilities and connect integrated, scalable, modular production cells, such as PixelPaint, ensuring the necessary flexibility to meet varying levels of demand.

Sami Atiya added: “We are in the midst of a significant decade in the history of the automotive industry and the start of a new era. Automakers need to consider new ways of working towards the transition to electric vehicles. We are working to support the industry in this transition and I’m confident that with flexible automation, sustainable transportation will fast become reality.”

About the artists

 

Advait Kolarkar

Only eight years old, Advait Kolarkar’s artwork is internationally acclaimed and is kaleidoscopic and abstract in nature. He employs different shapes, intricate designs and bold splatters of intertwining lines. Advait has an exhibition of his collected works in London’s Gagliardi Gallery between 12th and 22nd May 2022.

Illusorr

Illusorr are a global digital design collective based in Dubai. The team of creatives are from the avant-garde sector of architecture and design. Their digital designs are inspired by a mixture of nature and science fiction.

About Ian Callum

Ian Callum (CBE) is a British car designer who has worked for Ford, TWR, Aston Martin and Jaguar Land Rover. For 20 years he was the Director of Design for Jaguar Land Rover, where he designed the X-Type, XJ, S-Type, F-Pace and I-Pace, among many others. In 2006, he was honored with a Royal Designer for Industry (RDI) award from the Royal Society of Arts. Callum was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2019 Birthday Honours for services to the British car industry.

In 2019, Ian Callum founded his own eponymously named automotive and product design company, CALLUM.

Ian Callum LinkedIn