Y-Blog / Robotic Painting and Coating: Key Questions Yaskawa Experts are Asked
Robotic Painting and Coating: Key Questions Yaskawa Experts are Asked

Robotic Painting and Coating: Key Questions Yaskawa Experts are Asked

Posted: 12/9/2021 4:06:34 PM by Sarah Mellish
Topics: Painting, Tips and Tools

Evolving consumer preferences continue to drive escalating demand for highly durable products with improved aesthetics. As a result, the use of optimized industrial coatings is seeing an uptick, enhancing product performance and accommodating environmental standards. From electronics, aerospace and marine, to mining, automotive and others, a number of markets are seeing the value of high-performance paint and coating options.

The largest product segment in 2019, the use of acrylic is still highly attractive, providing characteristics like abrasion resistance, fire resistance, gloss retention, weathering resistance, vapor permeability and UV light resistence1. Along with this popularity, comes a wider user group – many of which are choosing to implement robotic automation for the application of industrial coatings. However, when it comes to the robotic spray application process, all robots are not created equal.

Telltale Signs A Robot is Painting or Coating Ready
There are stringent guidelines for safely using robots in spray applications (aka: potentially flammable environments). When it comes to what manufacturers can and cannot do with robots in these situations, our experts are here to help.

According to Anthony Steward, Sr. Application Engineer at Yaskawa Motoman, the most popular question asked is, “How do I know if a robot is appropriate for painting or coating?”  Paramount to application success and operational safety, answering this question with the utmost accuracy is extremely important. To gain clarity, manufacturers must take a multifaceted approach and consider the following factors:

NFPA 70® – the robot being used must employ some technology listed in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for compliance.

Compliance Certification – there should be some form of certification or listing that states the robot complies to NFPA 70.

Visible identification – to determine if a robot is a paint robot over a standard industrial robot, there are several things that you can collectively look for:

  • Does not have exposed servo motors – while this is not always the sole indicator of a true paint robot, it is a step in narrowing down the robot’s capability.

  • Does not have external cable harnessing – all cable harnessing should be run internally for application safety and long-term robot performance.

  • Does not have any quick-disconnect (QD), electrical connectors – while these typically help reduce installation time and maintenance costs for robots, they are avoided on paint robots for application safety.

  • Does not get hot after running – another requirement of NFPA standards, the surface temperature of the robot cannot get too hot. This helps to prevent ignition energy.

  • Has an approval tag – this is the best indicator for proving a robot’s painting or coating capability.

Please note: these guidelines (based on U.S. regulations) can provide a good foundation of knowledge, but it is imperative to follow the safety standards for your specific country and community. While highly experienced, Yaskawa experts do not represent NFPA, FM Global or any fire authority.

Other Key Questions Manufacturers Ask
As with any robot installation, there are many factors to consider. For this reason, working with a knowledgeable robot OEM or integrator is advised. Other questions Yaskawa experts are often asked include:

  • How do I know what qualifies as an electrically classified area in a paint booth layout?

  • What if my paint isn’t flammable – do I still need a paint robot?

  • How do I choose the correct peripheral equipment (i.e., safety switches) for painting and coating?

  • Can an older handling robot be repurposed for a spray application process?

  • Can I buy a refurbished robot for painting and coating?

  • How are paint robots sized – is it as simple as reach?

  • What is the difference between explosion proof and intrinsically safe?

  • Can I use a pressurized suit for a non-paint robot?

  • What if I am wiping parts with isopropyl alcohol – what classification would this be?

To get candid answers to these questions and see visual examples of paint booth layouts with the appropriate code enforcement, watch our webinar on Safely Using Robots in Flammable Environments, featuring Yaskawa experts, Anthony Steward and Peter Goike.

Collaborative Robots Market Size, Share & Covid-19 Impact Analysis, Fortune Business Insights, 2020

Sarah Mellish is a Marketing Content Specialist

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