The client, Chris King of AFK Garden Furniture, had investigated a number of solutions to his spraying issues, which revolved around requirement for higher volume production, reducing reliance on manual sprayers and improving finish quality and reducing paint usage. Chris was pretty sure that robotic spraying was the answer, and after visiting CMA in Italy, was so convinced that the company offered the complete solution he was looking for and the order was duly placed.
In the case of AFK Furniture, the products are programmed using a self-teach system which enables the operator to manually spray each type of product with the robot arm which then uploads the data required to the software, allowing the programmes to be stored. This self-teach process can be repeated to achieve the best possible results with regard to finish and programme time, and can be further enhanced by modifying programme speeds and functions.
The three station carousel robot operates close to an overhead conveyor that functions from the assembly area through to the painting area where products are unhooked, checked with a bar code scanner – which contains all of the programme data for that particular product – and then manually placed on the carousel arm which then rotates towards the spray and extraction area where it stops for the spraying to commence via the robot arm.
The product can be programmed to rotate during the painting cycle thus reducing spraying time by minimising the robot arm movements. Once sprayed there is automatically another work item waiting on the second carousel arm ready to move into position as arm one moves to the unload position. The third arm of the robot is loaded as the second arm moves into its waiting position, enabling almost constant production.
AFK uses a number of different colours, and in conjunction with the spray equipment supplier, the system has been built with a two gun spray head and the facility to spray a number of different colours, with a fast, automatic, colour-change unit.
The system also has a self clean programme to clean the system through and the robot can be programmed to go to a ‘gun clean’ position for making sure the nozzles of the spray guns are kept clean and free of debris.
The installation and training was completed over a two week period with the complete system fully up and running. Chris King says: “I have been so impressed with my experience with CMA from start to finish. Their software capability with the robots, and their experience as specialists in robot spraying technology, completely won me over. Knowing that MPS Ltd are providing UK support for CMA made our decision that much easier.
“The installation has been a very smooth operation and I have been particularly pleased with the quality of the training provided by the engineer, who could not have been more knowledgeable and helpful. I believe this installation will prove to be a massive benefit to my company going forwards and I already have plans for robot number two!”
Chris believes that other products from his range, that are not hung on the overhead conveyor, may be suited to CMA’s overhead 3D scanning system with a paper belt conveyor. This system allows panels to be loaded onto a conveyor, in any order, and the parts are then scanned from above and automatically programmed from the data gathered. This information is simultaneously fed to the in-line robot which performs the finishing operation.
CMA Robotics provide bespoke solutions for all sectors of the furniture, metal and plastics industries