British sports car manufacturer Lotus is automating its body painting facility with Dürr EcoRP E133 painting robots.
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. – June 24, 2020 – Sports car manufacturer Lotus is automating its body painting facility at its British headquarters in Hethel. Lotus contracted Dürr to install an automated paint shop boasting a number of extremely efficient processes.
Dürr beat worldwide competition during the awarding process thanks to its efficient technologies which produce less waste with a low environmental impact. The modernization includes an automated application line with special paint supply and conveyor systems. The contract was awarded in 2019.
Currently all Lotus cars are being painted manually, but for the future, Lotus will be embracing automation for the exterior painting with four Dürr EcoRP E133 painting robots. With six axes and rail, these robots are flexible enough for a number of applications. When designing of the new paint shop, the priority for Lotus was elevating process efficiency while maintaining the high quality of the current manual spraying process.
With the composite body panels coated with conductive primer, one pair of robots applies the primer and clear coat in one mixed spraybooth while a second pair of robots applies the color coat in another booth. The robots not only paint, but can also open the body doors and hoods thanks to their modular design.
Economical and fast: special paint supply using pigging system
The high efficiency and high quality is not only achieved through the use of robots, but also through technologies with low material consumption.
All Lotus cars are built to order with Lotus Exclusive. This allows customers to make their Lotus unique. Each vehicle is finished according to the customer’s individual requirements, including a choice of an almost infinite number of colors limitless on all of its model lines. Individualization including stripes and highlights are painted manually.
To be able to provide such a variety of colors in low quantities, EcoSupply P special paint supply systems will be installed. These units will pump the various paints to the painting booth hoses – with almost zero losses reducing paint waste. EcoSupply P also minimizes cleaning material consumption and color change times compared with conventional ring line systems.
Sixty percent less energy
EcoDry Rack also helps to increase efficiency. The multi-stage overspray filter system, which is extremely compact thanks to its permanently installed filter walls, offers all the advantages of dry separation. It needs neither water nor chemicals, which keeps running costs low and has minimal impact on the environment. Up to 95 percent of the supply air can be recycled as recirculated air using this technology. This reduces energy consumption in the paint booth by more than 60 percent compared with a classic wet scrubbing system and has a positive effect on the CO2 emissions. EcoDry Rack is easy to use and service. Once the filters are saturated, they can be replaced during production breaks or on weekends.
The new Lotus body painting facility is scheduled to be commissioned in 2021.
The Dürr Group has been established in the United States since 1970 and currently employs around 880 people. From the new Campus with a state-of-art validation, testing, and training center in Southfield, MI, Dürr USA represents four of the five divisions. Paint and Final Assembly Systems offers equipment for painting and assembly processes, while Application Technology provides paint, sealants and adhesives application systems. Dürr’s Clean Technology Systems is the global leader in air pollution abatement and energy efficient technologies. The subsidiary Schenck Trebel Corporation, based in Deer Park, New York, offers balancing machines, vibration and condition monitoring systems and services for the general industry. The customers of Dürr USA include automotive and commercial vehicle manufacturers as well as their suppliers, and a diverse group of other industries. The HOMAG Machinery North America operates the production facilities for the HOMAG Group in Grand Rapids, MI, which is also the base for sales and service company Stiles Machinery Inc. The HOMAG Group is the world’s leading manufacturer of machines and systems for the wood-processing industry and trades.
The Dürr Group is one of the world’s leading mechanical and plant engineering firms with extensive expertise in automation and digitalization/Industry 4.0. Its products, systems and services enable highly efficient manufacturing processes in different industries. The Dürr Group supplies sectors like the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, chemical, pharmaceutical and woodworking industries. It generated sales of € 3.92 billion in 2019. The company has around 16,500 employees and 112 business locations in 34 countries. The Group operates in the market with the brands Dürr, Schenck and HOMAG and with five divisions:
- Paint and Final Assembly Systems: paint shops as well as final assembly, testing and filling technology for the automotive industry
- Application Technology: robot technologies for the automated application of paint, sealants and adhesives
- Clean Technology Systems: air pollution control, noise abatement systems and coating systems for battery electrodes
- Measuring and Process Systems: balancing equipment and diagnostic technology
- Woodworking Machinery and Systems: machinery and equipment for the woodworking industry