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Electric vehicles from Sokon will be painted using highly flexible seven-axis robots

Dürr acting as general contractor for the construction of complete paint shop in Chongqing

Shanghai, August 20th, 2018 – Electric cars will be manufactured using state-of-the-art technology in the new electric vehicle plant of the Chongqing Sokon Industry Group, within the next weeks. It is the first time that the extremely mobile, seven-axis painting robot EcoRP E043i from Dürr's new generation of robots will be used in China. It can paint differently sized bodies of the fully electric SUVs flexibly and without the previously required displacement rail. The complete paint shop with Dürr as the general contractor also includes an Ecopure air purification system with heat recovery. The new plant will therefore also set standards when it comes to air pollution control.

Sokon is dynamically promoting the development of electric mobility with its new plant at the company’s site in Chongqing. The production technology itself is also pioneering. It will be the first time that a third-generation painting robot from Dürr will be used in a Chinese car factory. The EcoRP E043i has seven rotary axes, making it much more mobile than previous painting robots with six axes. The additional joint extends the robot’s working area. As a result, it reaches even hard-to-access areas with ease when painting the interiors of the bodies. Up to now, painting robots often moved on horizontal rails. The EcoRP E043i no longer needs these thanks to the high mobility of its 7-axis kinematics. This greatly reduces the investment and maintenance costs in the spray booth and also enables a better view of the booths.

In total, 60 Ecopaint Robots from the latest generation are being used in the primer, top coat, and clear coat lines for interior and exterior painting at Sokon. As well as the 36 EcoRP E043i painting robots, 16 SCARA door openers and the six-axis models as a hood opener are being sent to China. In addition, Dürr is supplying the robots and application technology for the sealing stations. The seam sealing and insulation materials will be applied to the bodies by 20 robots from the EcoRSi series.

Lower investment and maintenance costs

Dürr’s third generation of robots is modular in structure. This means that the EcoRP E/L033i and EcoRP E/L133i models with their 6-axis kinematics can be used both for painting and for opening the hoods. The modular concept has been applied throughout the 6-axis and 7-axis kinematics. The only difference between the variants is the additional axis of rotation in the main arm. The otherwise universally identical components simplify spare parts management, save storage costs, and make maintenance work easier. The control technology of the robots for applying paint and high-viscosity material is also universal. The modular design of the control cabinets enables the optimal configuration for the respective application process of a painting or sealing station at the customer.

With EcoScreen 3D-OnSite 4, a universal software package is available for programming, simulating, and optimizing Dürr’s painting and sealing robots. In addition, all relevant process data can be parameterized. The software supports the new generation of robot controllers and is compatible with the previous version. It can be connected online to multiple robot controllers directly via the network. As a result, changes to teach programs and process data can be transferred to the production process in the shortest possible time.

Fit for Industry 4.0

The new coating and sealing robots are prepared for the intelligent factory of the future. Sensors detect temperature, operating hours, and the degree of wear of the components, among other things. The also newly developed EcoRCMP2 process and motion controller transfers the information to the higher-level maintenance and control system. Thanks to this technology, the data from multiple spray booths or even complete paint shops can be combined and evaluated.

Further milestones towards the digitization of the plant are reached with the MES software for production control developed by Dürr. Monitoring, tracking, and individually configurable reporting are important elements in efficient process control and optimization. This solution is the basis for further advances in the area of Industry 4.0.

One-stop shop for a complete paint shop

The mechanical and plant engineering company Dürr is constructing the entire paint shop for Sokon and, as general contractor, is also responsible for the construction of the building and for three high-bay warehouses. These high-bay warehouses mean that various surface storage is not needed. This simplifies the building structure, saves space, and enables intelligent material flow control, making it a key part of Dürr’s Eco+Layout. Among other things, the technical scope of services includes the RoDip® rotational dip process in pre-treatment and electrocoating, all robots and applications for the sealing and painting processes, and the EcoDryScrubber dry separation system. This binds the paint overspray in a process involving no water or chemicals, and can therefore be operated with up to 90% recirculated air. The result is an energy saving of up to 60% in the spray booth.

Energy-efficient exhaust air purification

When it comes to emission protection, Sokon will comprehensively meet all legal requirements and also realize maximum energy efficiency. The large volume of solvent emissions from the application zones will be purified by a combination of the adsorptive process of the Ecopure® KPR VOC concentration system and the Ecopure® RTO regenerative thermal oxidation system. The gaseous pollutants in the exhaust air from the booth first undergo adsorptive concentration before being disposed of in the downstream oxidation system with minimal energy consumption.

The latest generation of the Ecopure® TAR recuperative thermal air purification system is used to purify the hot exhaust air flows from the various paint drying processes. This process purifies the exhaust air and at the same time makes all the heat available for heating the oven.

Dürr is constructing the entire paint shop for Sokon as general contractor.

EcoDryScrubber: Dry paint separation without using water and chemicals

The seam sealing and insulation materials will be applied to the bodies by 20 robots from the EcoRSi series.