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-colour 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 and 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 customised products, PixelPaint is a game changer and allows any design to be replicated in a manner that is both sustainable and affordable.”
ABB’s PixelPaint technology reimagines the paint application process and reflects the growing demand for sustainable personalisation in the automotive industry, particularly in exterior paint. Multi-coloured 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, colourful, 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 specialised and personalised 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 personalisation 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.