Dürr's AI Software Assists Robot-Equipped Paint Shops

In a paint shop equipped with state-of-the-art robots, artificial intelligence (AI) has paved the way for functions, like identifying defect sources, determining the optimal maintenance schedule, and improving manufacturing processes. However, Dürr Systems AG is significantly expanding the scope of its AI applications using an analysis software from the DXQ family for sealing. In addition, a unique interface solution incorporates robots from existing paint shops for the first time.

Advanced Analytics from Dürr’s DXQ software family is the first market-ready AI application for paint shops.

Getting the Right Connectivity

Factories in the automotive industry have enormous amounts of latent data about manufacturing processes, raw materials and products. Connectivity is the key to leveraging this asset. This means having the right interface at the control level to get to the information provided by robots, ovens, cathodic electrocoating systems or conveyor technology.

To increase application quality and plant availability using modern IT technologies, various activities need to be accomplished. They involve recording relevant machine data, such as axis positions and temperatures or events like alarms. It also needs the time stamp oat the start and end of programs in real-time, and uploading them to a database.

“Without this basic prerequisite, software from our DXQ family cannot determine the current state of plant components. The goal is then to combine this with historical data and machine learning to detect previously unknown defect sources or to precisely plan maintenance intervals,” explains Jens Häcker, Vice President Control Systems at Dürr.

Connectivity for Existing Plants

Although the demand for digital applications is high, operators in existing plants are constrained because most of their systems do not have connectivity. Also, the right interface for data acquisition is found only in the later generation of Dürr robots. Earlier robot models from other manufacturers and technologies outside of paint application could not be connected; but Dürr found a way to bring connectivity to almost all common robots and disciplines.

Detailed Information From All Process Steps

The solution is an adapter made up of hardware and software components that can connect to all current fieldbus technologies. The adapter provides data in the necessary high temporal resolution of a few milliseconds. Dürr offers the adapter in cooperation with Techno-Step, a specialist in systems for process data analytics and diagnostics and has been part of the Dürr Group since 2020.

“Operators are thus able to read the available sensor and actuator data from their existing plants. They integrate the entire spectrum of disciplines, from pretreatment to application to conveyor technology, into one piece of analytical software. With DXQ equipment analytics, they get detailed insight into the various process steps and all the systems involved in them along the entire value chain,” says Häcker.

Expertise in Mechanical Engineering and IT

The DXQ equipment analytics software package includes the Advanced Analytics module. It is the first market-ready solution to date to use AI to increase overall equipment effectiveness in the paint shop. Dürr has expanded this module for sealing by adapting AI models that analyze the robot and process data for this discipline’s specific requirements.

Using AI, Advanced Analytics detects defect sources at an early stage during the application of paint and high-viscosity materials.

To meet this challenge, Dürr utilized its comprehensive expertise in production technology and manufacturing processes in the automotive industry and a high level of digital knowledge. This combined expertise will make it possible to use AI in the future to precisely detect defect sources at an early stage when applying high-viscosity materials and to determine optimal maintenance schedules. One example is the detection of nozzle clogs. The sealing material partially clogs the application nozzle, changing the material jet and leading to quality defects that require rework to fix. Unlike conventional control technology, the DXQ software detects this defect and enables earlier intervention.