November 17, 2021 | Bill Esler
Charlotte, NC—Cefla North America installed an advanced cartesian robotic spray machine in its finishing laboratory in Charlotte, NC.
“Cartesian” refers to its ability to guide the spray arms on X, Y, and Z axes. This quality makes the iBotic robot the most advanced finishing technology in Cefla’s lab. It is also its largest.
In engineering the iBotic, Cefla enhanced the efficiency of its color changeover, which on spraying robots has always incurred downtime, roughly 30 three-minute stoppages per shift being typical, Cefla says. This adds up to one and a half hours of production lost each shift. Cefla’s system lets iBotic continue coating with one set of guns while the second arm undergoes automatic color changeover. Over a month the additional uptime can reach 30 hours.
Cefla says iBotic was installed to broaden capabilities for customer testing, and expand its lineup of first-in-class surface enhancement equipment. In the past two years, cabinetry, flooring, and furniture manufacturers are running operations at maximum capacity to meet rising demand, they are unable to take production lines off-line for testing new finishes. As a result, a number of finishing systems manufacturers recently added or expanded customer testing facilities, including Cefla, which opened the facility in 2020.
Cefla hosted a number of North American companies to a focused event highlighting its adhesive glue spray capabilities, for which the iBotic is suited. It is a cartesian spraying robot with a choice of one or two spraying arms to facilitate high production volumes and an ultra-high quality finish. Its dedicated edge gun ensures accurate and thorough spray coverage onto the sides of flat, 3D, and other parts with complex trajectories.
Also capable of spraying paint or adhesive glue onto a variety of substrates—including wood, wood derivatives, metal, ceramics, glass, fiberglass and plastic—the iBotic applications include raised and flat panels, 3D parts, flat and raised doors, indoor and outdoor furniture, and home furnishings, as well as aerospace components, automotive components, metal sheets, and concrete slabs.
With two arms working, the iBotic can focus one gun arm on edges, while the other reciprocates for thorough and precise surface coverage. The iBotic scans workpieces of varying shape and thickness with the conveyor either stationary or in motion, then sprays. It is available in working lengths of 3,000 to 5,500 millimeters (118 inches to 216 inches), depending on gun and spray arm configuration as well as application choice.
Other notable features include improved hardware control that reduces energy consumption, improved HMI graphics, simultaneous function control on the same arm for quicker adjustments, automatic adjustment system for exhaust fan with less need for operator intervention, and an option for internal camera for monitoring purposes or remote servicing/troubleshooting by Cefla technicians.
Listed among finishing exhibitors scheduled for IWF 2022, Cefla North America houses a large laboratory dedicated to finishing professionals. Second in size only to the lab at its global headquarters in Imola, Italy, the North American center is Cefla’s largest investment outside Italy. The lab also serves as a center for research on the latest trends, techniques, and technologies available to the finishing industry. Cefla North America in particular is a center for vacuum technology and manufactures a line of vacuum coating finishing systems in its Charlotte-based finishing factory.
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