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Improving the efficiency of robots

Improving the efficiency of robots

SAMES is a company based in France that specializes in high precision electrostatic atomizers. SAMES develops and sells services and products for different finishing processes, including automatic paint sprayers for the automotive industry. SAMES was given the mandate by the car manufacturer Renault to integrate a robotic painting application to its pick-up truck production site in Romania.

The first phase of the process realized by SAMES at Renault was to automate the process of clear coat spraying on the trucks, using robots and their patented ACCUBELL® technology. This technology consists of moving a robot efficiently around the truck to spray the coating. In order to program the trajectory followed by the robots, the team at SAMES needed a 3D representation of 3 Renault pick-up truck on a 1:1 scale.

Very often, SAMES must use a few scanners to create IGES files of the cars or trucks. With those files, they can then create the path that is going to be used by the robots to spray the trucks.

Improving the efficiency of robotsWith respect to this project with the Renault trucks division, the team at SAMES needed the IGES files in the shortest possible time, so they sought the help of Creaform, the developer and manufacturer of the Handyscan 3D line of portable self-positioning laser scanners. Creaform has two teams of laser scans and 3D inspection specialists, one based in Canada and the other one in France. Two specialists of the French team went to the Renault plant in Romania, and succeeded at scanning three Renault pick-up trucks in three days.

The engineering team at SAMES chose to work with Creaform because the Handyscan 3D laser scanner was the perfect solution for their needs. It was very affordable for SAMES to have the specialists of Creaform come to Romania. The Handyscan 3D scanners are small portable units that fit into a case the size of a carry-on suitcase, and that can easily be carried on an airplane by the specialists themselves. Plus, there is not setup time required; as soon as the scanning specialists arrived at the plant in Romania, the unit was ready to be used.

The Handyscan 3D can scan parts of any size or shape. It was therefore possible to scan a full pick-up truck in just one scan. Unlike conventional reference systems and because positioning targets are actually applied onto the part, the reference system of the scan is directly attached to the part itself, meaning that there is no need to immobilize the part and that ground vibrations or other disturbances around the scanner will not affect measurement. To set the reference system, targets were affixed onto the truck following an irregular mesh pattern, and then surveyed with the 3D scanner and gathered into a unique reference system located on the truck. That way, the Handyscan 3D scanner could position itself automatically according to the targets.

The .stl files were created directly with the 3D scanner. Creaform also used Geomagic Qualify, a software developed to clean up the file transfer data in CATIA V5, to make a post treatment of the data.

Improving the efficiency of robotsImproving the efficiency of robots

Five days after the arrival of the scanning team in Romania, the data acquired were ready to be used by the engineering team at SAMES. As a matter of fact, the team used the data captured to program the best trajectory to be followed by the robots in order to implement the most efficient and productive clear coat spraying process possible.
Improving the efficiency of robots