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Successful feasibility test for automated paint application at ASCO

With headquarters in Brussels and production sites in Belgium, Germany, Canada and the United States, ASCO is the world leader for the design and production of lift mechanisms, complex mechanical assemblies and functional parts for the aviation industry.

ASCO is considering automating coating application based on the increasing demand for A320 flap tracks. The main reason for automation is achieving a uniform quality and coat thickness. ASCO wants to investigate the option of automation using robots. ASCO first wanted to test the feasibility of automation because there is currently no relevant automation expertise.

Spraying robot test campaign

The company approached Sirris for assistance because Sirris has an ABB industrial coating robot available at the Smart Coating Application Lab. This robot has 'teach by demonstration' software that ensures a fast programming of the robot. Sirris also has the required experience with spraying and the equipment required to assess, among others, the coat thickness.

After programming the robot, the Sirris experts carried out a test campaign to study the technical feasibility of the robotised coating process. They determined whether the quality of the applied coating was sufficient and reproducible, whether the coat thickness was in accordance with the requirements and whether it was possible to coat all corners and sides using the robot. The part installation method and the time required to coat a component were also studied closely.

The feasibility test was successful and ASCO decided to test the automatic application of coatings further, but this time with a larger robot in partnership with the robot manufacturer.