In just four weeks
November 2013 – In the exterior painting area, a roof and side machine were dismantled, among other things. After the steelwork had been completed, Dürr installed four new painting robots here.Before the modification work started in the interior painting zone, several polishing stations had to be moved by 20 meters to create more space. A 'skywalk' – a walk-on platform running across the car bodies – was installed in the booth, allowing processes to be monitored.
Previously, five manual stations were required to paint the interior of the car bodies. Now these processes are automatic, thanks to six painting robots, four door openers, and one hood opener. They move on 20-meter long rails located on either side.
The ten painting robots required lines for 24 colors. All of the robots' movements had to be programmed for two types of car body: the three-door and five-door Fiesta. The system also has a degrade mode: if one of the robots fails, the others can take over its tasks. The programs from another painting line in Cologne, which Dürr modified two years ago, were partly used for this purpose. However, a new hood tool had to be incorporated as hoods, too, are now opened and painted automatically at the Ford factory.
In further stages of the construction work, a new compressed air booster was integrated into an existing system, and a compressed air supply was connected to the new robots. This was preceded by extensive dismantling and steelwork jobs, for example taking down 28 meters of booth wall on both sides, and lifting the filter ceiling in the interior painting area.
Careful planning, numerous coordination meetings, and excellent cooperation with the customer ensured that the project remained on schedule. Aspects such as fire protection, for which Ford was responsible, also had to be taken into account. The pre-commissioning phase at Dürr's headquarters in Bietigheim-Bissingen for both painting zones lasted just three weeks.
Ford started its production in three shifts straight away, initially supported by Dürr's technical experts. Around 1,650 car bodies are painted here every day. The carmaker was so pleased with the new system that final acceptance took place a mere four weeks after SOP.