An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988

Technology Reflecting Real-World Experience

An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988

Teaching Robots the Skills of Operators

Concurrent with the development of coating robots, a joint development team comprising members of EG development and Suzuka's skilled coating-line operators began a new task. Their objective was to transplant operator techniques to the robots in time for the start of operations on the third line. On the actual line, tracking of the coating process was begun along with the preparation of the overall system.

The angle at which material is sprayed from the gun head is critical to the coating process, as is the gun head speed of movement. Moreover, a distance must be constantly maintained between the gun head and body surface. Through years of experience, the operators learn to control the gun head using their bodies and senses. For example, in the actual coating process they stop the gun just before the coating material being sprayed onto the surface would start to run. The coating film they create is even in all areas, with precision ensured down to a level of microns.

Before this kind of expertise could be passed on to the robot, each separate technique would have to be analyzed in detail. Of course, the skilled operators were also human beings; they simply could not give their very best performance time after time. Therefore, the team recorded its coating operation on video in order to pinpoint the optimal actions. Next, the most effective gun actions were chosen according to three criteria: the spray angle of coating material at the gun head, distance from the body, and the gun's speed of movement. Teaching sheets were then created in order to transplant the coating techniques to the robot.

"Operators acquire their skills through years of experience," said Hiroshi Arai, who was involved in the development as engineer in charge of coatings at EG's Third Engineering Block. "These techniques are therefore very logical, and they truly reflect human wisdom. In today's computer age, the promotion of automation depends on how to incorporate these techniques and make use of that human wisdom."

The task of teaching the robot began in November of that year. A cone-shaped jig was attached to the head of the robot's gun as a means of simulating the spray angle of the coating material. Using a hand-held console, the operators input their skills to the computer. In the beginning, it was quite a struggle. Although the robots were taught the actions exactly as performed by the operators, it did not mean the machines could immediately begin by producing the greatest degree of coating quality.

Since the body surfaces had many curves, the team often found it necessary to fine-tune the data it had entered in order to align the movement of the robot with the actual contours of the body. Another problem was that the teaching sheet specified only the total time of a coating operation. The specific spray pattern used to complete the operation within the specified time depended on the expertise of individual operators. To enable the robot to operate at the same level of effectiveness, trials using a dummy vehicle were repeated in order to determine the optimal spray pattern.

Photo

The outer-panel-top multi-coat robots provided a significant increase in the following capabilities of the spray gun.

Photo

The trajectory of spray from the spray gun indicates that paint is always applied to the body surface at a right angle.

A relatively higher degree of difficulty was encountered in teaching the robot to emulate coating actions along the body's inner panels and there was more limited workspace available. For example, to paint a corner area of the door, the operators would take several steps to complete the coating of the edge at the corner of the door, because doing so allowed them to maintain constant gun speed and ensure even coating. The team attempted teaching the robot to perform a one-shot coating along the edge of the door corner, but the resulting coating film was still uneven. This revealed that the method used by the operators was more practical.

The development team analyzed each individual operator action for assimilation by the robots. Moreover, they repeated that process for each Honda model so that the robots could handle the line being produced by the factory.

The Challenging Spirit of Honda

A System that Fosters Expertise
  1. A System that Fosters ExpertiseA System that Fosters Expertise
  2. The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960The R&D Center Goes Independent / 1960
  3. Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification  / 1960Employing the "My Record" Project and Expert Certification / 1960
A Dream Come True: Car Builder for the World
  1. A Dream Come True: Car Builder for the WorldA Dream Come True: Car Builder for the World
  2. Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962Launching the S360 and T360 / 1962
  3. Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966Entering the Auto Market at Last / 1966
  4. Introducing N360 / 1967Introducing N360 / 1967
  5. Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968Launching the Honda 1300 / 1968
  6. Introducing the CVCC / 1972Introducing the CVCC / 1972
  7. Announcing the Civic / 1972Announcing the Civic / 1972
  8. Introducing the Accord / 1976Introducing the Accord / 1976
Marketing Globally, Producing Lacally
  1. Marketing Globally, Producing LocallyMarketing Globally, Producing Locally
  2. Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959Establishing American Honda Motor Co. / 1959
  3. Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963Establishing Belgium Honda / 1963
  4. Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980Establishing Honda of America Manufacturing / 1980
A Refreshing New Development
  1. A Refreshing New DevelopmentA Refreshing New Development
Products Emerging From Technology and Innovation
  1. Products Emerging From Technology and InnovationProducts Emerging From Technology and Innovation
  2. The Oval Piston Engine / 1979The Oval Piston Engine / 1979
  3. The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968The Hondamatic Transmission / 1968
  4. The Car Navigation System / 1981The Car Navigation System / 1981
  5. The Airbag System / 1987The Airbag System / 1987
  6. Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987Four-Wheel Steering System (4WS) / 1987
  7. The VTEC Engine / 1989The VTEC Engine / 1989
  8. The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977The ME Engine (G100 / 150 / 200 / 300 / 400 Series) / 1977
  9. The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983The ZE Engine (GX110 / 140 / 240 / 270 / 340 Series) / 1983
  10. The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969The Dream CB750 FOUR / 1969
  11. CG125 / 1975CG125 / 1975
  12. Road Pal / 1976Road Pal / 1976
  13. City / 1981City / 1981
  14. The NSX / 1990The NSX / 1990
  15. Odyssey / 1994Odyssey / 1994
  16. Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988Honda EV Plus: The Dream of an Electric Vehicle / 1988
  17. The E300 Portable Generator / 1965The E300 Portable Generator / 1965
  18. The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978The HR21 Lawn Mower / 1978
  19. The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980The F200 "Komame" Mini-Tiller / 1980
Production Technology: The Essence of Creative Manufacturing
  1. Production Technology: The Essence of Creative ManufaturingProduction Technology: The Essence of Creative Manufaturing
  2. Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974Establishment of Honda Engineering / 1974
  3. The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982The World's Smallest Welding Line / 1982
  4. Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981Transfer Lines for Modular Components / 1981
  5. An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988An Automated Line for Painting and Coating / 1988
A Neverending Passion for Racing
  1. A Neverending Passion for RacingA Neverending Passion for Racing
  2. Completion of Suzuka Circuit / 1962Completion of Suzuka Circuit / 1962
  3. Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979Returning to the World Motorcycle Grand Prix / 1979
  4. Formula One Entry: The Initial Phase / 1964Formula One Entry: The Initial Phase / 1964
  5. Formula One Entry: The Second Phase / 1983Formula One Entry: The Second Phase / 1983
  6. Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994Entry to Champ Car Racing / 1994
  7. The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997The Birth of Twin Ring Motegi / 1997
Creativity - The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder
  1. Creativity – The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder Creativity – The Way to Work Harder, Play Harder
  2. Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970Holding All Honda Idea Contests / 1970
People and Society Coexisting in Harmony with Nature
  1. People and Society Coexisting in Harmony with NaturePeople and Society Coexisting in Harmony with Nature
  2. Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992Establishment of Honda Taiyo, Kibo-no-Sato Honda and Honda R&D Taiyo / 1992
  3. Creating Hometown Forests / 1977Creating Hometown Forests / 1977
  4. Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991Hosting "Orei-no-kai" / 1991

Page Top

Honda Worldwide site

Home | Site Map | Site Index | About this Site

Copyright, Honda Motor Co., Ltd. and its subsidiaries and affiliates. All Rights Reserved.