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Dürr supplies 16 robots for Turkish Aerospace’s highly automated paint shop

Pilot project for automated painting in the aviation industry

Bietigheim-Bissingen, 25 February 2021 – The aerospace company Turkish Aerospace is currently building one of the most high-tech production facilities ever seen in the aerospace industry. Sixteen robots from Dürr will coat more than 50 different components in two highly automated paint shops in the future. Dürr developed a new solution for this which, for the first time, enables both water-based and solvent-based 2C and 3C paints to be metered and mixed directly in the robot – economically and with high precision. Dürr received the order in September 2020

A lot of work in aircraft production is still done by hand, with up to 95 % of all components still being coated manually. Turkey’s state-owned aircraft manufacturer Turkish Aerospace Industries (“Turkish Aerospace”) is set to change this with its new highly automated paint shops. In the two new paint shops, Turkish Aerospace will manufacture large numbers of components for Airbus and Boeing.

Highest requirements for coating

Freezing cold temperatures of negative 76 ºF at high altitudes, roasting hot temperatures of 140 ºF when landing in a desert: the coatings used in the aviation industry have to meet high functional and safety requirements because of the temperatures and weather conditions they are exposed to. There is also the aesthetic consideration, given the important contribution made by the color scheme to an aircraft’s brand recognition. The range of main colors, hardeners, and thinners stipulated by Turkish Aerospace is very extensive, and requires a complicated color supply system. To meet these challenges, Dürr took its tried-and-tested system for water-based and solvent-based 2C paints out of its standard automotive painting setting and enhanced it. The system at Turkish Aerospace meters and mixes all three of the necessary components so that the incompatible water-based and solvent-based paints can be processed directly in the robot without coming into contact with each other. This is the first time that such a complicated metering and mixing technology has been mounted so close to the atomizers. This minimizes paint and solvent losses when changing color and also saves time.

Perfect for large areas and tight nooks

The EcoGun spray guns used are extremely precise and, with their excellent area performance, perfect for painting large components like fuselage sections or wing components up to 10 meters in length. This is faster than manual coating processes, and produces a higher-quality result and less overspray. Recirculated air can be used in the fully automated paint booths, saving the energy that would otherwise be needed to condition the fresh air.

Programming with DXQ software

The sixteen EcoRP E133 painting robots will be installed in two new buildings on Turkish Aerospace’s site in Ankara, and programmed using DXQ3D.onsite. The Dürr software is the universal toolbox that enables operators to configure the process parameters and robot paths of the application robots. Specific consumption data for paints, solvents, energy, and air will also be meticulously recorded so that Turkish Aerospace can match them to the individual components in the future. This data will make it possible to optimize manufacturing processes. The data acquisition is also important in meeting the high safety standards in the aviation industry. DXQ3D.onsite offers scope for future expansion, opening the door for additional modules like the DXQequipment.maintenance tool.

Cooperation with general contractor

The general contractor for the construction of the two paint shops is the Turkish plant manufacturer VIG Makina. The company has around 400 employees, is specialized in Surface treatment & Painting systems as well as manufacturing of aluminum production machineries and has an excellent reputation across all industries. “We’re very proud to realize this pilot project for the aviation industry with VIG Makina. With our painting robots, application technology and color supply system, we are significantly advancing automation in the aviation industry,” says Sabine Mewis, Key Account Manager Aviation Industry at Dürr.