Electric Vehicles from Sokon to be Painted with Highly Flexible Seven-Axis Robots

Dürr general contractor for construction of paint shop in Chongqing, China

SOUTHFIELD, Mich., Sept. 19, 2018 - Electric cars will be manufactured using state-of-the-art technology in the new electric vehicle plant of the Chongqing Sokon Industry Group. It is the first time that the seven-axis painting robot EcoRP E043i from Dürr's new generation of robots will be used in China. It can paint different-sized bodies of the fully electric SUVs flexibly and without the previously required displacement rail. The complete paint shop includes a Dürr Ecopure air purification system with heat recovery. The new plant will set standards when it comes to air pollution control.


Sokon is promoting the development of electric mobility with its new plant at the company's site in Chongqing. The EcoRP E043i has seven rotary axes, making it much more mobile than six-axis painting robots. The additional joint extends the robot's working area. As a result, it reaches even hard-to-access areas when painting the interiors of automobile bodies. Until now, painting robots often moved on horizontal rails. The EcoRP E043i no longer needs these due to the mobility of its 7-axis kinematics. This reduces the investment and maintenance costs in the spray booth and enables a better view of the booths.

A total of 60 Ecopaint robots are used in the primer, top coat, and clear coat lines for interior and exterior painting at the Sokon production facility. In addition to the 36 EcoRP E043i painting robots, 16 SCARA door openers and six-axis hood openers are being sent to China. Dürr is also supplying the robots and application technology for the sealing stations. The seam sealing and insulation materials will be applied to the bodies by 20 robots from the EcoRSi series.

Lower investment and maintenance costs
Dürr's third generation of robots is modular in structure. This means that the EcoRP E/L033i and EcoRP E/L133i models with their 6-axis kinematics can be used both for painting and for opening the hoods. The modular concept has been applied throughout the 6-axis and 7-axis kinematics. The only difference between the variants is the additional axis of rotation in the main arm. The otherwise universally identical components simplify spare parts management, save storage costs, and make maintenance work easier. The control technology of the robots for applying paint and high-viscosity material is also universal. The modular design of the control cabinets enables the optimal configuration for the respective application process of a painting or sealing station.

With EcoScreen 3D-OnSite 4, a universal software package is available for programming, simulating, and optimizing Dürr's painting and sealing robots. The software supports the new generation of robot controllers, is compatible with the previous version and all relevant process data can be parameterized. It can be connected online to multiple robot controllers directly via the network. As a result, changes to teach programs and process data can be transferred to the production process in the shortest possible time.

Fit for Industry 4.0
The new coating and sealing robots are prepared for the intelligent factory of the future. Sensors detect temperature, operating hours, the degree of wear of the components, as well as other data. The newly developed EcoRCMP2 process and motion controller transfers the information to the higher-level maintenance and control system. Thanks to this technology, the data from multiple spray booths or even complete paint shops can be combined and evaluated.

Monitoring, tracking, and individually configurable reporting are important elements in efficient process control and optimization. To that end, milestones towards the digitization of the plant are reached with the MES software for production control developed by Dürr. This solution is the basis for further advances in the area of Industry 4.0.

One-stop shop for a complete paint shop
The mechanical and plant engineering company Dürr is constructing the entire paint shop for Sokon and, as general contractor, is also responsible for the construction of the building and for three high-bay warehouses. These high-bay warehouses minimize the need for surface storage. This simplifies the building structure, saves space, and enables intelligent material flow control, making it a key part of Dürr's Eco+Layout. The technical scope of services includes the Ecopaint RoDip rotational dip process in pre-treatment and electrocoating, all robots and applications for the sealing and painting processes, and the EcoDryScrubber dry separation system. This binds the paint overspray in a process involving no water or chemicals, and can be operated with up to 90 percent recirculated air. The result is an energy saving of up to 60 percent in the spray booth.
Energy-efficient exhaust air purification
When it comes to emission protection, Sokon will meet all legal requirements while realizing maximum energy efficiency. The large volume of solvent emissions from the application zones will be purified by a combination of the adsorptive process of the Ecopure® KPR VOC concentration system and the Ecopure® RTO regenerative thermal oxidation system. The gaseous pollutants in the exhaust air from the booth first undergo adsorptive concentration before being disposed of in the downstream oxidation system with minimal energy consumption.

The latest generation of the Ecopure® TAR recuperative thermal air purification system is used to purify the hot exhaust air flows from the various paint drying processes. This process purifies the exhaust air and at the same time makes all the heat available for heating the oven.

About Dürr Group
The Dürr Group has been established in the United States since 1970 and currently employs around 880 people. From the new Campus with a state-of-art validation, testing, and training center in Southfield, MI, Dürr USA represents four of the five divisions. Paint and Final Assembly Systems offers equipment for painting and assembly processes, while Application Technology provides paint application systems. Dürr's Clean Technology Systems is the global leader in air pollution abatement and energy efficient technologies. The subsidiary Schenck Trebel Corporation, based in Deer Park, New York, offers balancing machines, vibration and condition monitoring systems and services for the general industry. The customers of Dürr USA include automotive and commercial vehicle manufacturers as well as their suppliers, and a diverse group of other industries. HOMAG Machinery North America operates the production facilities for HOMAG Group in Grand Rapids, MI, which is also the base for sales and service company Stiles Machinery Inc.

The Dürr Group is one of the world's leading mechanical and plant engineering firms with extensive automation expertise. Products, systems and services offered by the Group enable highly efficient manufacturing processes in different industries. Dürr supplies sectors like the automotive industry, mechanical engineering, chemical, pharmaceutical and woodworking industries. The company has 92 business locations in 31 countries. The Group generated sales of € 3.72 billion in 2017. Dürr has around 15,000 employees and operates in the market with five divisions:
• Paint and Final Assembly Systems: paint shops and final assembly systems for the automotive industry
• Application Technology: robot technologies for the automated application of paint, sealants and adhesives
• Clean Technology Systems: exhaust-air purification systems and energy efficiency technology
• Measuring and Process Systems: balancing equipment as well as assembly, testing and filling technology
• Woodworking Machinery and Systems: machinery and equipment for the woodworking industry

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