The introduction of an automated robotic system to handle hazardous chemicals and improve staff safety has seen Dulux Group, in collaboration with Robotic Automation, win the Endeavour’s Technology Application award.
The Dulux Group has several business units including Decorative Coatings, Selleys, Cabot’s, Yates and Powder & Protective Coatings.
While accepting the award, David King, project manager with Robotic Automation, said the robotic system has improved safety by redeploying nine employees from a hazardous and uncomfortable work environment, eliminating OH&S incidents in the process.
As well, through-put has increased by approximately 20% and has allowed Dulux to accept smaller custom batch orders of less than 500kg while remaining profitable.
The previous system involved staff handling and decanting loose, heavy bags of powders in different sizes weighing 20 to 25kg each in an environment saturated with fine powder dust.
Working together with the engineering team at Robotic Automation, Dulux developed a centralised make-up facility. This facility consisted of a major materials robotic loading system, a minor materials robotic loading system and a SCADA system.
The system is connected to Dulux’s SAP system and staff operated Human-Machine Interface (HMI) touch-screens. The process begins as the SAP system pushes the production schedule down to the database from where the managers can manipulate the batches. The recipes are then pushed to the control system which checks the stock of each powder.
The robots were enhanced with extra body and sealing protection to safely work in a combustible ‘Zone 21’ hazardous environment.
"These three Robotic Chefs (Motoman HP165-100 models) now set about their tasks to stock, handle, pour, mix a perfect powder-coating product to order," said King.