Pixel-perfect paint

ABB’s latest technology merges art with robotics, turning a vehicle into a piece of unique, abstract art and giving new meaning to the concept of a mobile art show. 

ABB Robotics is able to replicate complex artwork and paint it onto a vehicle, a task that would be extremely time-consuming, if not impossible, to do by hand. This technology makes it possible to customize the exterior (and interior) of vehicles in a fast, accurate, environmental-friendly way. (Source: ABB Robotics)

ABB Robotics has developed a new, efficient method of giving automobiles intricate and unique paint jobs through its PixelPaint, the company’s innovative response to automotive customization. To illustrate PixelPaint’s capabilities, ABB Robotics collaborated with artist coalition and metaverse design platform Illusorr, and eight-year-old abstract artist Advait Kolarkar, combining the skills of the human artists and the precision of robotics to reproduce their designs on a car roof.

Illusorr’s designs have been described as “a mixture of nature and science fiction,” and art prodigy Kolarkar has sold his art in numerous countries, including Turkey, Canada, the UK, the US, and elsewhere. Utilizing ABB’s new painting robot, the IRB 5500 FlexPainter, along with the company’s RobotStudio programming software, the company re-created Kolarkar’s complex artwork and Illusorr’s highly detailed tri-color designs on the roofs of two test model cars with pixel-perfect accuracy in under 30 minutes.

The IRB 5500 FlexPainter is equipped with 1,000 nozzles in the printer head (akin to the inkjet printer on your desk), allowing for continuous painting without the need to swap out colors, all in a single pass. Previously, applying another color to a vehicle would have been time-consuming and costly, requiring a second run in the paint line and the labor-intensive process of masking/demasking before and after the painting. The IRB 5500 FlexPainter operates at maximum efficiency, reducing the overall use of paint and providing a high-quality finish, a plus for the environment and for a pleasing aesthetic. The robot’s Integrated Process System (IPS) allows it to be a versatile and reliable machine, and its flexibility lets it maneuver around different vehicle models with ease, capable of painting both exteriors and interiors.

“It’s a shining example of how robotic automation and our RobotStudio software cannot only pave the way for more sustainable manufacturing, but also can perfectly replicate delicate pieces of art that celebrate the originality and beauty of the human spirit,” says Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics and Discreet Automation business unit. “At a time when consumers want more customized products, PixelPaint is a game changer and allows any design to be replicated in a manner that is both sustainable and affordable.”

To many car owners, their vehicle is more than a simple mode of transportation, and they look upon it with a sense of pride. No doubt the ability to customize the vehicle with what not only can be described as a piece of art—it is actual art, after all—will have a certain public appeal.

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