Issue: Jan 2009


87 Robots for VW Sachsen



Reconstruction of the Two Top Coat Lines Finished Successfully and On Schedule

by Steve Barclay

“Mission accomplished!” With two short words, project manager Ralf Gildhorn announced on August 12th 2008 the successful end of the greatest summer reconstruction to robotic processes in a paint shop Dürr has ever carried out

For the painting of the Golf 6 and Passat models, Volkswagen placed an order with Dürr Systems GmbH in Bietigheim-Bissingen in December 2007 for the reconstruction and full automation of the two 112 m long top coat lines in hall 4.
Robots replaced manual workplaces in the interior painting section and they replaced painting machines in the exterior painting section.
The use of robots will lead to a capacity increase, an improvement of the surface quality and considerable paint savings.

As an execution period, a four-week factory vacation was planned for the summer of 2008.
The scope of delivery and services included the dismounting of the old installation for scrapping, then installing the paint supply, conveyor technology, spray booth, steel construction and 87 painting and handling robots for the ten base coat and clear coat stations.

Good planning and reliable products on the most advanced technological level, together with professional project management are the most important success factors for the fulfilment of such a challenging task. This formed the project’s basis from the engineering up to the manufacturing, assembly and the safeguards of the plant’s economic efficiency. In all project phases, Dürr employees worked according to the guidelines of the project management manual of the Dürr Group. Examples of that included the process safeguarding in the Dürr technical center, assembly workshops, regular project meetings with the customer, and risk consideration during the entire engineering and manufacturing phase.

As early as February, preparatory work began in the maintenance groups of paint supply and steel construction, and with the pre-commissioning of one of the two top coat lines in Zwickau while production was running. Parallel to that, design, procurement and manufacturing were handled at Dürr in Bietigheim-Bissingen. Starting in May, pre-commissioning, an important project phase that safeguards that all installation components cooperate smoothly, could be carried out on both lines. This way, unpleasant surprises during the later commissioning in the paint shop are avoided. With this project, the pre-commissioning of top coat line 1 with conveyor technology and process control, was carried out in Zwickau, while that of top coat line 2 took place in Bietigheim-Bissingen with the robot movement programming and painting process.

38 semi trailers were needed just to transport the 87 robots and 61 control cabinets to Zwickau. In total, more than 400 t of equipment and material were provided for the installation.

The hot phase of the reconstruction began on July 11th with the demolition of the old installation. 300 t of scrap in 72 containers were disposed by July 14th. Two shifts of 150 or 130 workers participated in that.

280 t of steel construction, 126 m of roller conveyors and 52 m of chain trough conveyors formed the basis for the installation of the 51 painting robots and 36 handling robots in the ten painting stations. The work was carried out by four teams in a two-shift operation, in the day shift with 170 workers and in the night shift with 160 workers.
The assembly phase ended after the 360 m of booth wall for the painting booths were set up and more than 70 km of cables were laid out.

Then the conveyor technology, the fire protection system, dryer, paint supply and robots were commissioned. The first paint flowed from the atomizers on August 1st and the first body was coated in the beginning of August. At the planned start of production, 686 bodies were produced in top coat line 1. In top coat line 2, the first customer car body would be painted 3 days earlier than planned.

The successful handling of the project is an expression of the excellent work of the experienced team on site, a functioning organization in the background and excellent cooperation with the customer. First feedback by the customer: “Record-breaking: Two lines mounted within three weeks!”


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