A Robot Turned This Flood Damaged SUV Into An Art Car In 30 Minutes


The world of automotive art can be a strange place. Now, this may be an automated place thanks to the impressive technology of ABB Robotics. Robots painting cars are nothing new, but robots that can paint very complex patterns in a matter of minutes? It deserves attention.

The robot in question is called PixelPaint, and in short, it works like an inkjet printer. In this case, the printhead has no less than 1,000 nozzles that emit color. It works with great precision, operating only a few millimeters above the surface of the car. It can create small patterns using several colors at once, and because it is so close to the surface there is no overspray. That means there’s no need for masking, and anyone familiar with automotive paint can attest that masking is important siphon time in the process.

To show off PixelPaint’s capabilities, ABB Robotics took a white VW Tiguan that had been damaged by a flood. The company then sought out conceptual minds of artists for inspirational designs, eventually turning to Dubai-based art collective Illusorr and eight-year-old art marvel, Advait Kolarkar. Illusorr created a very intricate multi-colored stripe pattern inspired by nature and the natural airflow around the car. Kolarkar offers a completely abstract black-and-white painting which he calls Zebra Utopia.

ABB Robotics Art Car
ABB Robotics Art Car

Each creation plugged into the PixelPaint software, and the engine started working. Without human intervention during the painting process, the robot recreates the artwork with precise details on the VW roof and hood. In addition, each project only takes 30 minutes to complete. It’s not uncommon for an automotive painter to spend money again from 30 minutes only in the process of masking, let alone painting.

“ABB’s PixelPaint technology is more than an evolution – it’s a revolution,” said Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics & Discrete Automation business area. “This is a shining example of how robotic automation and our RobotStudio software can not only pave the way for more sustainable manufacturing, but can also perfectly replicate fine works of art that celebrate originality and the beauty of the human spirit.”

While most people aren’t keen on replicating the fine art in their SUVs, PixelPaint opens the door to faster and more efficient custom paint jobs. It will be interesting to see how these tech spiders penetrate the auto industry in the years to come.


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