South Korean automotive parts manufacturer Ecoplastic and special-purpose machine supplier B+R Maschinenbau have both had their stringent demands met by ABB Robotics
In South Korea, 370km south-east of Seoul, the coastal city of Gyeong-ju is located among widespread low mountains at the East Sea of Korea.
Commonly referred to as “the museum without walls,” the city has become one of the country’s major tourist destinations. While tourism remains the dominant source of income in the region, the growing automotive supplier industry plays an ever-increasing role, now accounting for close to one third of the city’s businesses.
Established in 1984, Ecoplastic manufactures and sells automotive plastic parts, including bumpers and trims, wheel covers, back panels, radiator grilles, tail-gate garnishes, rear garnishes, roof racks, consoles and instrument panels. Customers are mostly domestic and include Hyundai, Kia, and Hyundai Mobis.
The company’s relationship with ABB harks back to 1993 when Ecoplastic purchased 20 ABB robots for bumper painting. Since then ABB has been a regular supplier of consumables, new innovative technologies and state-of-the-art products for the company, including four IRB 580 robots for flaming plasma used in pre-treatment of bumper surfaces. Since 2010, ABB has also installed 16 atomiser minibel-021 sets for base- and clear paint coating, with the most recent four sets installed in March 2015.
To avoid impacting production, the South Korean ABB Robotics service team installed the four atomisers over the course of four Sundays, which are normally reserved for cleaning and maintenance.
The new atomiser from ABB will pay dividends in reduced cleaning and maintenance time as well as annual operating cost
“Contributing factors to why ABB was awarded the contract was our wide atomiser product line plus our extensive know-how in the area of plastic painting,” says Young-Woo Lee, project manager, ABB South Korea.
“Faced with existing atomisers close to the very end of their lifecycle, time was of the essence,” says Heung-Jae Lee, painting maintenance team manager, Ecoplastic.
“While we are not using high-voltage in painting, the additional challenge was to identify the best atomiser that could meet our stringent needs. ABB’s atomiser minibell offered the perfect solution and more in pricing, fast installation, durability and low running cost.”
Ecoplastic managed to overcome one of the largest obstacles; that is, to ensure the compatibility between the atomiser and the present equipment. The new atomisers from ABB will pay dividends for Ecoplastic in reduced cleaning and maintenance time, thereby reducing the annual operating cost by a staggering 60% – a clearly huge benefit and a great outcome for the service team.