Autonomous robot painters: The future of wall painting

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Autonomous robot painters: The future of wall painting

Autonomous robot painters: The future of wall painting

Subheading text
Construction firms are looking into automating painting to enhance accuracy and reduce waste.
    • Author:
    • Author name
      Quantumrun Foresight
    • November 20, 2023

    Insight summary

    Autonomous robot painters are revolutionizing the industrial and construction sectors by offering precise, real-time painting without the need for complicated programming. Utilizing platforms like Omnirobotic's AutonomyOS and real-time 3D perception technology, these robots are tackling tasks beyond painting, thus transforming factory floors. Their efficiency reduces rework and overspray costs, which can account for up to 30% of regular operating expenses. Commercial adoption is already underway, as seen with Emaar Properties contracting MYRO International for a luxury high-rise project. While enhancing sustainability and safety, these robots do raise questions about the loss of human creativity and job displacement in the industry.

    Autonomous robot painters context

    Unlike traditional robots, autonomous paint robots do not need precise fixturing, jigging, or complicated programming. Autonomous painters can use either live 3D perception technology or a CAD (Computer-Aided Design) file injected into a digital twin to accurately identify the shape and position of parts. A digital twin is a virtual replica or simulation of a physical object, process, or system. It uses real-time data from sensors, equipment, and other sources to create a digital model that can be used to monitor, control, and optimize the physical system. With this information, the robots can perform real-time, precise painting according to specific instructions.

    Robotics firm Omnirobotic uses its AutonomyOS system to enable its machines to spray paint in real time. With this platform, manufacturers and integrators can create and implement autonomous robotic systems that handle various tasks. As such, the lessons learned and advantages gained from using these machines can be applied to other areas of the factory floor.

    One benefit of automatic robot painters is they can reduce rework and overspray. According to Omnirobotic, although rework may account for only 5 to 10 percent of a production's volume, the cost of having to touch up or completely redo parts can make up to 20 or 30 percent of regular operating expenses. Furthermore, overspray is another quality issue that results in a "hidden waste" of coatings.

    Disruptive impact

    As autonomous robot painters become more commercialized, construction firms will likely opt to use these machines instead of human workers. This shift can result in fewer injuries and accidents (particularly for exterior painting) and faster turnaround times. Additionally, more companies will likely invest in service robots as demand for these machines continues to grow. 

    In 2022, Emaar Properties, a multinational real estate development company based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), announced that it had contracted MYRO International, a Singapore-based mobile intelligent paint robot, to handle all the painting work for a luxury high-rise residential project. MYRO boasts of having developed the world's first intelligent wall painting robot designed specifically for the construction, painting, and related coatings sectors.

    Autonomous robot painters could be programmed to use the exact amount of paint needed for each job, reducing waste and minimizing environmental impact. This feature is especially important as sustainability becomes a bigger priority for businesses and consumers. However, one potential downside of using autonomous robot painters is that they may lack the creative touch that human painters can bring to their work. While robots can create precise and consistent results, this may lead to a standardized look, with less room for individual expression and creativity. 

    Implications of autonomous robot painters

    Wider implications of autonomous robot painters may include: 

    • Reduced need for human workers to perform dangerous tasks at heights or in hazardous environments.
    • Autonomous robot painters being used to paint large industrial equipment and machinery, reducing the time and labor required, and minimizing the risk of human error.
    • These machines being utilized to paint various transportation and vehicles, including spacecraft, cars, and ships.
    • Autonomous robot painters being deployed in building maintenance to paint high-rise buildings.
    • These devices being eventually programmed to tackle various designs and creative paintwork.
    • More companies providing automated solutions for the construction industry.

    Questions to consider

    • What might be the limitations of autonomous robot painters, and what are the potential areas for improvement and development?
    • How might using autonomous robot painters change the skill sets and job opportunities in the painting industry?

    Insight references

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