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Figure 4 shows the proceeding and the interaction of the work packages (WP) in the three phases.

Workplan Image
Figure 4: Methodological approach


WP 0 WP 1 WP 2 WP 3 WP 4 WP 5

WP 0: Project Management

The project management approach considered for FLEXPAINT is based on management plans and techniques which have been used successfully for previous international projects. The primary aim of this management structure is supervision of project vision and strategy, co-ordination of internal procedures and communication, stimulation and supervision of external activities (dissemination and exploitation), executing relevant decisions, financial and final responsibility and execution of administrative actions both internal and with the European Commission.


WP 1: Industrial Requirements

This workpackage analyses in detail the industrial requirements, starting from an in depth analysis of the present industrial technical, economical and logistic environment. All presently existing and planned painting processes of the end-users will be analysed in detail and an economic evaluation will be performed.These results documented in report will be the platform for the following tasks.


WP 2: Development of Basic Principles

This workpackage prepares all technical innovations for the prototype tests in WP3. The innovative tasks will focus on sensor feedback and off-line programming to generate automatically painting programs by using painting strategies gathered heuristically. Finally solution scenarios for the 4 end-users will be set. Tests with a prototype painting cell and various parts should facilitate the industrial acceptance and make the whole solution more robust against the industrial environment. A close look is also focused on other mission critical parameters as colour mixing and colour changing technology as well as automatic supply of paint, the cleaning of the painting tubes and alternatives for the painting technology itself.


WP 3: 1st Prototype Testing and Implemantation

This workpackage will perform tests with a laboratory testbed at the technology provider ABB. This testbed is industrial like, but in a smaller scale with only about 2 painting robots. Various parts of the end-users shall be programmed with the first version of the software modules which facilitate off-line painting motion programming. Special attention will be drawn to the holistic integration of robotic control, sensing, the painting technology itself (e.g. electrostatic painting) and off-line programming. In this phase possible patents will be developed and issued. The painting lab of ABB is primarily used as only a fraction of the costs is required compared to a setup of a completely new test environment and no interruption of production at the end-users is required. However, special tests can also be performed at the end-user sites.


WP 4: Large scale Implementation and Evaluation

This workpackage will set up real world demonstrator implementations. Based on the results of WP3 each industrial end-user shall implement them. Further testing will be done to guarantee a practical functioning system under realistic constraints. Additional experience will be collected and fed back to further complete the software modules. Evaluation of achieved overall figures will be done. Further increase of the total number of variants will be handled. Practical problems with individual environments of the end-users will be solved, an evaluation of achievable quality and a final cost benefit analysis will be done. A practical hand-book about ultra flexible painting will complete the RTD work.


WP 5: Exploitation and Dissemination

This workpackage will facilitate and prepare the commercial success of FLEXPAINT. External exploitation will be focused on partner ABB who will directly promote the newly established results as part of their product spectrum. ABB will further industrialise the software and after 3-9 months after the end of the project a new commercial product or an add-on to ABB´s present painting technology will be released. At this time ABB will still be supported by the partners PROFACTOR, INFA and AAU who do issue commercial contracts to each other. The research partners will furthermore disseminate their results to an open European wide community. The objective is to reach a wide range of possible painting technology users, as well as other technology providers. The dissemination task will be done by all research partners. Its goal is to publish underlying principles and practical results. Special attention will be given to the applicability at the members of the Industrial Supporter Group (ISG) and at SME´s. Also parts of the innovation will be published to find additional users even in other sectors of flexible automation.