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Robot to paint large storage tanks

Now it its 5th year of operation, the Dutch company Qlayers has been working on revolutionary paint application technology that will coat better and faster, reduce overspray, and even reduce the drag on airplanes and cargo ships, saving on CO2 emissions. Currently the company has released a robot that can paint storage tank exteriors safely and accurately, without overspray.

29 March, 2023

It’s no secret that some painting jobs, however much needed, are difficult and dangerous, and giving these jobs to robots, while saving money on labor, also allows a painting crew to focus on safer and less demanding tasks.

There have been a lot of new paint robots developed for a variety of situations, and one of the latest is 10Q™ from the relatively new Dutch tech company Qlayers. It’s the industry's first automated paint robot designed to can apply protective coatings on storage tank exteriors; it works in a fast, safe and highly efficient manner without any overspray. According to a press release on the Qlayers web page, “The 10Q robot is specifically designed to generate the most value for storage tank asset owners and coating companies by enabling them to have full control over every aspect of the automated painting process and increase the efficiency and safety of tank maintenance projects.”

All the years of video gaming may have paid off for some crew members, who will be able to operate this robot from a safe distance on the ground by using a user-friendly controller module and the touch of a button. And it will keep painters out of some difficult situations. “This will reduce the number of working hours at heights by up to 80%,” says the company.

Environmentally responsible
Years of development went into this technology, which, according to the company, is environmentally responsible as well as fast and clean. For one, the robots carry a shielding system that allows them to spray with more precision, a programmable layer thickness, and a 90% transfer efficiently, saving money not only on labor and product but also reducing the potential of paint getting where it doesn’t belong. Overspray has long been a danger to the environment and nearby property, as well and an added expense to many projects since many of the gallons purchased never hit their intended target. As well, the shielding system is designed to keep paint fumes from being released into the environment.

By giving the robot information about its project and environmental conditions — layer thicknesses, temperature, humidity, and other factors, it’s easy to maintain automated quality control on every position of the tank. Even on a windy day, the robot can compensate and still coat large surfaces quickly and consistently. This pays off down the line. “The consistent automated performance also allows to predict degradation better,” says the company.

Positive reception
Qlayers, founded in 2019, initially launched the 10Q in 2021. Reviews were positive, quickly noting its consistent quality control and also how it saved painters from having to work in situations that could expose them to toxic chemicals and fall hazards. The company has expanded its reach, with projects in the UK and the USA, the launch of a subsidiary in Singapore, and plans to open office in the USA and the Middle East.
The success of the 10Q has encouraged the company to invest in developing painting robots for other difficult industrial environments, such as the maritime and the wind turbine industries.

By changing the application method on large structures such as wind turbines and even airplanes and cargo ships, the company believes it can significantly reduce CO2 emissions, as the friction involved when these planes and ships travel can be significantly reduced  “Our technology does not require any modification in the mechanics or control of the industrial surfaces that we coat; even the paint will stay the same which reduces the threshold for implementation significantly in the conservative industries that we target,” says the company.

Read more about painting robots in Paint News!
Watch Out! Another Painting Robot | PaintMag
Paint Robot: The spray of the future? | PaintMag

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