Robot to spray paint JTC’s industrial developments

  • By Nanyang Technological University
  • Posted 10 months ago
  • Reading Time : a few minutes

Autonomous robot PictoBot is co-developed by NTU, JTC and Aitech, with funding from NRF

A new NTU robot will soon be spray-painting the interiors of industrial buildings in Singapore, saving time and manpower while improving safety.

Known as PictoBot, the robot is invented by scientists from Nanyang Technological University (NTU Singapore) and co-developed with JTC Corporation (JTC) and local start-up Aitech Robotics and Automation (Aitech).

PictoBot can paint a high interior wall 25 per cent faster than a crew of two painters, improving both productivity and safety.

Industrial buildings are designed with high ceilings to accommodate bulky industrial equipment and materials. Currently, painting the interiors of industrial buildings requires at least two painters using a scissor lift. Working at such heights exposes painters to various safety risks.

In comparison, PictoBot needs only one human supervisor, as it can automatically scan its environment using its optical camera and laser scanner, to navigate and paint walls up to 10 metres high with its robotic arm.

It can work four hours on one battery charge, giving walls an even coat of paint that matches industry standards. Equipped with advanced sensors, Pictobot can also operate in the dark, enabling 24-hours continuous painting.

Developed in a year at NTU’s Robotic Research Centre, PictoBot is supported by the National Research Foundation (NRF) Singapore, under its Test-Bedding and Demonstration of Innovative Research funding initiative.

The PictoBot integrates several high-tech components to automate the spray-painting of interior walls of various specifications: six-axis robotic arm that can move speedily and steadily, precise spray nozzle and high pressure paint pump (four times faster than brushing or rolling), automated jack-up platform that enables it to reach up to 10 metres high, optical camera to scan the work space to calculate trajectory of nozzle and paint, and a laser scanner to measure the range and distance.

To enable the robot to reach high places and to move around quickly, the research team worked closely with engineers from Aitech to integrate the PictoBot’s mobile jack-up platform with its robotic arm.

The next step is to testbed the new robot at industrial developments such as JTC Space @ Gul, to ensure that the quality of PictoBot’s spray painting is comparable or better than industry standards.

Credit: Nanyang Technological University

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