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ABB To Provide Robotic Paint Solutions For SAIC Volkswagen’s First EV Factory In China

The new NEV factory will be located in Shanghai, opening in 2020 with an annual capacity of 300,000 pure electric vehicles from the Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda brands.

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ABB Robotics will provide advanced robotics painting solutions to SAIC Volkswagen, helping to build first global New Energy Vehicle (NEV) factory characterized by automation and environmentally friendly manufacturing technologies.

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ABB has signed a formal agreement with SAIC Volkswagen to provide robotics painting solutions for the first New Energy Vehicle (NEV) factory of the Volkswagen Group based on the Modular Electric Driver Kit (MEB), an automotive platform specifically designed for the mass production of electric vehicles. Financial details were not disclosed.

The new NEV factory will be located in Shanghai, opening in 2020 with an annual capacity of 300,000 pure electric vehicles from the Audi, Volkswagen and Skoda brands.

This is the first large automated painting project provided by ABB for SAIC Volkswagen. ABB will install approximately 300 robots to provide painting and sealing solutions on three automated painting production lines. These solutions involve automobile exterior and interior painting, underbody painting, interior cosmetic seam sealing and interior plate wax-spraying.

“We are delighted to support China’s rapidly growing electric vehicle industry and to extend our partnership with Volkswagen as the company expands its electric vehicle manufacturing capabilities. This award recognizes ABB’s deep expertise in the electric vehicle segment overall and, in particular, our robotics automotive expertise supported by global applications centers in China, Europe and the United States,” said Sami Atiya, president of ABB’s Robotics and Discrete Automation business.

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Chen Hong, president of SAIC Group, said, “Unprecedented changes are taking place in the automobile industry, and electrification and digitalization are inevitable trends. SAIC Volkswagen is actively participating in this change. The NEV plant is an important part of completing SAIC Volkswagen’s strategic layout for the future. The NEV plant will become an intelligent, flexible and agile electric vehicle production base of SAIC Volkswagen, helping the company to become the leader in the electric vehicle market in terms of technology and sales volume. It will bring diversified choices with advanced technology and reliable performance to Chinese consumers.”

The factory is a modern green benchmark factory combining intelligent manufacturing and environmentally friendly technologies with a special focus on water preservation, energy savings and the reduction of carbon dioxide.

Environmentally-friendly solutions are at the heart of the ABB installation. The painting solutions ABB provides will meet Volkswagen’s 2010 environmental standards, the world’s leading waterborne painting process. The primerless painting technology employed in the process can improve paint utilization rates and reduce waste.

Compared with the traditional painting process, it adopts a dry spray absorption system instead of a water circulation system, which can circulate air and use limestone to absorb the spray, so the use of water is no longer necessary. Some 95 percent of the air can be reused and the limestone can be recycled resulting in energy savings of up to 60 percent. The emission of volatile organic compounds (VOC) also can be reduced by 63 percent.

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At the same time, through the rapid acceleration of ABB robots, large flow and fine control of ABB atomizers and the deep application experience of ABB’s engineering team, the total cycle time of the three painting production lines will reach 120 jobs per hour (JPH), the fastest in a single paint shop. 

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