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Artificial intelligence in powder coating at MS Oberflächentechnik technology day

A glimpse into the future of powder coating was provided at MS Oberflächentechnik's Technology Day on June 14, 2023. In cooperation with CoatingAI and Coatmaster, it was demonstrated how artificial intelligence (AI) and automatic real-time coating thickness measurement can establish themselves in everyday industrial coating.

Under the motto "Man vs. Machine", there was an informative insight into the future of coating in Balgach, Switzerland. In the technical center of MS Oberflächentechnik, the companies showed how they have worked closely together to bring a special form of automation to operational maturity. Factors such as the shortage of skilled workers are making it increasingly difficult to find suitable personnel. This is where AI-driven technology can help automate painting processes and, of course, save costs. MS presented the new CLC software. CoatingAI, a Swiss company founded in 2021, has brought its AI solution, christened Flightpath, to market. The system can be used, for example, to determine the optimal coating program within a few minutes. This ensures excellent uniformity and homogeneity in the subsequent coating process. In both cases, Coatmaster's equipment, Flex or 3-D, uses real-time coating thickness measurement to check the application result before baking, so the entire coating process is largely automated.

Both tools, MS CLC and Flightpath, were demonstrated on sheets at the MS Technikum in Balgach, where participants were able to express their wishes. MS CLC stands for "close-loop-control" and is a tool that fully automatically controls the powder output based on the real-time measurement results with the Coatmaster Flex - within 30 s - and is immediately available for every MS system. CoatingAI's software uses Flightpath to predict the optimum coating program, adjust gun settings and control parameters such as stroke speed. MS Oberflächentechnik, CoatingAI and Coatmaster have been cooperating here for some time and are jointly developing appropriate solutions. The declared goal is to improve the overall economics of powder coating by saving material, effort and time, and to pursue the Industry 4.0 idea and make these tools ready for use in powder coating operations. CoatingAI is already thinking a few steps ahead and is already working on its Co-Pilot system. The goal is to create a kind of AI-supported co-worker that can take over many tasks from the coater or even replace him in the future. In interaction with the powder coating plant, physical and climatic conditions and taking into account the powder properties, the best possible parameters of the plant are calculated, executed and controlled, which should lead to a controllable process.

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