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RA Triple Award Winner & DuluxGroup Robo-Mixing

Supplier: Robotic Automation
03 December, 2012

Our thanks to these awards-bodies for their recognition in and for the glittering awards dinners they mounted.

Endeavour Awards (Manufacturer's Monthly magazine) –
National awards celebrating manufacturing excellence.
Category: Technology Application of the Year
Result: Winner - 1st Place

Zenith Awards (PACE - Process & Control Engineering magazine) –
for leadership in engineering, technological excellence and innovation.
Category: Manufacturing & Automotive
Result: Winner - 1st Place

Smart Awards (Supply Chain & Logistics Associations: APICS, LAA, CILTA, CIPS, SCLAA) –
Category: Excellence in Manufacturing Supply Chains
Result: Winner - 1st Place


Robo-Mixing: a recipe for awards




Mixing the various powder ingredients of a customised powder-coat product was a labour-intensive process. It required staff to handle and decant loose, heavy bags of powders in different sizes weighing 20 to 25 kg each.

Additionally, the process results in a hazardous work environment saturated with fine powder dust that hangs in the air, potentially to combustible intensities. Other associated hazards include respiratory problems, dusty flooring, and the need for uncomfortable safety-wear.


DuluxGroup proactively sought a solution and partnered with RA to develop an automated system that could also concentrate their custom production in one Centralised Make-up Facility. The heart of this system consists of:

  • The Major Materials Robotic Loading System.
  • The Minor Materials Robotic Loading System.
  • SCADA system to govern the total solution and take each unique batch order via a database management system connected to Dulux Group’s Management system and staff operated by HMI touch-screens.

With the production schedule assigned, the system checks each recipe against the real-time stock of each ingredient powder stored in either dispensing hoppers or as sacks on pallets and then outputs a loading plan to the 3 robots. These robots are enhanced with extra body and sealing protection to safely work in a combustible “Zone 21” hazardous environment.

Main equipment:

  • 3x Motoman HP165 Robots(extended-reach version with 100kg payload).
  • 2x 21 metre servo-tracks with robot mounts.
  • RA-designed end-of-arm tooling.
  • SCADA & Database management systems interfaced with Client's Management System.
  • HMI system (touch-screen operation).

These 3 Robotic Chefs now set about their tasks to stock, handle, pour, mix, or more basically to cook up a perfect powder-coating product to order! Racing back and forth along two 21 metre long tracks, the tasks of these robots include:

  • Fetching sacks of ingredient powder from pallet racks.
  • Opening and decanting the powder from each into 130 different storage hoppers, then disposing empty sacks into a compacting machine for recycling.
  • Tending the 130 ingredient hoppers between 3 mixing machines.
  • Fetching empty pails, weighing & delivering full pails of the final product-mix.
  • Replenishing the powder stocks contained in the 130 mixing hoppers. Ready again for the next custom order!


  • Increased staff safety.
  • Increased product consistency and quality.
  • Increased productivity.
  • Capability for smaller custom batch-sizes.
  • Redeployment of staff.
  • Reduction in staff injuries and associated costs.
  • Reduced losses to production time.
  • Reduced batch-errors and waste