Robotic Painting Optimization for Military Vehicles

NCMS Project #: 140323

Problem: Few commercial robotic painting systems require the versatility required by military depot vehicle painting scenarios.  The challenges undertaken by this project included the use of state-of-the-art robotics and vision technologies in a demonstration of the feasibility of robotic camouflage painting triggered by vehicle model and model-variant recognition by a vision system, and an examination into maintenance and operational issues for a robot-vision system in view of depot vehicle-mix quantities.

Benefit: Development and prove-out of vision system recognition of a specific vehicle model and its 6-degree of freedom (DOF) location, recognition of features added to or taken away from the vehicle model and their 6-DOF locations, and communication of the model, variant identification, and their 6-DOF locations to the robot, triggering pre-programmed path codes, path changes and robot movements through a correct path.

Solution/Approach: Project embodied a development and demonstration protocol of the economic, technical and maintenance issues that, if successively executed through all phases, can substantially reduce the concerns at Maintenance Center at Barstow that currently inhibit the use of robotic painting in DOD depots and in job-lot limited commercial operations.

Impact on Warfighter: Return refurbished, painted military vehicles to the field faster than when painted manually, with higher quality, paint savings and VOC reduction.

DOD Participation:

  • U.S. Marines (Barstow)
  • U.S. Marines Maintenance Directorate (Albany)
  • U.S. Army (Red River)
  • U.S. Air Force (WR-ALC)

Industry Participation:

  • VSI International
  • Pratt & Whitney Automation
  • NCMS