The Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre (AMGC) is supporting a collaborative project with Tradiebot Industries to deliver the world’s first automated vehicle panel repair system. As part of the project, Tradiebot Industries will collaborate with the University of New South Wales (UNSW) ARC Training Centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites (AMAC) on developing a robotic control system to carry out physical repairs on damaged vehicle panels.
Tradiebot’s chief creator, Mario Dimovski said the project seeks to achieve a shift from manual production jobs, towards a more customised, smart and competitive manufacturing model, backed by high skilled workers. According to Dimovski, the project addresses a current skills gap in the vehicle collision repair industry.
The AMGC is providing $197,000 in co-funding for the first stage of the project, which is matched by equivalent funding from Tradiebot Industries. Further investments will follow as the project achieves set milestones. Apart from providing an internal solution for the automotive repair sector, Dimovski said the project also opens the path for creating new manufacturing jobs in Australia as the technology sets to disrupt the global automotive industry. Successful completion of the project will allow Tradiebot to create new revenue streams by leasing or selling digital assets and robotic systems to vehicle repairers.
Tradiebot has partnered with the global automotive coating giant, PPG Industries, on developing and later distributing the robotic solution through its global customer base. Kevin Woolerton, marketing director, PPG Refinish ANZ said: “We are interested in the innovations within the industry and leading that innovation with Tradiebot. The repair processes have evolved considerably over the years. Using a robotic arm to do the physical repairs such as the sanding process can help avoid the occasional flaws that occur because of the human factor.”
The signing ceremony at the ARC Training Centre for Automated Manufacture of Advanced Composites at UNSW on 14 August 2018. AMGC state director, Michael Sharpe added: “Tradiebot is setting an example of how we can advance Australia further – helping to upskill the next generation as well as generating jobs for today.”
The two core activities involved in the project include digitalising the process of repairing damaged vehicle panels by developing virtual models of vehicle panels, as well as developing a robot control system that can conduct these physical repairs, including sanding, painting and polishing.
The participants will also collaborate to integrate data from various devices into a unique Internet of Things (IoT) solution for vehicle panel repair. A successful project outcome is likely to inspire similar solutions in areas beyond vehicle repair, such as commercial cleaning, painting and washing. Participating companies will also enhance their skills base by gaining first-hand experience in developing cyber-physical systems.