USI Italia spray booths. Duet with painter
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USI Italia. Duet with painter

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  • Дата: 27-01-2023, 12:59
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Reduce airflow when the painter turned off the gun? Automatically turn off lights while drying parts? Or maybe you can independently choose the optimal settings mode depending on the materials used and the number of painted elements? Spray booths from USI Italia can rightfully be considered not just equipment, but an intelligent system aimed at increasing the efficiency of the painting area. They are produced at the only plant in Verona, Italy, where autoExpert visited.

USI Italia. Duet with painter

Often success in business is determined by the right investments. When investing in equipment, you need to look not only at its price, but also think about how much it will cost to operate, maintain, and what it will cost to downtime in case of reliability problems and unforeseen breakdowns. Taking into account these nuances forms an understanding of what is expensive and what is a reasonable price. Buying cheaper doesn't always mean saving.

USI Italia specializes in the development, creation and design of state-of-the-art paint systems for passenger cars, commercial vehicles and industrial needs.

The company was founded in 1974, when two Italian pioneers in this field, Enzo Greggio and Giovanni Melegatti, decided to unite forces and create their own company, which became the embodiment of the experience they had acquired in other organizations of the same profile.

Today USI Italia is, occupying more than 6000 sq.m. square complex in northern Italy in the city of Verona. It includes a production center, a development department, and a sales and marketing department. The company is run by the sons of its founders.

When choosing a spray booth for service stations, domestic entrepreneurs often look towards Chinese-made equipment or European old-style equipment or with good “mileage”. But technology has made a major leap forward in recent years, and modern equipment can give a huge head start to its 5-8 year old counterparts. A vivid illustration of this statement is the USI Italia spray booths.

The USI Italia brand is known in many countries. This painting equipment is recognized as one of the best in the world. And this is a very “politically correct” wording. The USI Italia spray booths were chosen by those who do not even allow the thought of compromise: the Formula 1 teams Mercedes AMD Petronas, Red Bull Racing, Caterham and Ferrari (foto 1). USI Italia equipment is used by training centers DuPont and 3M , Glasurit , Samsung Fire & Marine Insurance. Brands such as Toyota, Peugeot, Renault, Mercedes Benz, Ford and BMW recommend USI Italia as their official supplier to their dealers. Everything is painted in these chambers - from small plastic parts for motorcycles, to trucks, subway train cars and even airplanes. It's hard to imagine better recommendations for equipment. But why is it so attractive to demanding customers?

USI Italia. Duet with painter

Like a clock

The company invests a huge amount of effort and money in optimizing its work. This applies to production, and the development department, and the warehouse. Especially the warehouse, since it is a separate organism on the territory of the enterprise. Its height is equal to the height of a 9-storey building - 27 meters. Length - 86 meters. Almost the entire volume of the building is occupied by racks, on which the components necessary for the production of elements of painting chambers and already manufactured modules are placed (photo 2).

USI Italia. Duet with painter

Sorting and moving warehouse contents is handled by a robotic intelligent system. The company has invested in it a colossal amount - 7 million euros! But it's worth every cent paid for it. Its transport module moves at a speed of 3 m/s along a narrow 6-meter passage between racks, delivering a pallet to the right place in a matter of minutes, even from the most remote corner of the warehouse (photo 3,4).

USI Italia. Duet with painter

USI Italia. Duet with painter

Every day, data on warehouse items is loaded into his control system, which will need to be sent to production or to the customer the next day. The system also constantly analyzes the frequency of calls to certain positions in the warehouse. And at night, a tireless robot sorts the contents of warehouse shelves, moving frequently requested items closer to the loading windows and removing “unpopular” items to distant cells.

Large-scale investments are a huge reserve for the future. Today, the USI Italia factory processes 3,000 tons of sheet metal annually. However, the equipment is potentially capable of handling up to 9,000 tons. In other words, if necessary, USI Italia can triple its productivity (photo 5-7).

USI Italia. Duet with painter

USI Italia. Duet with painter

USI Italia. Duet with painter

Made in Italy

All USI Italia products are produced only in Verona. The divisions of USI Brazil in Sao Paulo, USI North-America in New Jersey, USI Iberica in Barcelona deal exclusively with commercial issues and the promotion of Italian cameras in the markets of their respective regions. This approach allows to guarantee the highest quality of products, while maintaining quality control of raw materials and production processes. Each metal sheet arriving at the factory undergoes a mandatory check for compliance with the requirements and standards of USI Italia.

Realm of robots

After getting acquainted with the dynamic warehouse, rather high expectations regarding production are formed. And, I must say, what I saw justifies these expectations.
The USI Italia factory is the realm of robots. Machines here perform all processes that can be automated.

The USI Italia factory is the realm of robots. Machines here perform all processes that can be automated.

The first thing they show us is the production lines for door and body panels for spray booths. The sheet of metal falls on the conveyor and the cutting machine gives it a certain contour in accordance with which panel from this sheet will be made later. Then the sheet of metal that has become figured falls into the machine, which makes the necessary holes in it for bolts, fasteners, plexiglass inserts, and so on. In a minute, this cyberpuncher can make from 250 to 1100 holes, so everything happens almost instantly. The metal sheet is then caught in the gripping clamps of a bending robot, which gives the workpiece its final shape. Bending one panel takes 40 to 70 seconds. As a result, in a matter of minutes, the metal sheet turns into a blank, ready to become the basis of the next body panel of the paint booth. Next, the blank is sent either for revision, where workers turn it into a finished panel, or in storage - to wait for their turn (photo 8-10).

USI Italia. Duet with painter

USI Italia. Duet with painter

USI Italia. Duet with painter

Two types of metal sheets are used here for the manufacture of elements of the paint chambers: galvanized and pre-painted. Galvanized sheets are used for the manufacture of floor elements, heating and ventilation systems. Pre-painted sheets are used to make wall panels, paint booth doors, and so on. The supplier is responsible for painting and galvanizing the sheet metal. The coatings are specially designed for USI Italia according to the manufacturer's specifications. They are of such high quality that the color never leaves the camera elements.

Most of the panels produced here are standard. USI Italia offers 70 basic spray booth configurations to meet the needs of 90% of customers. But the remaining 10% require special flexibility and non-standard solutions. Reprogramming a main production line to fulfill an individual order is a very time-consuming task. To perform non-standard tasks, the factory has additionally installed 4 bending robots from ABB Robotics. It is much easier to change the program of these machines, therefore, small-circulation elements and parts for individual projects are made with their help. Two machines process sheets of metal up to 1500 mm long, one “oppresses” sheets 2000 mm long and another works with panels from 3000 mm long (photo 11-13).

USI Italia. Duet with painter

USI Italia. Duet with painter

USI Italia. Duet with painter

Yet robots can't handle all the work. 35 production employees are engaged in the installation of plexiglass elements, seals, handles and other fittings, product sorting, its transportation and the formation of orders for shipment to customers (photo 14-17).

USI Italia. Duet with painter

USI Italia. Duet with painter

USI Italia. Duet with painter

USI Italia. Duet with painter

Everything that can be assembled in a factory is assembled there. Thus, USI Italia not only maintains its quality standards, but also reduces the time required to assemble the camera at the customer's. Each finished camera element is provided with its own serial number. And on the surface of the panels, a corporate pattern is applied (photo 18).

USI Italia. Duet with painter

Adjustable airflow

Ventilation systems here are only designed and assembled from components manufactured by contractors. However, it is not so important who made the turbine impeller. The important thing is, it works. USI Italia uses industrial type turbines that are reliable and durable. The impeller in them is connected directly to the motor. The absence of a transmission reduces power losses in the operation of the equipment and the cost of maintaining the system (photo 20-21).

USI Italia. Duet with painter

USI Italia. Duet with painter

Advantages of industrial turbines of direct coupling with the engine (without the use of transmission):
• High efficiency and, as a result, energy savings.
• High reliability due to the absence of drive elements (belts, pulleys, etc.).
• No need for maintenance.
• The almost complete absence of influence of the degree of contamination of the air filters on the intensity of the air flow.
• Extended air filter life. Even when they are heavily polluted, the turbines provide intensive movement of air masses.
• Low noise level due to exclusive turbine design.

Siemens is the main supplier of electric motors for ventilation systems in USI ITALIA cells (photo 19). In some cases, these may be motors from other companies - it all depends on where the equipment is delivered and on the operating parameters of the customer's electrical network.

USI Italia. Duet with painter

Electric motors are equipped with inverters that allow you to adjust the intensity of the air flow in the chamber, reducing the speed of the turbines. This business is regulated by pre-configured electronics, which can even work in pairing mode with an airbrush. If the painter stops painting, then the motors reduce the intensity of work. He presses the spray gun button again - the motors accelerate.

Interestingly, the air flow intensity automatically decreases during the preparation of parts and increases during the painting and drying process. But at the same time, the air flow remains uniform. The stability of the air flow is maintained even with various degrees of contamination of the air filters. Where the efficiency of other systems begins to decline, the ventilation in the USI Italia cells continues to work. Air filters need to be changed less often, which is another contribution to the economy of Italian cameras.

USI Italia. Duet with painter
Graphical display of the superiority of industrial turbines of direct coupling with the engine over transmission ventilation systems.

Intelligent Lighting

Without good light in the paint chamber, the master will not be able to do his job with the proper quality. Therefore, the lighting scheme in the USI Italia cameras is thought out to the smallest detail: the placement of lamps, their power, the type of reflectors used and other tricks create perfect lighting without glare on painted surfaces and shadows around objects in the camera (photo 22, 23).

USI Italia. Duet with painter

USI Italia. Duet with painter

The economic point is also thought out here. During various phases of operation (eg drying) part of the lighting modules can be switched off to reduce energy consumption.

By the way, the lighting modules themselves are assembled according to the plug-and-play principle. This is done to facilitate the work of installers and equipment customers. Even a person who is far from familiar with electronics can connect a lighting module when assembling a camera or replace a failed one with a new one.

Faster? Two times!

To a large extent, the system for heating the air circulating in it is responsible for the performance of the spray booth. There are quite a few options for such systems, and each has its own strengths and weaknesses. In the vast majority of modern USI Italia spray booths, heaters are installed that operate on natural or liquefied gas according to the open flame principle. The principle itself has been known for a long time. Instead of heating the heat exchanger, the burner directly heats the air stream with a flame. This greatly improves the efficiency of the burner. In addition, gas fuel initially has a higher efficiency than diesel (97% versus 80%, respectively). But USI Italia engineers went further and designed the burner in such a way that its efficiency doubled the performance of the paint booth. The patented system is called Air Blue. It allows the camera to go into drying mode, raising the temperature from 20 to 80 degrees, in just 3 minutes 45 seconds. For a chamber with a diesel burner, this process takes 15 minutes (photo 24).

USI Italia. Duet with painter

The situation is similar with the preparatory process. If cameras from other manufacturers take up to 40 minutes to reach the parameters required for operation, then half of this time is enough for USI Italia cameras.

But that's not all. Thanks to the warm air recirculation system in the spray booth, up to 85% of the heated air is returned to the system and only 15% is replaced by fresh air from the environment to ensure the flow of the required amount of oxygen to the burner. This contributes to reduced fuel consumption as only a small volume of air needs to be reheated (photo 25).

USI Italia. Duet with painter

Security systems

The number of security measures in the USI Italia spray booths will surprise even the most demanding customer. There are options for all possible and even hypothetical cases.

Vacuum activation sensor - a sensor in the ventilation system that turns off the chamber in case of negative pressure in it. The exhaust turbine is so powerful that it can pump out most of the air in a matter of moments, creating a serious difference in pressure in and out of the chamber. Because of this, the camera may receive mechanical damage (damage to the ceiling is the most common nuisance in such cases). The sensor turns off the chamber already when a negative pressure of -0.2 mbar or -0.0002 atm is created in it, thereby eliminating the risk of creating a vacuum in it.

Air Blue burners are equipped with a gas pressure stabilizer and a dual valve system. One valve is the main working valve, and the second is the control valve responsible for stopping the flow of gas into the burner when the main valve fails.

Minimum flow sensor. If the air filters are clogged and the amount of air is greatly reduced, the sensor turns off the burner to avoid the accumulation of gas combustion products in it.

Air Blue open flame burners. Developed by USI Italia specialists. They work on compressed and liquefied gas. Certified by DNV (one of the leading certification societies in the world). Advantages:

• Efficiency 97%.
• Reduced fuel consumption (up to 30% lower than traditional systems using closed flame burners).
• Fast achievement of the set temperature.
• Increased stability of maintaining the specified temperature regime.
• Reduced painting and drying cycle times (up to 35%).
• Increased productivity (up to 55%).

Exclusive warm air recirculation system in the spray booth:

• The drying process takes place with 100% of the air volume in the chamber (the system is indispensable for fast and optimal drying of high-viscosity and water-based paints).
• Possibility to set the amount of air to be replaced (in percent) during the drying phase.
• Uniform temperature distribution.
• High level of energy saving as the system only heats up the heated air once and does not reheat it.
• Increased productivity of the paint booth due to the use of temperature modes preset in the system.

Overheating sensors set to 125 and 135 degrees. If the temperature of the air flow at the outlet of the burner exceeds this temperature threshold, the sensors automatically turn off the burner.

Turbines of the ventilation system are equipped with a special anti-spark hoop located in the wind tunnel around the impeller. If, for some inexplicable reason, the turbine impeller breaks off its mounting, then the steel blades will collide with soft copper, which will not allow them to strike a spark, as they would in the case of contact with steel.

In addition to the above, USI Italia chambers are also equipped with minimum and maximum fuel pressure sensors, unit alignment sensors and many other security measures, describing which one could write a whole book. Most of these security measures are ignored by cheap camera manufacturers. As a result, imaginary savings sometimes lead to serious losses.

Electronic controller

All working phases in the USI Italia spray booths are controlled by a computer. A color touch screen, an intuitive interface and a huge number of available modes ensure maximum efficiency of the equipment in a variety of tasks (photo 26).

USI Italia. Duet with painter

For advanced users who use specific materials that require special conditions in their work, there is the possibility of customizing modes. You can take an existing mode, correct it and save it as a custom one. Or you can even create your own template that meets the highest requirements.

It is possible to do without all these subtle and not always appropriate settings, using the convenient and intuitive interface of the Easy Print System. EPS allows you to set the camera operation mode with a few touches on the touch screen, based on the type of materials used and the number of elements to be painted.

The electronic control system provides for the possibility of remote control of the operation of the equipment. To do this, you need to connect it to the Internet and through a special application installed on a remote computer, laptop or tablet, you can monitor the status of the painting chambers, selected operating modes, phase duration and much more. Remote control allows the manager running a service station with multiple spray booths to monitor the performance of each booth. Analysis of the collected data makes it possible to understand where the equipment works with maximum efficiency, when it fails, whether the cause of the failure is an incorrectly selected mode, the need for preventive maintenance, or a human factor.

USI Italia. Duet with painter

Michele Stradiotto, Regional Sales Manager, Marketing Manager:
“Imagine that a service station has 2-3 cameras at its disposal. It's hard to keep track of everyone. The digital assistant allows the workshop manager to monitor the processes in the cameras on his laptop or PC. When the work is completed, the manager can, for example, find out why this or that operation took one painter less time than the second. You can compare and understand if they did the same job, then the problem is in the equipment or there is a human factor. You can see how much fuel, electricity, air was used, which applications were launched, when work started and when it was completed. That is, the manager at any time can control everything that happens at his station.”

Call to a friend

The spray booth electronic control system with Internet access is not only a remote control system, but also the possibility of promptly receiving assistance from USI Italia engineers. In the event that the owner of the camera cannot solve the problem on his own or find the source of the malfunction, you can contact the on-duty specialist. The engineer will analyze all systems and either tell you where to look for the problem, or schedule a scheduled camera service (if repairs are needed).

The company has five engineers whose job it is to assist USI Italia regional paint equipment installers with site visits. If the assemblers of the spray booths of a regional dealer cannot complete the task (for example, in the case of an individual project), then an Italian specialist comes to their aid, supervises the work and launches the equipment.

In Ukraine, the official importer of USI Italia painting equipment is Top Lak Ukraine. Highly qualified specialists of the company regularly undergo training in Italy, which helps to provide a full range of professional services for the selection, installation and maintenance of highly efficient USI Italia painting equipment.

The main advantages of USI Italia spray booths:

• The power of the air flow is regulated by inverters, which are equipped with the electric motors of the suction and discharge turbines.
• Lack of a peak power consumption during the start of the equipment, thanks to the inverters.
• Energy saving in the process of preparatory work.
• Possibility of setting and remembering settings for frequently used modes with setting individual ratios of the duration of various working phases.
• Possibility of regulation of intensity of an air stream during different phases of work.
• Intermediate drying phase (especially important when using water-based paints).
• Automatic drying mode with the ability to control its duration and temperature in the chamber.
• Electronically regulated air pressure in the spray booth (by changing the speed of rotation of the turbine motor, without the need to install additional regulators).
• Software update via USB.
• Option to pause the process in the painting phase.
• Display of information on the touch screen of the control system in the user's language.

Alexander Kelm
Kyiv - Verona - Kyiv

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