Apellix and Akzo Nobel work on a computer-controlled spray painting drone

Apellix and Akzo Nobel are collaborating on an autonomous drone as a smarter way to apply paint.

A graphic showing a drone and the person controlling it.

Apellix’s custom-built drone is tethered to the ground for its power and coating supply, but has the freedom to fly autonomously depending on the area to be coated.

According to Akzo Nobel it uses unique software flight control to more accurately apply coatings, and it’s also able to capture valuable painting data.

Robert Dahlstrom, Apellix Founder and CEO, says: “While drones fly really well, robots perform repetitive tasks really well and Apellix has been able to combine the best of both worlds. Building upon our software-controlled robots that make contact with a structure to take steel and paint thickness measurements, we’ve attached a specially designed spray painting system to a custom drone controlled by computers.”

“Actually quite challenging”

Michael Hindmarsh, Akzo Nobel Venture Lead, is impressed with the rate of progress in their work to develop the spray painting drone. “Developing a drone is easy. Spraying paint is relatively easy too. But developing a computer-controlled drone that can spray paint is actually quite challenging. A lot of skill and expertise has to go into getting the drone to apply a good quality coating in a consistent and reproducible manner. That’s where our collaboration comes in.”

The benefits of using this type of drone, such as reduced application time and less waste to the environment, as well as increased safety for applying paint at height, are well worth the intense effort.

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