Automatic loading of raw parts in paint shop installation

Prize: 15.000 €

Status: completed



Ficosa is a Tier 1 Automotive supplier for many OEM’s. One of the manufactured products is an exterior mirror painted in body color. A mirror actually consists of 2-3 different parts that must be painted and later assembled.

The challenge

Loading of raw parts for painting is fully manual and today performed as follows:

  • Operators have to take raw parts from the box and fix it on a rack that is used to move the parts through the paint shop.
  • Dimensions of the racks are the same for all parts, but fixing points and quantity of parts per rack are individual for each part.
  • Parts must be loaded on both sides of the rack, however the conveyor is not equipped in turn station  (see attached documents).

In the worst case there are 54 parts/rack. Conveyor is moving with a fixed speed of 1,4 m/min, including gap between racks, it give a loading time per rack of 60 sec. However average quantity of loaded racks per hour is around 45 due to color changes and some downtimes. Therefore, a potential option of off-line loading can give additional time if buffer of loaded racks is considered. Parts must be loaded very precisely in order to guarantee the same position (distance, angle etc.) for painting robots. And those parts must be tightly held on the racks to avoid falling down during the painting process.

What Ficosa is looking for

Ficosa is looking for a new Loading process to be performed automatically without manual intervention. The objective is to reduce loading staff and replace them by robots.

This tournament will have the following rounds and expected submissions:

First round

A 2-3 pages MS Word document including:

  • Description of the high level process to automate the parts loading
  • Type of proposed robots that would be used
  • Initial estimate of the required investment
  • Impact on the current operations

Second round

  • Detailed design of the process including target times
  • Suppliers of robots proposed and related quotations
  • Detailed estimate of the required investment for the set up of the new installation
  • Detailed impact on the current operations 

If required, during this round we will provide additional detailed information on the current operations, dimensions of the facilities, etc.

Third round

  • Video conference to introduce the finalist to the client and proposed solution
  • Video with a simulation of the proposed solution in a demo environment
  • Proposal of a visit to a demo environment at supplier facilities to see the simulation
  • Final quotation for the implementation project

Evaluation criteria

  • Proposed solution must be feasible to implement without necessity of paint shop line modification. (see attached documents)
  • New system has to support all fixing points designs of Ficosa painted parts (see attached documents).
  • New system must work consistently in the time, with the slight deformation of racks fixing points due to the handling of the robot itself (see maximum deformation variability)
  • Part surface (no marks or deformations) as well as 3D dimensions must remain the same to don’t cause related painting appearance defects afterwards.


This is a 3 Rounds tournament:

First round: 4 weeks + 1 week for evaluation

Second round: 6 weeks + 1,5 weeks for evaluation

Third round: 4 weeks + 1 week for final evaluation

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    Good Luck!