Development Partner for Next-Generation Maskless Painting

Request Number REQ2349963
Due Date September 29, 2017
Author Seh-Rin Sung
Request for Proposal Details
RFP Title
Development Partner for Next-Generation Maskless Painting
RFP Description

NineSigma, representing ABB Group, seeks a development partner for next-generation technology that enables pattern paint on automotive body without using masking tape.


ABB is engaged in a robotic painting solution business for automobiles on production lines, etc., and the leader in this field. For pattern painting on the roof tops of automobiles, the areas outside the target sites is masked with tape. Painting by their bell-type rotary atomizer yields as high paint material use efficiency as 70%. Still, the client desires to further reduce the paint material to be wasted onto the mask tape and also increase operational efficiency by nullifying the process of applying and removing such a mask tape, by developing a maskless paint solution.


ABB has paid attention to a print head consisting of a plurality of nozzles and valves as a potential solution. However, they have not yet explored the optimum design of the print head structure and its control mechanism so as to uniformly paint without gaps on a flat surface. Maskless pattern printng in general is already applied to such products as organic solar cells and steel plate substrates. The recent trend of producing larger objects by using 3D printing has inspired the use of an inkjet printer to decorate sizable articles. Hence, ABB seeks a development partner that are skilled and experienced in maskless printing or coating.


They expect technologies with proven records in other fields, e.g., large-area and flat surface such as steel plate, small-area and non-flat surface such as electronic component.  

Key Success Criteria

Anticipated Coated surface

  • Shape/size: Large three-dimensional curved surfaces like an automotive body or a part of the body, e.g., roof or hood.
  • Surface material: Metals, such as steel plates and aluminum; FRP and CFRP are also envisioned for the future.


Example of anticipated paints

  • Paint type 1
    • Raw material: Titanium oxide, zinc white, red iron oxide, iron black, chrome yellow, carbon black
    • Particle diameter: 100 nm–1 μm
  • Paint type 2
    • Raw material: Aluminum flake, mica, pearl
    • Particle diameter: Up to 30 μm
  • Viscosity: 20–400 cps
  • Surface tension: 20–75 mN/N
  • Working temperature: 20–30 °C

Development goal of the technology

  • Can paint stripes and other patterns without using masking tape
  • Can paint smoothly without gaps in the pattern
  • Can paint three-dimensional curved surfaces
  • Can minimize the paint outside the target site


Application experience on large curved surfaces is not mandatory. Any technology is welcome if it enables seamless-pattern paint on flat substrates. The client will provide, to the selected proposer, necessary supports, e.g., robot-hand integration, performance and quality improvement, or parts procurement, to establish the technology.



Possible Approaches

Possible approaches are, but not limited to:

  • Precisely injecting minute droplets from a plurality of arranged discharge ports and uniformly applying them
    • Print head consisting of nozzles and valves
    • Jet dispenser
    • Others
  • Repeating paint in a stripe shape and connecting edges smoothly
    • Curtain flow coater
    • Slot die coater
    • Others
  • Combination of the discharge technology as described above and high-precision robot arm control


Preferred Collaboration types
Items to be submitted

Anticipated Project Phases or Project Plan

Respondents should submit proposals using the attached Response Template.


The client will review submitted proposals and possibly ask clarifying questions before selecting the most suitable candidates for collaboration. The client will select the best candidate(s) through evaluations. During the selection process, the client may execute non-disclosure agreements (NDA) with selected respondent(s), seek further information disclosure, and discuss specific development targets or potential opportunities.

The client will execute necessary agreement(s) with the selected respondent(s) and move to the advanced development phase. The project is managed by a time slot of five months, will be reviewed at the end of each slot, and gone through modification in schedule, target etc.. Specifics of any collaboration will be determined through consultation with the concerned parties.


Items to be Included in the Proposal

Responses will use the Proposal Template which is linked to the “attachments“ shown at the bottom of the link <<NINE-SIGHTS-LINK-EN>> and include the following items:


  • Overview of the technology
    • Classification of printing technology: Ink-jet/dispenser/coating/other (     )
    • Principle/configuration of the technology
    • Uniqueness and advantages of the technology

·       Development stage: Laboratory testing under consideration/field study under consideration/already in practical use/other (    )

·       Current performance of the technology 

  • Applicable surface
    • Material: Steel plate/aluminum/other (   )
    • Shape: Line/plane/curved surface
  • Applicable paints
    • Raw material
    • Particle diameter: (      to    ) μm
    • Viscosity: (     to     ) cps
  • Minimum distance to the coatable surface: (   ) mm
  • Dimensions of the coating head: (   ×   ×    ) cm
  • Coating performance
    • Coatable pattern: Stripe/rectangle/ellipse/other (     )
    • Size of the coated pattern (minimum and maximum)
    • Flatness of the coated surface/quality of the edge (Please provide actual images.)

·       Questions and requests regarding the development project

·       Expected forms and conditions for the collaboration

Area of Interest
Request Priority