Ryan Rosandich, Associate Professor, UMD-Industrial Engineering
In this project, a large-scale prototype for a robotic roadway message painter was developed, built, and tested. The system is a gantry-style robot capable of painting a four-by-eight-foot area and is based on off-the-shelf linear motion components, readily available motion control hardware, and commercial operator interface software. The system is mounted on a modified trailer that can be manually rolled around for positioning or towed behind a vehicle. The system is equipped with a standard automatic paint head and airless paint pump. Software was developed for the system that enables it to paint a variety of characters and symbols on the roadway. An operator interface was also developed that allows an operator to easily select the painting operation to be conducted and to monitor and control the actual painting process. The software resides in a laptop computer that communicates with the robotic painting system in real-time using a dedicated Ethernet connection. The system was used to determine the feasibility of painting with or without stencils and to determine many design parameters for the eventual development of a commercially viable system for painting symbols and messages on roadways. It is expected that the system will eventually enable states, counties, and municipalities to improve the safety, productivity, and flexibility of their pavement marking operations.