Problem Solved — Robotic Paint Booth Provides Opportunities for Students and Protective Coatings for Bucky Badger Statues

If you make your way to Madison, Wisconsin, and Dane County this summer, you will likely see some of the 85 Bucky Badger statues that are a part of a large, public charity art event, Bucky on Parade. Started about a decade ago as “Cows on Parade,” the revived event now features fiberglass statues of the infamous University of Wisconsin – Madison mascot that are painted by local and regional artists and placed throughout the area. The statues are sponsored by corporate partners, with proceeds supporting Garding Against Cancer, a campaign designed to raise funds and awareness for cancer research and care in Wisconsin.

One of the partners involved in the growing success of Bucky on Parade is Madison College, a local technical college. When the Madison Area Sports Commission — the founders of the event — brought up that the statues need a weatherproof and graffiti-proof coating, Madison College knew they could provide a solution that would not only coat the Bucky Badger statues but also provide educational opportunities for their students.

Madison College partnered with DECO Tools Incorporated to create a specialized painting application that would house a Fanuc robot in a Global Finishing Solutions Open Face Paint Booth to spray clear coat on the statues. Students in multiple different programs at the college assisted along the way to get the system up and running:

  • The robotics program worked in developing the concept of the paint process and worked with DECO to identify a solution.
  • The mechanical design program students designed the fixturing within the booth.
  • The fabrication that was needed was done by the cabinet making shop, as well as the metal fabrication program.
  • The construction program students poured the concrete for bases of the statues.
  • The auto collision program faculty and students — who are experts on manually applying paint — assisted the robotics program to maneuver the motion of the robot and verify it is done correctly while spraying.

Although Bucky Badger is not the official mascot of Madison College — it is the property of the University of Wisconsin – Madison — Madison College’s contributions to Bucky on Parade is symbolic of a longer academic partnership between the two schools. Madison College is the number one transfer institution to UW-Madison with the highest number of transfer students on campus from the area technical school.

At the end of the summer, the Buckys will come off display and receive another clear coat before heading to their final destinations — the Bucky’s sponsors. The Open Face Paint Booth robotic cell will continue to be used in the Robotics program at Madison College and the students will continue to learn how to program the cell and contribute to the low attrition rate of the program. Global Finishing Solutions is proud to be part of this great event, and we look forward to continuing to support the robotics program in the future.

For more information on Bucky on Parade, please visit their website.

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