Auto-body work is labor intensive, but 3M wants to automate it. Here's what it looks like.

The company is marrying its oldest tech - abrasives - with the latest advancements in robotics


November 2, 2023


3M's Finesse-it paint repair system in use at a BMW plant in Germany. "We've been automating industrial processes for many, many years," said Scott Barnett, 3M robotics director. "It's only recently the technology has gotten to the point we can do this - moving lines, flex geometry, very sensitive applications."

3M opened its first robotics lab more than 30 years ago to help customers figure out how to automate with 3M products.

But only in recent years, while jobs continue to outnumber available workers, has 3M really started to come out and say: Here are the robotic solutions to your labor shortages.

"That's the direction our customers are headed. They can't get people," said Scott Barnett, 3M's director of robotics and automation application engineering. "There's a major labor shortage, so they're all looking for ways to automate."


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