The 3M Robotic Paint Repair System employs a qualified vision system, proprietary software, and sanding and polishing process that uses 3M abrasive products to fix defects. (3M/PRNewswire photo)

The technique, developed by robotics experts at 3M, was recognized at the SURCAR Detroit Conference

October 28, 2021

ST. PAUL, Minn.—The 3M Abrasive Systems Division’s years-long effort to develop a better method for perfecting car finishes led to its commercialization of an innovative technology in 2021. The team behind the development of that technology, the 3M™ Finesse-it™ Robotic Paint Repair System, won the Award for Technique at the 2021 SURCAR Detroit Conference, a major international conference on automotive body finishing.

The Finesse-it Robotic Paint Repair System uses a qualified vision system and proprietary software to identify and fix defects. The system guides the robots to effectively repair the defects via a sanding and polishing process that uses 3M abrasive products, according to a release from 3M.

3M Director of Robotics and Automation Carl Doeksen called the SURCAR Award “a fantastic recognition of the value and impact of this robotic system, and the trailblazing work of our 3M Abrasive Systems Division.”

“For decades, paint imperfections on vehicles coming off the assembly line have been detected and repaired manually, a labor-intensive process that produces inconsistent results,” said Carl Doeksen, director, Robotics and Automation, 3M, in a statement. “Our new 3M™ Finesse-it™ Robotic Paint Repair System, developed in collaboration with our integrator partners, automates the process, delivering repairs consistently, efficiently, and of the highest quality.”

The SURCAR award was the second earned by the 3M™ Finesse-it™ Robotic Paint Repair System team, which also won the 2020 3M Circle of Technical Excellence and Innovation (CTEI) corporate level award. The CTEI award recognizes “exceptional individuals and teams for their outstanding contributions to 3M and for setting the standard for 3M technical excellence and innovation worldwide,” the company said in the release.

Accepting the award at the SURCAR Conference was the two-person team that made the presentation: Scott Barnett, director of application engineering, robotics, and automation, 3M; and Marc Tornero, AI vision and robotics lead engineer (Global Paint), Ford Motor Company.

More information on the robotic paint repair system is available at

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