Design Studio Develops Graffiti Removal Robot


Italian creative consulting firm and design studio Valerio Cometti + V12 Design have recently unveiled a new robotic technology capable of analyzing exterior facades and removing graffiti “tags.”

While the differences between street art and vandalism graffiti can vary from city to city or the individual perceiving it, those beset with vandalism issues could soon have the option of employing a device to help detect and paint over unwanted tags.

Known as T.R.S 001—short for “Tag Removal System”—the robotic project aims to contain the proliferation of “tags” through geometric and chromatic analysis of exterior walls. The autonomous machine runs on four omnidirectional wheels and is noted to be roughly the same size as a common humidifier.

To remove exterior graffiti accurately and effectively, the T.R.S 001 features a set of cameras, paint nozzles and an extendable arm capable of reaching heights 1-3 meters (3.3-9.8 feet) high. The robot's exterior is also noted to feature RGB LED strips, which both indicate the robot’s operating status and serve as proximity sensors.

According to reports, the cameras first detect the geometry of a façade, recording the size and position of doors, windows and gutters. The cameras also detect the paint’s color already on the wall.

Inside the robotic machine houses several canisters of paint of different colors, where it can then mix the color needed to cover the detected graffiti tag. Once created, T.R.S 001 then moves back and forth, applying one to two coats of paint until the tag is successfully overcoated.

Graffiti Awareness

Back in February, the Phoenix Neighborhood Services Department worked to remove graffiti from residential and commercial areas in the city.

Not just a random scheduled cleanup, however, the incitive is part of the city’s Graffiti Free Phoenix Awareness Month. The month-long event has been practiced for eight years.

Created by the Phoenix NSD, #GraffitiFreePHX has developed into a city-wide event that encourages residents, neighborhoods and community volunteers to remove and prevent graffiti. As a result of its popularity, in January 2021, Mayor Kate Gallego signed a proclamation officially making the month of February the Annual Graffiti Free Phoenix Awareness Month, further promoting the program.

“Graffiti is a crime. Not only does graffiti damage the property that has been tagged, but it also lowers property values throughout the entire neighborhood,” explained Ginnie Ann Sumner, the co-chair of the Citizens Law Enforcement Anti-Graffiti Initiative, a group of Phoenix community leaders who partnered with police to combat graffiti, at the time. “It has also been found that if graffiti isn't removed in a timely manner and allowed to stay visible, it will only attract more graffiti.”

Additional studies report that if graffiti is removed within 24 hours of being applied, its 90% less likely to return to the same area.

Through a group that the NSD has dubbed, “Graffiti Busters,” teams work to remove graffiti from properties with permission from property owners and verifies that a permission slip is on file or obtain one from the owner. Graffiti Busters staff provide the property owner with information on the program and offer free color-matched paint whenever graffiti is removed from the property.

The group also reports that anyone can call to report graffiti and invites the community to spread the word by sharing #GraffitiFreePHX on social media, in addition to stories of how they’re fighting back against the vandalism and keeping their neighborhood graffiti-free.

In 2020, it was reported that the city of Phoenix used 9,800 gallons of paint to cover over 47,988 graffiti sites across the entire city. Since its inaugural year in 2016, the city reportedly removed 240,744 instances of graffiti.

From July 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021, crews have tallied 51,797 graffiti removals.

Other Graffiti Removing Tech

In 2018, architectural maintenance company Prosoco (Lawrence, Kansas) released a new graffiti-removing product that is more powerful than its predecessor. The company said at the time that the Defacer Eraser Graffiti Remover replaces the Graffiti Wipe and is a liquid formula that more effectively eliminates graffiti.

Formulated based on contractor feedback, Prosoco says the product offers more effective penetration to melt away graffiti while also featuring the same ecological advantages as its other graffiti-removing products with biodegradable components. The company adds that the Graffiti Remover was designed to have a shorter dwell time, allowing for faster project completion.

Graffiti Remover is designed to work with the company’s Blok-Guard anti-graffiti treatments and is water-rinsable and VOC compliant. The company notes that the product works with substrates that include terracotta, brick, concrete, terrazzo, stone, wood and metal.


Tagged categories: Anti-graffiti coatings; Asia Pacific; Coatings Technology; EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa); Graffiti; Graffiti removal; Latin America; North America; Research and development; Robotics; Technology; Tools & Equipment - Commercial; Z-Continents

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