Published on 23 January 2013
The Hephaestos ESPRIT 6042 project to develop an intelligent robotic welding system for ship repair was completed, and received a complimentary report by the project officer and his review team. Partners from seven countries worked together to complete this technically challenging programme which used multiple sensors to provide information via a knowledge based system (KBS) for welding ship panels.
A vision survey system (Technical University of Eindhoven, Nehterlands) views from above the faired and tacked replacement panel. It extracts data on component type, dimensions and orientation. An operator can edit this welding task to take account of the need to modify the size and lengths of welds.
Simulation software is also integrated to enable robot path programmes for new components to be developed and tested (Aleph Technologies, France). The KBS (Algosystems, Greece) compiles programs which include instructions for a vision sensor (Servo robot-interface by Lund University, Sweden), arc parameter sensing (SAPRI robot supplier, Italy) ultrasonic sensor (Instituto de Automatia Industrial, Spain) and the appropriate welding process models (Lund, Sweden and TWI, UK) to the robot which welds the component automatically, avoiding randomly-placed struts, and adjusting trajectories to the precise position and lengths of joints.
Although simple in outline, this integration was an extremely complex task made more so in the last weeks of the project with the integration of a second robot into the cell.
The ship repair yard (I&T Kalogeridis, Greece) continued user studies while producing components for its repair activities.
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