Holistic and adaptive robotic welding

Rights statement
Awarding institution
  • University of Strathclyde
Date of award
  • 2022
Thesis identifier
  • T16356
Person Identifier (Local)
  • 201859028
Qualification Level
Qualification Name
Department, School or Faculty
  • Welding is an integral process of the heavy-manufacturing sector, with the welding market projected to reach $28.66 billion by 2028, alongside an expected 60% global shortage of manual welders by 2025. The upcoming deficit of skilled labour and the need for increased production demand can be addressed by investigating, developing, and integrating automated welding solutions in the production line. The current level of automation in the welding sector is characterized by manual robot programming of welding paths, utilization of custom fixed welding cells and cumbersome allocation of welding parameters. As such, the capability of the current automated welding solutions is limited to cope with highly customized parts, fixed user specifications, and low volume production, making Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) reluctant to adopt robotic welding technology. A viable future for manufacturing can be secured by introducing, sensor-enabled robotic welding systems which are able to realize flexibility and increased degree of adaption between jobs, ensuring repeatable high-quality weldments under minimum human input and supervision. This thesis presents on novel research and a series of contributions to the field of automated robotic arc welding through the conceptualization, design, development, and deployment of a holistic and adaptive robotic welding system, demonstrating fully automated multi-pass welding for single-sided V-groove geometries. The proposed flexible robotic welding solution is underpinned by a novel real-time and purely sensor-driven motion module. The integration of a multi-pass welding system allows the automated sequence and adaptive generation of the welding schedule and allocation of welding parameters, based on a novel cost-function concept with immediate effects on the direct automated robotic welding costs. The developed advancements of a user-initiated approach for dynamic localization of the specimen in the scene, generation of welding paths along with the adaption of the torch based on the welding configuration, enhance the flexibility of the system by eliminating programming overhead between tasks and minimizing human input. The developed technology demonstrator features automated and enhanced welding capabilities that can be applied with immediate application in nuclear, offshore and oil and gas sectors.
Advisor / supervisor
  • Dobie, Gordon
  • MacLeod, Charles
Resource Type