Sensor-enabled multi-robot system for automated welding and in-process ultrasonic NDE

Vasilev, Momchil and MacLeod, Charles N. and Loukas, Charalampos and Javadi, Yashar and Vithanage, Randika K. W. and Lines, David and Mohseni, Ehsan and Pierce, Stephen Gareth and Gachagan, Anthony (2021) Sensor-enabled multi-robot system for automated welding and in-process ultrasonic NDE. Sensors, 21 (15). 5077. ISSN 1424-8220

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    Abstract

    The growth of the automated welding sector and emerging technological requirements of Industry 4.0 have driven demand and research into intelligent sensor-enabled robotic systems. The higher production rates of automated welding have increased the need for fast, robotically-deployed Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE), replacing current time-consuming manually deployed inspection. This paper presents the development and deployment of a novel multi-robot system for automated welding and in-process NDE, achieved through real-time external positional control and sensor-based adaptive motion. The inspection capabilities of the system are demonstrated at three different stages of the manufacturing process: after all welding passes are complete; between individual welding passes; and during live arc welding deposition. The specific advantages and disadvantages of each approach are outlined and the defect detection capability is demonstrated through inspection of artificially induced defects. The developed system offers an early defect detection opportunity compared to current inspection methods and could enable in-process weld repair leading to higher production efficiency, reduced rework rates and lower production costs.

    ORCID iDs

    Vasilev, Momchil, MacLeod, Charles N. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4364-9769, Loukas, Charalampos, Javadi, Yashar ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6003-7751, Vithanage, Randika K. W. ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1023-2564, Lines, David, Mohseni, Ehsan ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0819-6592, Pierce, Stephen Gareth ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0312-8766 and Gachagan, Anthony ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9728-4120;