Robotic Weld Seam Track

May 30, 2014

Australian First!

ABB WeldGuide III
for Real-Time Adaptive Seam Tracking

Application:  Industrial Welding (Robotic)

The Problem:

Robotic welding applications require parts to be accurately presented for welding within +/-1mm precision.  Variations in part placement can lead to poor weld penetration or even misplaced welds.  In addition, thermal effects during welding can distort the parts during the welding process.  A major application issue is the ability to follow a seam or weld path on particularly long parts.  The thermal distortion can result in misplaced welds during the weld, in some cases up to 30mm off track in a two metre long weld seam. An intelligent system was needed in order to effectively automate industrial robotic welding.  The aim was to enable adaptive robotic welding by automatically tracking seams in material, resulting in real-time weld path adjustments and a perfect weld. CSF has previously trialled and integrated weld seam tracking using Optical Laser Tracking, which employs the use of a laser vision system to track the weld.  However, there are limitations with this method for some applications, such as accessibility, effects from light distortion, serviceability, and in some cases, cost.

ABB Automatic Seam Tracking Technology:

CSF has successfully trialled and integrated ABB WeldGuide III Technology to achieve automatic seam tracking for industrial welding applications.  This technology measures the current through the wire electrode, ensuring that it follows the seam, even if the path is distorted during welding. The level of adjustment is infinite, so welds are guaranteed to be perfectly placed, no matter how long the seam or how distorted the part.  The system is also capable of tracking through existing weld tacks, making it ideal for industrial fabrication. ABB ‘WeldGuide III’ includes functionality for Centreline Tracking and Lap Joint Tracking.  ABB ‘WeldGuide III Advanced’ includes functionality for Adaptive Filling for inconsistent cavity size, and Multi-Pass Tracking.  Typical welding joints include T Joints, Lap Joints, Butt Joints with V groove, and Corner Joints for thick material. The robotic equipment was integrated with a Fronius TPS5000 Watercooled welding unit, supplied by SMENCO Australia.

Applications:

  • Industrial welding
  • High volume production
  • Less requirement for part constraint
  • Long seam welds
  • Heavy duty fabrication
  • Truck and rail components

ABB WeldGuide III technology has been successfully implemented in many applications in the overseas industrial market.  However, this is the first time this technology has been trialled and integrated in the Australian market. Successful trials by CSF Robotics in conjunction with ABB have led to a bright future in the application of this technology within the Australian market.

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