FASEK - Fully mechanized, Sensor Based Vertical Down Welding for the Section Fabrication [IGF-No. 16865 N]

Responsible research centres: RWTH Aachen, ISF (Prof. Reisgen)

Time period: 01.01.2011 - 30.06.2014

Final report: CMT 29/2014


Motivation / Initial Situation

The German Shipyards have to introduce highly efficient and fully automated manufacturing technologies to deal with the increasing competitive pressure due to the worldwide expansion of the shipbuilding capacities.

The Fully Mechanized, Sensor Based Vertical Down Welding is such a manufacturing technology. Compared to the vertical up welding the advantages are a higher operating efficiency and higher weld seam quality. In addition the shipyards will become more independent of the skills of the welding personal.

Summary of the planned object and actions

The object of this research project is to provide a fully mechanized, sensor based vertical down welding system for the section fabrication to the industry. Currently the vertical seams are welded manually. This system will allow the industry to perform this welding task fully mechanized on a butt joint and a T-joint. For this purpose 2 welding systems are developed: a Both Sided GMA Vertical Down Welding System and a Laser Hybrid Vertical Down Welding System with Opposed GMA Welding Process. The gap between the two join partners changes during the welding process. The measurement of this gap will be performed by an optical sensor system during the welding process. The Sensor Systems provides the data to the machine control to adapt the position and the parameters of the welding processes. This means a huge challenge for the whole welding system, especially if sudden changes of the gap width occur, because the GMA welding parameters and the laser welding parameters have to be adapted to this dynamic situation. By using the Laser Hybrid Welding with Opposed GMA Process the goal is to be able to join work pieces with a thickness of up to 12 mm while coping with variable joining gaps up to 3 mm.

In Order to achieve the goals preliminary welding trials are carried out to gain welding parameter sets for each plate thickness and gap width. The influence of welding parameters onto the welding result will be determined by using statistic process models (DoE). The stability of the arc welding processes is determined and monitored by measurement of the current and voltage of each welding trial. In addition examinations are carried out to build up the control loop. These include test series to determine the capabilities of the sensor system for seam tracking and measurement of the gap width. Then test series to check and optimize the control loop are carried out. Finally field tests on the shipyards of the project partners are performed. In this way the adaptability of the developed welding systems to the industrial manufacturing process will be examined.

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