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Welding robot system applied in sub-sea pipeline-installation

Luo Yu (Beijing Higher Institution Engineering Research Center of Energy Engineering Advanced Joining Technology, Beijing Institute of Petrochemical Technology, Beijing, P.R.China)
Jiao Xiangdong (Beijing Higher Institution Engineering Research Center of Energy Engineering Advanced Joining Technology, Beijing Institute of Petrochemical Technology, Beijing, China)
Zhou Canfeng (Beijing Higher Institution Engineering Research Center of Energy Engineering Advanced Joining Technology, Beijing Institute of Petrochemical Technology, Beijing, China)
Chen Jiaqing (Beijing Higher Institution Engineering Research Center of Energy Engineering Advanced Joining Technology, Beijing Institute of Petrochemical Technology, Beijing, China)
Han Suxin (Beijing Higher Institution Engineering Research Center of Energy Engineering Advanced Joining Technology, Beijing Institute of Petrochemical Technology, Beijing, China)

Industrial Robot

ISSN: 0143-991x

Article publication date: 19 January 2015

Abstract

Purpose

The aim of this study was to develop a new generation of automatic systems based on cutting-edge design and practical welding physics to minimize downtime caused by defects and machine faults on the barges. Automatic welding has been used frequently on offshore pipeline projects.

Design/methodology/approach

An automated welding robot system for sub-sea pipeline installation was constructed. The system utilized the double-car double-torch welding, which is light-weight and compact, suited for offshore applications. Several state-of-the-art technologies were integrated into the control system design, including a heterogeneous network based on EtherCAT technology, network communications based on CANopen, motor synchronization, all-position welding, etc. In addition, the utilization of the CAN bus reduced the number of cable lines and increased the extensibility of the proposed welding robot system. An internal clamp with copper shoes assured a nice root weld and narrow bevel design and the welding efficiency was improved accordingly.

Findings

The trial was carried out to verify the rationality and effectiveness of the proposed automated system. The deposition rate of the backing welding could reach 17.78 kg/h; the average time for each welding was 340 s. This system was unique in that it features a dual-torch welding head that allowed for the deposition of one run with twice as much material as a single torch head. The experiment showed that the double-vehicle double-torch mode can greatly improve the welding efficiency of pipeline installation during the welding process.

Research limitations/implications

The automated welding robot system will be applied to offshore pipeline projects.

Originality/value

This robot is the first submarine pipeline installation welding robot to use a heterogeneous network based on EtherCAT technology. Various aspects of the submarine pipeline installation welding robot’s design and performance were discussed, including mechanical body design, control system design and welding process specification.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

This work is supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China (no.51305037).The authors thank Accdon for its linguistic assistance during the preparation of this manuscript.

Citation

Yu, L., Xiangdong, J., Canfeng, Z., Jiaqing, C. and Suxin, H. (2015), "Welding robot system applied in sub-sea pipeline-installation", Industrial Robot, Vol. 42 No. 1, pp. 83-92. https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-06-2014-0360

Publisher

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2015, Emerald Group Publishing Limited