The purpose of this paper was to propose a method based on an Artificial Neural Network and a real-time vision algorithm, to learn welding skills in industrial robotics.
By using an optic camera to measure the bead geometry (width and height), the authors propose a real-time computer vision algorithm to extract training patterns and to enable an industrial robot to acquire and learn autonomously the welding skill. To test the approach, an industrial KUKA robot and a welding gas metal arc welding machine were used in a manufacturing cell.
Several data analyses are described, showing empirically that industrial robots can acquire the skill even if the specific welding parameters are unknown.
The approach considers only stringer beads. Weave bead and bead penetration are not considered.
With the proposed approach, it is possible to learn specific welding parameters despite of the material, type of robot or welding machine. This is due to the fact that the feedback system produces automatic measurements that are labelled prior to the learning process.
The main contribution is that the complex learning process is reduced into an input-process-output system, where the process part is learnt automatically without human supervision, by registering the patterns with an automatically calibrated vision system.
The authors wish to thank the financial support of PROMEP through scholarship grant UADY222 to J.F. Aviles-Viñas during his doctoral studies. Authors also want to acknowledge the Mexican Science and Technology Council (CONACyT) for the financial support to carry out this project through the grants INFR-2009-01, 123996 and INFR-2014-02, 230761.
Aviles-Viñas, J.F., Lopez-Juarez, I. and Rios-Cabrera, R. (2015), "Acquisition of welding skills in industrial robots", Industrial Robot, Vol. 42 No. 2, pp. 156-166. https://doi.org/10.1108/IR-09-2014-0395
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