Tungsten Inert Gas (TIG) welding is extensively used in aerospace applications, due to its unique ability to produce higher quality welds compared to other shielded arc welding types. However, most TIG welding is performed manually and has not achieved the levels of automation that other welding techniques have. This is mostly attributed to the lack of process knowledge and adaptability to complexities, such as mismatches due to part fit-up. Recent advances in automation have enabled the use of industrial robots for complex tasks that require intelligent decision making, predominantly through sensors. Applications such as TIG welding of aerospace components require tight tolerances and need intelligent decision making capability to accommodate any unexpected variation and to carry out welding of complex geometries. Such decision making procedures must be based on the feedback about the weld profile geometry.
In this thesis, a real-time position based closed loop system was developed with a six axis industrial robot (KUKA KR 16) and a laser triangulation based sensor (Micro-Epsilon Scan control 2900-25). [Continues.]
A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.