Industry requests for quality improvement, costs reduction and more strict scheduling results in an increasing demand for automation. This project, based on the combination of an innovative Laser Beam welding process, with the capabilities of Heavy Robotics, was structured to satisfy these needs, taking into account several requirements, from the configuration/design of welded components to friendly system management, with the opportunity of efficient interface with operators, as well as fully automated processing and monitoring. The proposed welding technique has a very large field of applications in welding heavy section components (10-25 mm in thickness) in the energy, electromechanical, petrochemical, construction, transportation and shipbuilding industries.
The main goal of the project was dissemination of the technology by means of an effective demonstration of system integrability in a production environment, based on the following:
- feasibility of the laser welding process, remotely carried out, on heavy section components
- exploitation of advantages related to the laser welding technique, applying new design criteria
- development of procedures for the integration of subsystems at HW and SW level
- demonstration of system industrial functionality and user friendly automation standards.
The expected advantages were linked to positive effects on costs and design including
- optimisation of subcomponents thickness, with adequate design criteria and simplified standards
- reduction of component distortions as well as of post-welding operations
- higher process reliability due to the use of sensor based robotics tools.
- increased diffusion of laser welded solutions.