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Combining Welding Expert Systems With Welding Databases to Improve Shipbuilding Production (The National Shipbuilding Research Program)

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Paper no. 23

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Construction of a large ship requires many thousands of feet of welding. Whenever the welding process can be streamlined or automated, tremendous cost savings can be obtained. The WELDEXCELL system is a WELDing EXpert manufacturing CELL that provides computerized technical support information, off-line weld planning, and an integrated welding robotwelding systemvision system controller. The first of two subsystems, the Welding Job Planner WJP accomplishes off-line intelligent weld planning for both automated and manual welding processes. The second subsystem, the Welding Job Controller WJC provides a fully integrated hardware control environment with associated software for combined control of a welding robot, welding equipment and a robotic vision system. In the WELDEXCELL system, a series of expert systems and databases have been combined in a new type of computer software environment called a blackboard. There are as many as 19 separate components of the Welding Job Planner subsystem of WELDEXCELL which fall into five interrelated functional groups. WELDEXCELL will be used by design engineers, welding engineers, mechanical engineers, and NDT engineers for both manual welding and to interface to automated and robotic welding systems and vision systems. WELDEXCELL also includes the control system hardware and software to provide off-line intelligent adaptive control of the welding process itself. The development of WELDEXCELL is a multi-year effort involving a partnership of government, industry, university research, and technology transfer. The project has already generated new concepts with potential for future spin-off benefits. The ultimate payback in productivity will be large for the American welding, fabrication, manufacturing, and construction industries.

Subject Categories:

  • Marine Engineering
  • Couplers, Fasteners and Joints
  • Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems

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