Sensor-enabled multi-robot system for automated welding and in-process ultrasonic NDE

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The growth of the automated welding sector and emerging technological requirements of Industry 4.0 have driven demand and research into intelligent sensor-enabled robotic systems. The higher production rates of automated welding have increased the need for fast, robotically-deployed Non-Destructive Evaluation (NDE), replacing current time-consuming manually deployed inspection. This paper presents the development and deployment of a novel multi-robot system for automated welding and in-process NDE, achieved through real-time external positional control and sensor-based adaptive motion. The inspection capabilities of the system are demonstrated at three different stages of the manufacturing process: after all welding passes are complete; between individual welding passes; and during live arc welding deposition. The specific advantages and disadvantages of each approach are outlined and the defect detection capability is demonstrated through inspection of artificially induced defects. The developed system offers an early defect detection opportunity compared to current inspection methods and could enable in-process weld repair leading to higher production efficiency, reduced rework rates and lower production costs.
Original languageEnglish
Article number5077
Number of pages17
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2021


  • non-destructive evaluation
  • robotic NDE
  • robotic welding
  • robotic control
  • in-process NDE
  • ultrasonic NDE
  • ultrasosund


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