The use of welding robots has increased rapidly in the past five years. Robotic welding systems have been most successful in situations where accurate jigs and fixtures can be used or where inprocess geometry changes are negligible. The goal of robot adaptive welders has been to allow for varying degrees of fit-up error and misalignments. Two sorts of information need to be derived by a robotic welding sensor package-navigation data and process control data. Robots that can follow simple joints exist now but often do an inadequate job due to thermal wander of the weld pool and such factors as nonsymmetric heat sinking and grounding. Conversely, accurate closed-loop process control cannot occur unless the relative joint position and weldment topography are known.

© 1984 Optical Society of America

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