Automatic programming of arc welding robots
Automatic programming of arc welding robots requires the geometric description of a part from a solid modeling system, expert weld process knowledge and the kinematic arrangement of the robot and positioner automatically. Current commercial solid modelers are incapable of storing explicitly product and process definitions of weld features. This work presents a paradigm to develop a computer-aided engineering environment that supports complete weld feature information in a solid model and create an automatic programming system for robotic arc welding;In the first part, welding features are treated as properties or attributes of an object, features which are portions of the object surface--the topological boundary. The structure for representing the features and attributes is a graph called the Welding Attribute Graph (WAGRAPH). The method associates appropriate weld features to geometric primitives, adds welding attributes, and checks the validity of welding specifications. A systematic structure is provided to incorporate welding attributes and coordinate system information in a CSG tree. The specific implementation of this structure using an hybrid solid modeler (IDEAS) and an object-oriented programming paradigm is described;The second part provides a comprehensive methodology to acquire and represent weld process knowledge required for the proper selection of welding schedules. A methodology of knowledge acquisition using statistical methods is proposed. It is shown that these procedures did little to capture the private knowledge of experts (heuristics), but helped in determining general dependencies, and trends. A need was established for building the knowledge-based system using handbook knowledge and to allow the experts further to build the system. A methodology to check the consistency and validity for such knowledge addition is proposed. A mapping shell designed to transform the design features to application specific weld process schedules is described;A new approach using fixed path modified continuation methods is proposed in the final section to plan continuously the trajectory of weld seams in an integrated welding robot and positioner environment. The joint displacement, velocity, and acceleration histories all along the path as a function of the path parameter for the best possible welding condition are provided for the robot and the positioner to track various paths normally encountered in arc welding.