Weld Profile Sensor

| Information and Communication Technology

3D laser profile sensor is able to measure a range of different geometric features

Sensor travels with weld head to constantly monitor weld joint profile in a move to improve product quality

Automatic welding system specialist, Inrotech, has developed a method of improving weld seam quality for heavy industry applications including shipbuilding, renewable energy and offshore systems.

The resulting Inrotech-Crawler automatic welding robot makes use of 2D/3D laser profile scanners from Micro-Epsilon to assess joint profiles so that welding processes can be calculated in advanced before they are carried out.

To enable this to happen, a scanCONTROL 2900 laser profile scanner is mounted on the Inrotech-Crawler and measures the geometry of the seam to be welded before the actual welding process starts. It is only with these high precision profile measurements that the welding process is able to be automated.

Due to its compact, lightweight design with an integrated controller, the scanCONTROL 2900 is ideally suited to this measurement task. In this particular application, the laser scanner has a measuring width of 100mm, a measuring rate of 300Hz and a resolution in the Z-axis of 12µm.

Various connectivity options offered by the SDK (Software Development Kit) enable Inrotech to directly transmit the profile data from the sensor, calibrated to their own software via the scanCONTROL DLL. The Weldlogic technology from Inrotech then calculates, among other things, the number of weld passes, the position of the weld seams, the weld speed and the oscillation width required to produce a weld of the correct profile and quality. Directly after the calculation, the Inrotech-Crawler automatically performs the welding process.

The welding robot enables the scanning of weld geometries such as plates or curves with various characteristics. Based on the optimal exposure time control and high resolution, the laser profile scanner reliably measures almost any measurement object.

Designed for mobile applications, the Inrotech-Crawler can be used in a variety of different environments, for example, for pipeline welding tasks in the oil & gas industry, for offshore applications, within the shipbuilding industry, for the construction of wind turbines and in building or construction applications. Having a sensor that is resistant to hostile environments is one of the base requirements in these and many other industries or applications. The scanCONTROL 2900 laser profile scanner is ideally suited to these requirements and has been further integrated into a protective housing by Inrotech.

The scanCONTROL 29×0 series of 3D laser profile sensors is designed for industrial measurement tasks where compact design and high accuracy are required. Due to their high resolution, self-contained housing, versatility and excellent price-performance ratio, the scanners are particularly suitable for static and dynamic roles and are proving to be particularly popular for robot mounted tasks. The scanners measure and evaluate a variety of geometrical features such as angles, steps, gaps, distances and extreme values.

Vision System Integration

The scanCONTROL range of sensors now also has a software adapter option for integrating its function with Cognex VisionPro software enabling the sensor to be used for other purposes including geometric object location and inspection as well as identification, measurement and alignment.

The adapter can be used to generate Cognex Range Images from the scanCONTROL measuring points and process these conveniently within the VisionPro data evaluation algorithms.

Jonathan Newell
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