pp 1–10 | Cite as

Piping and Pressure Vessel Welding Automation through Adaptive Planning and Control

  • Sam Robertson
  • Josh Penney
  • J. Logan McNeil
  • William R. HamelEmail author
  • David Gandy
  • Greg Frederick
  • Jon Tatman
Technical Article


Welding automation is a pathway to reducing costs in the energy sector and dependence on certified welders, who are in short supply. Recent research into system-level automation of multibead/layer Tungsten Inert Gas welding for stainless-steel components is presented. Automation is pursued for weld planning, execution, and defect detection. Planning utilizes active seam/groove sensing and intuitive weld bead positioning. Bead and layer geometries are estimated using weld bead shape prediction that takes into account process parameters. After the first weld layer, subsequent trajectory plans are adapted to compensate for differences between the planned and actual weld surface. Sensor-based, closed-loop control of the process is being pursued to compensate for gravitational effects. Continuous monitoring of the real-time process to predict/detect the occurrence of welding defects is in development. Near-real-time defect detection provides the opportunity for immediate evaluation and correction, reducing costly repairs. Preliminary experimental results are presented.



This research is being performed through the NSF Industry/University Cooperative Research Center called the Materials and Manufacturing Joining and Innovation Center (\(\hbox {Ma}^{2}\)JIC), which is led by the Ohio State University. The specific industry \(\hbox {Ma}^{2}\)JIC members supporting this work are the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and ITW/Miller Electric.


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Copyright information

© The Minerals, Metals & Materials Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Mechanical, Aerospace, and Biomedical Engineering Department, Tickle College of EngineeringUniversity of Tennessee, KnoxvilleKnoxvilleUSA
  2. 2.Welding Technology and Repair CenterElectric Power Research CenterCharlotteUSA

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