Robotic arc welding and plasma arc cutting, in general, require precise positioning of the torch relative to the workpiece. To this end, a 1-dimensional non-contact sensor was applied to two assembly plant tasks and found to perform to requirements while maintaining the system's cost effectiveness.
This paper first presents a comparative overview of sensor technology typically used for arc welding. 1,2, and 3-D sensors are briefly compared in terms of functionality, operational complexity, and cost. Two plant applications are discussed to substantiate the conclusions. The first is an A-Pillar reinforcement MIG welding job. The second is a sunroof opening plasma cutting operation. This latter application requires part location in the absence of typical weld joints. In both instances, a robot mounted 1-D laser sensor was used to locate the part prior to the welding/cutting operation.
The paper emphasizes the plant applications in terms of the strategy implemented, the assumptions required, and the sensing system performance.