Dr. Emile Glorieux, Dr. Pasquale Franciosa and Professor Darek Ceglarek
Digital Lifecycle Management (DLM) Group, WMG, University of Warwick
Summary: This demonstration shows simulation-driven development and deployment of robotic assembly cell with remote laser welding (RLW) end effector. It includes VR capabilities with embedded CAE simulations with consideration to manufacturing process uncertainty.
It includes a portfolio of novel software solutions to enable rapid deployment of robotic RLW technology for aluminium door structures, effectively taking it from new concept readiness to application readiness with intention to reach production implementation readiness.
The main barriers to adopting RLW for aluminium structures are lack of methodologies for precise and effective planning and simulation of its application, leading to time consuming, expensive trial-and-error procedures. Some of the challenges include: (i) weldability of aluminium (hot cracking, porosity); (ii) adaptive control of process due to variation-induced errors (i.e., part and fixture errors); and, (iii) weld quality monitoring. The RLW Navigator solutions provide a range of new capabilities for closed-loop in-process (CLIP) control such as:
- Controlled heat flow in and around melting pot to prevent hot cracking and porosity.
- Control of seam tracking and part-to-part gap variation through automatic selection and adjustment of key process parameters to prevent weld quality defects.
- Real-time monitoring of multiple key quality indicators.
- Intelligent defect root cause diagnosis and automatic quality improvement for corrective and preventive actions.
These solutions are also integrated with results developed for RLW Navigator for steel structures: (i) jig and fixture design and optimisation for deformable parts; and (ii) Off-Line Programming (OLP) of remote welding robots. The resulting simulation technology provides capability to create a precise digital twin of a RLW enabled aluminium door. The digital twin is based on novel closed-loop in-process adaptive control.
The results from the RLW Navigator for aluminium structures led to the first digitally developed automotive aluminium door in the UK being piloted by JLR.
RLW for aluminium doors is shown to have numerous benefits, for example, accelerate adoption of new product design, reduce vehicle weight, propel productivity (up to 5x faster and with 50% less floor space than Self Pierce Riveting (SPR)), reduce production costs, produce multiple products on a single line, and increase driver visibility thereby, improving safety. The RLW approach is much more robust than incumbent laser welding methods – 50% less thermal distortion as compared to tactile laser welding; 10% stronger welds; and capability for in-process quality monitoring.
(1) Overview – http://warwick.ac.uk/DLM
(2) Video – In-line robotic optical scanner for in-line quality improvement
(3) Video – In-line robotic remote laser welding
Dr. Emile Glorieux is a Research Fellow at WMG department of University of Warwick. His research interests are manufacturing engineering, robotics, motion planning, evolutionary computations, multidisciplinary modelling and simulation. He has authored several papers, published in international peer-reviewed journals and presented at international scientific conferences. He completed his PhD studies in 2017 at the Production Technology West (PTW) research centre of University West in Trollhättan, Sweden. The topic of his PhD thesis was “Multi-robot motion planning and end-effector design optimisation for handling compliant sheet metal parts”. He received his Master’s Degree in Mechatronics from KU Leuven Technology Campus Ostend, Belgium.
Dr Pasquale Franciosa is Senior Researcher at University of Warwick and CIRP research associate. His focus is process monitoring, closed loop control, machine learning, multi-disciplinary optimization, with specific attention for automotive assembly systems and robotics laser joining technology. He has published over 70 papers and received several best paper awards. He has been coordinating and managing the technical development of several academic and industrial-driven projects. Currently, he is responsible for the development and application of remote laser welding solutions to similar and dissimilar materials. He serves on the editorial board of the ASTM SSME journal, and committees of several international conferences.
Professor Darek Ceglarek is EPSRC Star Research Chair at University of Warwick and CIRP Fellow. Previously, he was Professor in Industrial & Systems Engineering at University of Wisconsin-Madison, USA. His research focuses on digital manufacturing, in-process quality control and root cause analysis. He has published over 150 papers and received several Best Paper Awards. He served as Chair of the Quality, Statistics and Reliability Section of INFORMS; Program Chair for the ASME Design-for-Manufacturing Life Cycle Conferences, Associate Editor of the IEEE Trans. on Automation Science & Engineering, ASME Trans, Journal of Manufacturing Science & Engineering, ASTM Smart and Sustainable Manufacturing Systems.