AN AUTOMATED WIRE GUIDE FOR ROBOTIC WELDING APPLICATIONS

Award Information
Agency: National Aeronautics and Space Administration
Branch: N/A
Contract: N/A
Agency Tracking Number: 10454
Amount: $494,836.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 1990
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
General Digital Industries Inc
6705 Odyssey Dr, Huntsville, AL, 35806
DUNS: N/A
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Troy D Manley
 () -
Business Contact
Phone: () -
Research Institution
N/A
Abstract
WITH INCREASING FREQUENCY, ROBOTS ARE BEING USED TO REPLACE HUMAN OPEAATORS IN THE WELDING OF SPACE STRUCTURES. MUCH EFFORT HAS BEEN EXPENDED RECENTLY IN AUTOMATING WELDINGPROCESS CONTROL FOR THESE APPLICATIONS. POSITIONING OF THE WELD WIRE IS ONE AREA, HOWEVER, THAT REMAINS DEPENDENT ON THE HUMAN OPERATOR'S VISION AND GUIDANCE. MISALIGNMENT OF THE WELD WIRE CAN RESULT IN DEFECTS THAT AREDIFFICULT TO DETECT. RELIANCE ON HUMAN POSITIONING OF THE WIRE LEAVES THE PROCESS SUBJECT TO THE VAGARIES OF ALL HUMANCONTROLLED OPERATIONS: INATTENTION, VARYING EXPERIENCE LEVELAMONG OPERATIONS, AND FAILURE TO TAKE TIMELY ACTION. IF ROBOTIC WELDING IS TO BE USED FOR SPACE STATION BERTHING PORT WELDS, A MEANS MUST BE DEVELOPED OF AUTOMATICALLY POSITIONING THE WIRE, THUS ALLOWING WELDING TO BE CONDUCTED WITHOUT HUMAN INVOLVEMENT. RECENT ADVANCES IN SENSOR TECHNOLOGY AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE OFFER THE PROSPECT OF AN AUTOMATED WELD WIRE GUIDE. THE GUIDE WOULD INITIALLY POSITION THE WIRE IN THE POOL AS THE ARC IS ESTABLISHED, AND MAINTAIN PROPER POSITIONIN SPITE OF VARYING CAST OF THE WIRE, HEIGHT OF THE SURFACE,DEPARTURES FROM SEAM CENTER, AND OTHER CHANGES IN SITUATION THAT NOW REQUIRE HUMAN INTERVENTION. THE CONTEMPLATED RESEARCH EFFORT WILL DETERMINE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR AN AUTOMATED WIRE GUIDE FOR ROBOTIC WELDING OF THE BERTHING PORTS OF THE SPACE STATION, WILL DESCRIBE THE FUNCTIONS OF THE GUIDE, DETERMINE THE FEASIBILITY OF IMPLEMENTING A GUIDEUSING AVAILABLE SENSORS, PROCESS AND MOTION CONTROL ALGORITHMS, AND ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TECHNOLOGY.

* information listed above is at the time of submission.

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