(19)
(11)EP 3 315 238 A1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT APPLICATION

(43)Date of publication:
02.05.2018 Bulletin 2018/18

(21)Application number: 17193650.3

(22)Date of filing:  28.09.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
B23K 9/095(2006.01)
B23K 9/29(2006.01)
G01D 5/353(2006.01)
G01V 1/38(2006.01)
B23K 9/10(2006.01)
B23K 9/32(2006.01)
G01B 11/16(2006.01)
(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR
Designated Extension States:
BA ME
Designated Validation States:
MA MD

(30)Priority: 06.10.2016 TR 201614048

(71)Applicant: Konukseven, Erhan Ilhan
06800 Ankara (TR)

(72)Inventors:
  • KONUKSEVEN, Erhan Ilhan
    06800 ANKARA (TR)
  • KUT, Engin
    06800 ANKARA (TR)

(74)Representative: Inal, Aysegul Seda et al
Yalciner Patent and Consulting Ltd. Tunus Cad. 85/4
06680 Kavaklidere, Ankara
06680 Kavaklidere, Ankara (TR)

  


(54)METHOD OF AND WELDING PROCESS CONTROL SYSTEM FOR REAL-TIME TRACKING OF THE POSITION OF THE WELDING TORCH BY THE USE OF FIBER BRAGG GRATING BASED OPTICAL SENSORS


(57) The present application is related to the estimation and/or the control of welding quality depending on time-based position information obtained by using a fiber bragg grating based optical sensor system (3) connected to the welding torch (2). The welding process parameters and the time-based position data of the torch (2) are received such that the mechanical structure of the torch (2) is not changed. Through the proposed system, a more precise correlation is established for estimating the welding quality by considering the spatial position of the torch (2) relative to the work piece (1) along with the weld operation parameters.




Description

Technical Field of the Invention



[0001] The invention of the application is related to the estimation and/or control of the welding quality depending on the time-based position information obtained by using a fiber bragg grating based optical sensor system connected to the welding torch. The welding process parameters and the time-based position data of the torch are received such that the mechanical structure of the torch is not changed. Through the proposed system, a more precise correlation is established for estimating the welding quality by considering the spatial position of the torch relative to the work piece along with weld operation parameters.

Background of the Invention (Prior Art)



[0002] The current systems are used for obtaining elongation (strain) and temperature profiles of fiber optic sensors in the welding field. In the industry, nondestructive testing methods are commonly used for welding quality control. In this method, in addition to the inherent limitations (the penetration test can only detect surface defects, the magnetic particle test can only be used with magnetic materials etc.), the cost of the application is high and increases with precision.

[0003] Systems that try to catch a parameter-quality correlation by logging welding parameters are commonly used. Welding instructions that are used in welding engineering are directed to control these parameters. However, during the quality control performed by tracking the weld parameters only in the welds performed manually, and not considering the welder-originated position and velocity differences of the torch relative to the work piece causes uncertainties regarding the welding quality.

[0004] In the literature, especially in the robotic welding systems related parameters are controlled in real-time, however this application cannot determine the effect of the operator (thus, the position of the torch) on weld quality during the welding operations performed manually.

[0005] Other quality control systems that work with "Fiber Bragg Grating (FBG)" aim to establish a correlation with weld quality based on the temperature changes and deformations caused by the welding operation by utilizing the reactions of the reflective indices of the fibers against temperature and the amount of elongation of which they are subjected to.

[0006] In the performed studies, the fibers are directly located on the plates to be welded, however since the reflective indices of the fibers change simultaneously with both the elongation of the plates and the temperature changes and since the welding defects are hard to determine just by these two variables, a system that can directly detect the weld quality by the FBG technique has not been developed yet.

[0007] Patent application Numbered JPS 61189975 (A) is related to the invention subject matter. Said patent application is related to perform profiling by a profile sensor that determines line boundaries on parallel lines and relates to weld torch creating a straight line. The welding robot comprises an optical profile sensor having a fiber optical sensor and a pair of illuminating part is arranged parallel to the welding direction of the torch. The position on the illuminating parts that record the lines defined on the weld line is regarded as the central position by the control system. In case of deviation, the torch and the sensor are held on the central position.

[0008] Patent application Numbered JPH 1190658 (A) is related to the invention subject matter. Said patent application is related to welded pipes having excellent quality production capacity and related to obtaining a production device for welded pipes where the tip position and the temperature of the pre-heated edge part can be optically detected. The light source comprises a light bulb that emits a light beam having a density at the wavelength light component. The filter and the light are directed to the optical tip by the fiber optic. The first image receiving device that detects the position of the seam and the second image receiving device that detects the temperature of the pre-heated edge are positioned between the high frequency heater and the laser beam torch.

Brief Description and Objects of the Invention



[0009] The invention of this application is related to tne estimation and/or control of tne weld quality depending on the time-based position information obtained by using a fiber bragg grating based optical sensor system that is connected to the welding torch.

[0010] In addition to weld parameter tracking, the fibers on which fiber bragg grating is applied are directly positioned on the cable of the weld torch. Thus, it is possible to detect the spatial coordinates of the weld torch in real-time with respect to the work piece to be welded. The position data of the weld torch and the parameter records received during the welding operation are compared to a database that contains parameters and torch position information that is prepared by weld tests. It is envisaged to control the quality or to increase the welding quality by guiding the operator depending on the obtained results. The database can be expanded depending on the quality results obtained from both theoretically and the tested pieces. The same system can also be used as a guide for the operator to perform welding with the correct position and velocity as well as consistency of the quality control on welds performed manually.

[0011] The novelty of the invention is that the position and velocity of the weld torch (weld electrode) is continuously monitored by the FBG sensors mounted thereon which directly affect the weld quality as well as recording the weld parameters such as current, voltage, gas flow rate and wire speed that affect the welding performance of the welds performed manually. Thus, the torch positioning errors that may cause welding defects will be recorded and also it will be recorded if all the welding jobs defined for each weld point on the work piece are performed in accordance with the technical specification. At the same time, it may guide the operator by a real-time feed-back. The proposed method is a technical solution to welding quality control problem.

[0012] In order to achieve the objects of the invention mentioned above that can become apparent from the detailed description given below, the present invention is characterized by comprising the steps of;
  • partial reflection of the wide spectrum light sent on at least three or three core optical fibers produced by Fiber Bragg Grating method due to the reflectivity indices of the fibers that are changed under stress in order to measure the elongation in three dimensions mounted on the torch cable,
  • mathematically finding to what extend the reflectivity indices of the fibers change by measuring the reflected wave lengths using a geometry detecting sensor system,
  • based on this, real-time measurement of the position of the weld torch with respect to the work piece coordinate axis relative to reference coordinate axis of the fibers by detecting the elongation which the fibers subjected to,
  • recording all said weld parameter values and position information into a portable computer.


[0013] A preferred embodiment of the invention has a structure where the fiber bragg grating based optical sensors is mounted on the torch and it detects the spatial position of the torch by shape detection.

[0014] Another preferred embodiment of the invention has a structure that detects weld quality instantaneously on each weld point by recording time-based position of the torch along with the current, voltage, gas flow rate and wire speed.

[0015] Another preferred embodiment of the invention has a structure that can continuously monitor the weld quality depending on the position of the torch with respect to the work piece through fiber bragg grating sensors that are mounted on the weld torch which directly affects the weld quality.

[0016] Another preferred embodiment of the invention has a structure that can record motions of the torch along with the current, voltage, gas flow rate and wire speed parameters that affect manual weld performance, that can guide the operator by using one or more of the sensing methods such as visual, audio or tactile methods and that can improve the weld quality.

Brief Descriptions of the Figures



[0017] The figure that is prepared to provide a better understanding of the welding process control system using fiber bragg grating based optical sensors, which developed by this invention is described below.

[0018] Figure 1-Welding process control system by fiber bragg grating based optical sensors

Descriptions of the Parts/ Components/ Elements Forming the Invention



[0019] In order to provide a better understanding of the welding process control system developed in this invention using fiber bragg grating based optical sensors the parts/components/elements in the drawing are individually given reference numbers and these numbers refer to:
  1. 1. Work piece
  2. 2. Weld torch
  3. 3. Optical Fibers Produced by Fiber Bragg Grating Method
  4. 4. Fiber Bragg light source and shape detection sensor device
  5. 5. Current - Voltage Sensor
  6. 6. Computer used for collection, evaluation and real-time feed-back of the weld parameter and torch position data
  7. 7. Wire Feeding Unit and Speed Sensor
  8. 8. Welding Machine
  9. 9. Welding process parameters data acquisition system
  10. 10. Gas Tank and the Sensor
  11. 11. Torch (welding wire) tip coordinate axis
  12. 12. Work piece coordinate axis
  13. 13. Reference coordinate axis

Detailed Description of the Invention



[0020] The invention subject matter of the application is related to estimation and/or to the controlling of welding quality depending on time-based position information obtained by means of the fiber bragg grating based optical sensor system connected to the welding torch (2). Said welding process control system with fiber bragg grating based optical sensors comprise; the work piece (1) on which the welding operation is performed, the weld torch (2) which conveys the electric current and the welding gas (9) coming from the welding machine (8) during the arc weld to the region where the welding operation is performed, the optical fibers (3) produced by fiber bragg grating method of which the reflectivity change depending on the changes in elongation, the sensor device (4) that provides the wide spectrum light source that emits the light at different wavelengths to be projected on the fibers (3), the shape detection sensor device (4) that shows the spatial position of the torch (2) where the fibers (3) are mounted on by detecting the wavelengths reflected from the fibers (3), the current - voltage sensor (5) that measures the parameter output values of the welding machine (8), the welding process parameter data collector (9) which is the electronic unit where the data from the sensors are collected, the portable computer (6) in which the data from the shape detection sensor system and the welding parameter records are collected and recorded, the wire feeding unit and the speed sensor (7) that feeds the welding wire at a pre-determined speed and that measures the wire speed, the welding machine (8) that generates the electrical current for the arc welding, the gas sensor (10) that comprises the gas tank which contains the welding gas and that measures the flow rate of the welding gas, the torch (welding wire) tip coordinate axis (11), the work piece coordinate axis (12) and the reference coordinate axis (13).

[0021] The Fiber Bragg grating position sensor (3) is directly placed on the cable of the welding torch (2). Thus, real-time detection of the spatial coordinate axis (11) of the welding torch (2) relative to the coordinate axis (12) of the work piece (1) will be possible as well as real-time monitoring of the welding process parameters. The position information of the welding torch (2) and the parameter data received during the welding operation are compared to a database that contains torch (2) position information and parameters that are prepared by welding tests. The welding quality is estimated depending on the obtained results. The database can be expanded depending on the quality results obtained both theoretically and obtained from the tested pieces.

[0022] In the manual welding operations performed on the work piece (1), what is controlled by the operator is the movement of the welding torch (2). In order to assure the quality of the weld, welding instructions are used by the welding engineers. These instructions are established based on the application parameters of the welding seams of which the quality levels are recorded during trials. Before starting welding operations performed manually, the parameters are determined depending on these instructions.

[0023] The welding process parameters are the current - voltage values measured by the current - voltage sensor (5) provided by the welding machine and the arc characteristic curves, the welding wire feeding speed fed from the wire feeding unit (7) and the flow rate of the gas coming from the gas tank (10). In the proposed system, all of these welding parameter values are transferred from the sensors to the welding machine data acquisition system (9).

[0024] Besides all the values mentioned above, one of the parameters that directly affect the weld bonding quality in welding operations is the position of the welding torch (2). The Fiber Bragg grating position sensor is used on the torch. The spatial position of the torch (2), along with the other recorded welding parameters, is used to detect the weld quality through the Fiber Bragg grating shape detection sensor device (4). Values such as long or short arc formation, angle of approach, welding speed etc. directly affect the welding performance. The position of the welding torch (2) has to be tracked in order to measure these values and estimate the welding quality. In order to achieve this, the torch cable is equipped with at least three (or three core) optical fibers (3) that are produced by Fiber Bragg grating method to measure three-dimensional elongation levels. These optical fibers (3) are subjected to stress and thus to elongation (strain) in any movement of the torch (2). These elongations change the reflectivity indices of the fibers (3). The modulated light (3) is partially reflected since optical fibers reflectivity indices change under stress (exposure). The extent of the change in the reflectivity indices of the fibers (3) are mathematically found by measuring the reflected wave lengths via the shape detecting sensor device (4). Based on this information, the elongation of the fibers (3) can be determined and the position of the welding torch (2) with respect to the reference position of the shape where the fibers (3) are connected can be measured instantaneously. All of the mentioned parameter values and the position information are transferred and recorded in a portable computer (6) or this information is processed and used for quality control.

[0025] The novelties of the system are that; the Fiber Bragg grating position sensor is implemented in welding quality control, the welding quality is controlled by monitoring the position of the electrode relative to the work piece and other parameters during welding operation, not over the work piece (1), and the position detection is performed by the fiber bragg grating method.

[0026] The welding operations are performed according to standards after the system is implemented and the quality levels are recorded by examining the obtained joints through destructive/non-destructive testing methods. Thus, a relation between the weld quality and the parameter values and the spatial position of the welding torch (2) is obtained. Therefore, all welding operations that will be performed henceforth can be directly evaluated based on this relationship.

[0027] The proposed system is implemented on a welding machine (8) basis and once it is implemented, it has the functionality to control the quality of all the welding operations performed by the machine with very low costs. By implementing the proposed system, both the labor time (stopping the welding operation on the defective part since the control is performed during the welding operation) and the quality control costs will be lowered. The proposed system can also be used in the training of welding operators.


Claims

1. The method of real-time tracking of the position of the welding torch (2) by means of the fiber bragg grating based optical sensor in a welding process control system, characterized in that it comprises the process steps of;

• Partial reflection of the wide spectrum light (4) sent on at least three or three core optical fibers (3) produced by Fiber Bragg Grating method due to the reflectivity indices of the fibers (3) that change under stress in order to measure the elongation in three dimensions mounted on the torch cable,

• Mathematically finding to what extend the reflectivity indices of the fibers (3) change by measuring the reflected wave lengths by a geometry detecting sensor system (4),

• Based on this, real-time measurement of the position (11) of the weld torch (2) with respect to the work piece coordinate axis (12) relative to reference coordinate axis (13) of the fibers (3) by detecting the elongation which the fibers subjected (3),

• Recording all said weld parameter values and position information into a portable computer (6).


 
2. Welding process control system comprising fiber bragg grating based optical sensors, characterized in that it has a structure where the fiber bragg grating based optical sensors is mounted on the torch (2) and where the sensors detect the spatial position of the torch (2) by shape detection.
 
3. Welding process control system according to Claim 2, characterized in that it has a structure that detects weld quality instantaneously on each weld point by recording time-based position (11) of the torch (2) along with the current, voltage, gas flow rate and wire speed.
 
4. Welding process control system according to Claim 3, characterized in that it has a structure that can continuously monitor the weld quality depending on the position of the torch with respect to the work piece through fiber bragg grating sensors that are mounted on the weld torch (2) which directly affects the weld quality.
 
5. Welding process control system that uses fiber bragg grating based optical sensors according to Claim 2, characterized in that it has a structure that can record motions of the torch (2) along with the current, voltage, gas flow rate and wire speed parameters that affect manual welding performance, that can guide the operator by using one or more of the sensing methods such as visual, audio or tactile methods and, that can improve the welding quality.
 




Drawing







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Search report




Cited references

REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

Patent documents cited in the description