Shipbuilding software developer SSI is excited to announce the completion of successful demonstrations of Computer Aided Robotics Welding (CAR-W), held at Bollinger Shipyards in Lockport, LA, USA.
There was so much interest that two demonstrations were required to show off this completely new technology, one on June 27, 2017 for industry in general (not just shipbuilding!) and the second held on June 29, 2017, as the concluding demonstration of the CAR-W National Shipbuilding Research Program (NSRP) project. The demo was so successful that the NSRP (co-funded by the U.S. Navy and industry) has agreed to award another project which will expand the capability of what was achieved by adding several enhancements such as laser scanning.
The NSRP CAR-W Project Team
This project was a group effort. Members of the NSRP CAR-W team included: Bollinger Shipyards | Ingalls Shipbuilding | Naval Surface Warfare Center-Carderock Division | Wolf Robotics, LLC | ShipConstructor Software USA Inc. (SSI) | Edison Welding Institute | Purdue University | Colorado State University | Longview Advisors, LLC
CAR-W is a new technology pioneered by Wolf Robotics and the NSRP project team that automates robot programming for welding applications in shipyards. This powerful system automates the complexities of robotic path planning to minimize cost and simplify programming.
This innovative, flexible, and highly cost-effective approach enables robots to produce complex, low-volume shipyard assemblies where automation was previously cost-prohibitive. CAR-W now makes it possible to generate accurate, collision-free robotic welding routines in minutes… regardless of part complexity.
Integration with CAD software
Tight integration with SSI’s ShipConstructor CAD software platform (via SSI’s EnterprisePlatform) connects robotic welding cells to a shipyard’s digital thread. The CAR-W software tool links proprietary weld process parameters directly to weld callouts in the ship model, enabling automatic process selection for each weld seam. This allows shipyard personnel to quickly produce robot welding programs with low effort and minimal training.
There’s nothing else like it
Robotic welding, in and of itself, is nothing new, but it is only used in repetitive situations. The majority of shipyards do not have the luxury of having many assemblies that are the same. Almost every single assembly on a ship is unique and therefore the amount of time it would take to program the welding robot would be outweighed by the time saved by automatically welding. The NSRP CAR-W project changes this because no programming is required to pass the information between the CAD program and the robot.
Demonstration at Bollinger
CAR-W technology was demonstrated in action on a 9-axis robotic gantry, welding complex ship structures on Bollinger’s production steel panel line. The demonstration showed the capability to automate robot programming for complex features, including vertical welds, curved structures, and wrap conditions, while providing an easy-to-use interface that accommodates the flexibility need in a production environment.
Learn more about this demonstration at the Waveform Blog by SSI’s CTO Denis Morais.