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01.12.2020 | Original Article | Ausgabe 1/2020 Open Access

Chinese Journal of Mechanical Engineering 1/2020

Discerning Weld Seam Profiles from Strong Arc Background for the Robotic Automated Welding Process via Visual Attention Features

Chinese Journal of Mechanical Engineering > Ausgabe 1/2020
Yinshui He, Zhuohua Yu, Jian Li, Lesheng Yu, Guohong Ma


In the robotic welding process with thick steel plates, laser vision sensors are widely used to profile the weld seam to implement automatic seam tracking. The weld seam profile extraction (WSPE) result is a crucial step for identifying the feature points of the extracted profile to guide the welding torch in real time. The visual information processing system may collapse when interference data points in the image survive during the phase of feature point identification, which results in low tracking accuracy and poor welding quality. This paper presents a visual attention feature-based method to extract the weld seam profile (WSP) from the strong arc background using clustering results. First, a binary image is obtained through the preprocessing stage. Second, all data points with a gray value 255 are clustered with the nearest neighborhood clustering algorithm. Third, a strategy is developed to discern one cluster belonging to the WSP from the appointed candidate clusters in each loop, and a scheme is proposed to extract the entire WSP using visual continuity. Compared with the previous methods the proposed method in this paper can extract more useful details of the WSP and has better stability in terms of removing the interference data. Considerable WSPE tests with butt joints and T-joints show the anti-interference ability of the proposed method, which contributes to smoothing the welding process and shows its practical value in robotic automated welding with thick steel plates.
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