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Welding engineering expert systems

Knowledge and data acquisition in areas of welding
engineering and derivation of pc expert systems with
derivation of expert system modules and integration to form
form welding engineering information system.

1. Introduction. The welding engineer has a critical role to play in the fabrication of weldments that must be made to particular codes or standards. Welding costs usually represent a significant proportion of the total cost of a welded structure. Therefore, there are many savings that can be made by adopting a cost-effective manufacturing technique. The responsibilities of the welding engineer are to advise on design, and material selection, select the welding processes, specify the welding procedures, and to solve any production problems that may arise. Experienced welding engineers may not be employed in small or medium-sized companies, are are often in short supply in large companies. Welding decisions will be taken by the welding shop or works metallurgist. There are great benefits to be derived from Expert Systems containing welding engineering knowledge. The most important is probably to guide those with only a limited knowledge of welding towards decisions that lead to cost-effective sound welds. In addition, such an Expert System would free the expert welding engineer from the pressures associated with the routine application of his knowledge. In this project it is proposed to integrate welding engineering Expert System modules, databases and calculational programs to create a welding engineering information system that can contain all a company's basic welding expertise and data in a form that may be conveniently accessed by employees with a variety of different job functions. Smaller companies may not have access to a multi-user computer, and some larger companies may find aspects of the integrated system inappropriate to their needs. For these reasons, the Expert System modules will additionally be made available as a series of stand-alone Expert Systems that will run on personal computers. All software developed in this project will be oriented towards the forthcoming European welding standards. Uncoded welding will not be considered in this project. 2. Objectives. 1. to identify representations of welding data that may be used by Expert Systems. 2. To develop Expert System techniques based on heuristics and welding data. 3. To apply these techniques in the development of personal computer Expert Systems. 4. To create a welding engineering information system with interfaces for users with different job functions in a company. 3. System Requirement Definition. The activities involved in fabricating a welded structure are: Design/Material Selection/Process Selection/Consumable Selection/ Procedure specification/Heat Treatment/Inspection. To guide those who require welding knowledge, through these complex tasks, it is proposed in this project to develop a series of personal computer Expert Systems. These Expert Systems, together with the Welding Engineering Information System are described below. In the majority of these Expert Systems, the arc welding of steel will be given the greatest emphasis. For this reason, the alternative requirements of resistance welding and the welding of aluminium alloys have Expert Systems dedicated to their respective needs. 3.1. Fatigue Strength of Weldments System: This Expert System will assist in the assessment of the fatigue sensitivity of weldments. Input from the user will be the fatigue spectrum or history, the global joint geometry, the material properties, the detailed weld geometry and the weld quality. Output from the Expert System will be: the sensitivity to fatigue of the proposed geometry, and the alternative solutions for the weld geometry with the implications of fatigue. 3.2. Welding Process Selection System: This Expert System will enable the user to determine which welding process is able to satisfy the weld quality requirements at minimum cost. A range of low alloy, high alloy and stainless steels commonly used in power plant, shipbuilding and chemical process plant will be covered, for pressure containment applications involving tubular components. 3.3 Material and Consumable Selection System: The Expert System will help the user to select suitable parent metal and corresponding consumables for arc welding applications by European code requirements. 3.4 Joint Preparation Specification Selection System: The Expert System will assist in the selection of joint preparation for arc welding. Input from the user will be welding process, parent material, the general configuration of the joint, parent material, weld thickness and accessibility. The joint preparation willbe selected according to relevant standards, preferably CEN or ISO if available. 3.5 Conventional Arc Welding Parameter Generation System: This will provide detailed advice on the selection of appropriate welding parameters for specific welding applications. 3.6 Automatic and Robotic Welding Parameter Generation System: This Expert System will recommend welding parameters for automatic and robotic welding. The objective is to recommend methods to achieve high welding speeds in such a way that reproducibility and quality are guaranteed. 3.7 Heat Treatment Specification System: This Expert System will assist in the selection of a heat treatment specification for the carbon manganese steels. Input from the user will be welding process, parent material, the general configuration of the joint, weld thickness and accessibility. 3.8 Quality Assurance and Control System QA/QC activities comprise many different non-destructive test (NDT) methods, each of which has their typical benefits, drawbacks and limitations. 3.9 Aluminium Welding Procedure Generation System: This Expert System will contain knowledge on welding procedures, design aspects, choice of alloys (parent metal and consumables), weld types with their structural characteristics, welding parameters, test procedures, and guidelines for interpretation of test results (repair, approval or disapproval, required additional information). 3.10 Resistance Welding Procedure Generation System: This will provide advice on the selection of welding parameters for resistance spot welding and projection welding. 3.11 Welding Engineering Information System: The system will comprise a combination of different Expert systems, (i.e. process selection, welding procedure specification, fault diagnosis and consumable selection), different databases containing information on base material, consumables, procedures under development, qualified procedures, etc., and a variety of calculation programs. The task of the computerised information system is to enable integration of different systems and provide information to multiple users. The project will include the design and implementation of a database for welding engineering information according to European standards. An interface using combined alphanumeric and graphical in/output will enable the welding engineer to generate new welding procedures, modify existing procedures, and to store, retrieve and control welding procedures. An interface for the design department will enable the designer to evaluate his design in the light of welding engineering information. This interface will give the designer access selection with reference to available equipment, joint preparation considerations, etc. An interface for quality assurance will assist with the generation of control procedures and storage of control entities. 4. Implementation Requirements. The personal computer Expert Systems are to run on IBM PS/2 type machines and compatibles. The Welding Engineering Information System is to run on multi-user machines operating under AT&T Unix V.3. 5. Project Plan. The project is planned to be completed in 3 years as a series of parallel Tasks. Each Task will be divided into two consecutive parts. Part 1 - Functional Specification Following an analysis of user needs, a functional specification will be written for the software to be developed in each Task. Part 2 - Expert System Derivation. Data and knowledge will be supplied by end user companies and added to each system. At the end of the project, a version of each system will be delivered to the end users for subsequent development and exploitation. 6. Collaborator involvement. (Task or Sub-Task - leader - reference paragraph) 1. Fatigue strength - TNO - 3.1 2. Process Selection CEGB - 3.2 3. Materials & Consumable Selection - IVF - 3.3 4. Procedure Specification - TWI 4.1 Joint preparation - SVC - 3.4 4.2 Conventional Welding parameters - TWI - 3.5 4.3 Automatic and Robotic Welding Parameters - TNO - 3.6 5. Heat Treatment Specification - SVC - 3.7 6. Quality Assurance and Control - SVC - 3.8 7. Welding of Aluminium Alloys - TNO - 3.9 8. Resistance Welding - TNO - 3.10 9. Welding Engineering Information System - SINTEF - 3.11. Close liaison will be maintained between Tasks, and information and software will be exchanged by agreement between Task Groups. 7. Project Organisation: The project will be controlled by a Project Manager appointed from the staff of TWI. 8. Deliverables: The deliverables will be a series of Expert Systems for personal computers, and a Welding Engineering Information System that will include the knowledge contained in the personal computer Expert Systems. The software will be supplemented by the appropriate manuals as well as reports describing the derivation of the systems. 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Acronym: 
EUROWELD
Project ID: 
259
Start date: 
01-12-1988
Project Duration: 
42months
Project costs: 
4 460 000.00€
Technological Area: 
Market Area: 

Raising the productivity and competitiveness of European businesses through technology. Boosting national economies on the international market, and strengthening the basis for sustainable prosperity and employment.