Robotic weld seam tracking and measurement

Recently launched by Riftek LLC, the optoelectronic measurement and systems manufacturer – and available with full support from its UK and Ireland distribution partner Ixthus Instrumentation, the new RF627WELD laser seam tracking and measurement system enables precise control of the welding head position in robotic welding systems.

The recently launched system harnesses the advanced features of Riftek’s Lamia application software, a choice of three РФ627Weld series 2D laser scanners to suit the required measurement area, and the RF017 series controller (or a PC) that interfaces with the customer’s welding controller.

With the laser scanner mounted on the customer’s welding robot close to the welding torch, the scanning area, located directly in front of the welding electrode, is pre-calibrated with a supplied calibration plate. Riftek’s Lamia software processes the 2D positional information received from the scanner to determine the exact coordinates of the welding joint which are then transmitted to the robot controller in real-time. In this way, the robot controller can precisely align the position of the welding torch during the welding process.

Three РФ627Weld series laser scanners feature Class 2M lasers offering various 2D scanning areas from around 22 x 24mm to 65 x 180mm. Linearity through each range is up to +/- 0.1% in the Z-axis and +/- 0.2% in the X-axis. Optional red or blue laser sources allow use with different welded materials and temperature ranges, and various operating modes allow working frequency changes for optimal sampling rates. With an IP67 sealed aluminium air- or water-cooled housing, changeable toughened glass windows and a splash guard included these laser scanners are based on the RF627 range that offers vibration, shock and temperature ratings that meet the demands for heavy industrial use.

Riftek’s multifunctional Lamia software application is designed to be used to interface its laser scanning range with automated industrial systems to provide recognition, tracking and measurement of geometric parameters or objects in real-time. Ideally suited to welding joint detection or for surface and dimensional profiling on a wide range of industrial processing tasks, the software interfaces with the client controller to transmit scanning results and data visualisation.

Riftek offers a choice of protocols for communication with most common industrial robots. For the RF627WELD system, a selection of weld seam templates combine with control algorithms for seam position recognition and corresponding location of joint coordinates.

Riftek can supply its own RF017 series industrial controller as a tablet PC with Lamia software installed, or a customer supplied PC can be used. Cable options for connecting the RF017 or PC to the laser scanner are included along with an RJ45 cable for Ethernet interfacing the robot controller. The RF017 includes Wi-Fi so that a remote desktop or access point can be facilitated.

For system set-up, diagnostics and calibration, a detailed manual is available – free of charge and prior to purchase – from Ixthus Instrumentation who provide complete technical support for the RF627WELD system, as well as Riftek’s comprehensive range of 2D laser scanners, laser triangulation sensors, speed and length sensors, railway and other measurement instrumentation systems. Ixthus Instrumentation works closely with Riftek and many other leading instrumentation component manufacturers to supply sensors, transducers and complete systems for the measurement of displacement, force, torque and vibration.


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