Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Cognitive and collaborative: CoWeldRob – the welding robot assistant


It can localize components, automatically generate programs, learn from the worker and collaborate with him.

For the European research initiative SMErobotics, scientists at Fraunhofer IPA are developing a cognitive and collaborative welding robot assistant called CoWeldRob.

CoWeldRob – the cognitive and collaborative welding robot assistant

Image credit: Fraunhofer IPA

The goal is to significantly reduce the programming effort for automated production in small and medium-sized welding businesses. A welding robot cell for welding typical components will be demonstrated at Automatica 2014.

Solid expertise combined with many years of experience: that’s what is required for the high-quality production of welded components. The welding torch needs to be accurately controlled with expert skill and the correct welding sequence must be observed.

On the other hand, the working conditions for humans are exacerbated by such factors as air pollution, heat and non-ergonomic posture. Also, as there is a growing shortage of qualified skilled workers, one possible solution might be to transfer the existing technological know-how to robot systems.

So far, however, automation has been made impossible by the high programming effort required for robot systems, especially in small-scale production and where there is high product diversity, such as in small and medium-sized manufacturing enterprises. What is needed is a robot system capable of independently generating suggestions for task or program execution, continuously learning from the human worker and applying the acquired knowledge to similar components.


The European research initiative SMErobotics is developing new modular and interactive operating concepts and control systems for the efficient use of robots in a variety of applications. With this in mind, Fraunhofer IPA is designing and developing a cognitive and collaborative welding robot assistant known as CoWeldRob. The goal is to significantly reduce the programming effort for automated production in small and medium-sized welding businesses.

“CoWeldRob is designed to make the automation of welding operations profitable also in the case of small lot sizes and production quantities. It does this by being easy and intuitive to program by the welder and by continuously learning from him,” explains Thomas Dietz, project manager and group leader in the Robot and Assistance Systems department.

The welding robot assistant can automatically transfer programs to similar components without the need for major new programming effort. “This allows above all small and medium-sized enterprises to respond more flexibly to changes in customer orders,” says Dietz.

At Automatica 2014, Fraunhofer IPA will demonstrate a welding robot cell for cost-effective path welding based on the example of steel components from the agricultural machinery sector, including for extremely small lot sizes. Visitors will have an opportunity to specify their own desired welding process and have it executed by the robot system. 

System components

Automatic, model-based path and program generation: Robot programs are automatically generated on the basis of different models of the components, welding process and robot system. Intuitive operation, e.g. using a touchscreen, pointing or showing, allows changes made by the welder to be quickly incorporated and implemented. Such user inputs as well as sensor-detected data are brought into a logical relationship. This information can then be reused for various downstream processes, such as grinding or quality control. This makes it possible for programming and set-up times to be significantly reduced.

Component localization: By comparing CAD and sensor data, the welding robot assistant is able to automatically determine the precise position of the component and therefore of the welding paths. This makes it possible to adapt the robot path and to dispense with rigid fixtures for exact positioning of the components.

Robust handling of uncertainties: The developed approaches are designed to cope with and suitably react to tolerances both of the component, such as air gap and weld preparation, and of the process, such as a permitted torch orientation error. This makes CoWeldRob more robust than a conventional automated welding system. 

Learning robot: A welder knows from many years of experience which settings are required to produce a high-quality component. The process expert can transfer this experience to CoWeldRob by, for example, evaluating a suggested weld seam sequence and by thus instructing the robot system with regard to the desired mode of behaviour. Consequently, using methods from cognitive research, the robot can learn from the welder’s process know-how and continuously improve its performance over time.

More at Automatica – 6th International Trade Fair for Automation and Mechatronics
3 to 6 June 2014
New Trade Fair Centre Munich
Hall A4 | Stand 131

Dipl.-Ing. Thomas Dietz, phone +49 711 970-1152,

Weitere Informationen:

Jörg Walz | Fraunhofer-Institut

Further reports about: Automatisierung IPA Produktionstechnik SMErobotics cognitive programming sequence

All articles from Trade Fair News >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: How Cells in the Developing Ear ‘Practice’ Hearing

Before the fluid of the middle ear drains and sound waves penetrate for the first time, the inner ear cells of newborn rodents practice for their big debut. Researchers at Johns Hopkins report they have figured out the molecular chain of events that enables the cells to make “sounds” on their own, essentially “practicing” their ability to process sounds in the world around them.

The researchers, who describe their experiments in the Dec. 3 edition of the journal Cell, show how hair cells in the inner ear can be activated in the absence...

Im Focus: Climate study finds evidence of global shift in the 1980s

Planet Earth experienced a global climate shift in the late 1980s on an unprecedented scale, fuelled by anthropogenic warming and a volcanic eruption, according to new research published this week.

Scientists say that a major step change, or ‘regime shift’, in the Earth’s biophysical systems, from the upper atmosphere to the depths of the ocean and from...

Im Focus: Innovative Photovoltaics – from the Lab to the Façade

Fraunhofer ISE Demonstrates New Cell and Module Technologies on its Outer Building Façade

The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE has installed 70 photovoltaic modules on the outer façade of one of its lab buildings. The modules were...

Im Focus: Lactate for Brain Energy

Nerve cells cover their high energy demand with glucose and lactate. Scientists of the University of Zurich now provide new support for this. They show for the first time in the intact mouse brain evidence for an exchange of lactate between different brain cells. With this study they were able to confirm a 20-year old hypothesis.

In comparison to other organs, the human brain has the highest energy requirements. The supply of energy for nerve cells and the particular role of lactic acid...

Im Focus: Laser process simulation available as app for first time

In laser material processing, the simulation of processes has made great strides over the past few years. Today, the software can predict relatively well what will happen on the workpiece. Unfortunately, it is also highly complex and requires a lot of computing time. Thanks to clever simplification, experts from Fraunhofer ILT are now able to offer the first-ever simulation software that calculates processes in real time and also runs on tablet computers and smartphones. The fast software enables users to do without expensive experiments and to find optimum process parameters even more effectively.

Before now, the reliable simulation of laser processes was a job for experts. Armed with sophisticated software packages and after many hours on computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

Urbanisation and migration from rural areas challenging agriculture in Eastern Europe

30.11.2015 | Event News

Fraunhofer’s Urban Futures Conference: 2 days in the city of the future

25.11.2015 | Event News

Gluten oder nicht Gluten? Überempfindlichkeit auf Weizen kann unterschiedliche Ursachen haben

17.11.2015 | Event News

Latest News

Teamplay IT solution enables more efficient use of protocols

30.11.2015 | Trade Fair News

Greater efficiency and potentially reduced costs with new MRI applications

30.11.2015 | Trade Fair News

Modular syngo.plaza as a comprehensive solution – even for enterprise radiology

30.11.2015 | Trade Fair News

More VideoLinks >>>