AI to optimize welding processes in shipbuilding

Manufacturing individual components with an innovative Al-based welding process 

In many industrial sectors, welding is one of the basic processes for joining components together. The welding methods currently used in shipbuilding are particularly efficient when it comes to repeatedly prefabricating similar and flat components. But in the field of component manufacturing, more and more new, complex and even three-dimensional tasks are emerging – tasks today’s welding robots are not designed for.

To avoid major time losses and an increase in the cost of manufacturing a ship, we and our partners in the KISSS research project (the German acronym stands for “AI-based manufacturing technology for autonomous laser welding of complex ship structures”) are working on a new and robust laser welding process. Our goal is for this to form the basis for significant productivity and quality improvements in component manufacturing for shipbuilding. The project will employ AI methods in different phases of the welding manufacturing process in order to make the high complexity of the application manageable.

By employing suitable AI methods, the project partners aim to draw up approaches that can help improve the entire planning of a sequence of welds. The partners will also apply these methods to find the optimal design for each individual weld seam in a new type of automated laser welding process that uses targeted heat input. Overall, this shortens lead times and reduces error rates while improving product quality.