September 17, 2014
RTT to Participate in Virtual Reality Interface Project To Increase Welder Productivity and Weld Quality
The NSRP announced today the awarding of a grant titled Use of Mobile Robotics To Increase Welder Productivity and Weld Quality. The grant will is led by EnergynTech of Lakewood Colorado and is designed to research increasing welding productivity by enabling higher power and speed while maintaining operator comfort. The grant leverages prior NSRP investment in mobile robots, welding cameras, virtual welding, and automation.
This project will demonstrate a technology to significantly improve welder productivity and weld quality by augmenting human welders with a robotic welding platform. The idea is to replace the human anatomy responsible for manual welding with a 3-axis robot arm carried by a robotic crawler developed by RTT. By adapting the Virtual Welder training system, the “human-in-the-loop” will control the robotic welding torch using the movement of his own arm while the crawler allows for the use of more robust weld equipment that enables a 4X increase in speed.
“It’s exciting to help EnergynTech attach our mobile welding platform to their virtual welding technology,” says Dr. Jamie Beard, President of RTT. “The combined system should demonstrate how advanced robotics and virtual reality interfaces can enhance and augment actual real world welding.”
Millennials May Perform Better If Interfaces Are More Like Games
The project is partly based on the notion that today’s workers have grown up in a gaming world. Interfaces that a person is comfortable with may represent a better way to assist a worker in performing physically difficult tasks. Making physically difficult tasks easier also extends a worker’s productive years. This is extremely important in skilled trades where organizations are finding it difficult to replace workers.
RTT designs, builds and sells mobile inspecting and manufacturing platforms. When mounted with manufacturing or inspecting tools, these systems deliver the benefits of factory automation to non-factory environments. RTT systems operate in a variety of environments including shipyards, tank terminals and wind farms. Applications include welding, inspection, cutting and grinding. Field fabricators and inspectors can save up to 80% when compared to manual alternatives. RTT systems are operating throughout the United States and around the world meeting challenging weather, operator and fabrication conditions. RTT patented and patent pending technologies are novel solutions for bringing automated and robotic systems to the $10 billion plus welding and inspection industry.