Design Innovation Paper

Designing a Mobility Solution for Fully Autonomous Welding of Double-Hull Blocks

[+] Author and Article Information
Chun Fan Goh

Computational Engineering & Robotics Laboratory, Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
e-mail: chunfang@andrew.cmu.edu

Akshay Hinduja

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
e-mail: akshay.hinduja208@gmail.com

Divish Ajmani

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
e-mail: divish.ajmani@gmail.com

Robin Song

Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
e-mail: robinhsong@gmail.com

Lei Zhang

Tsuneishi (Shanghai) Ship Design Co., Ltd.,
Hongyi Plaza, No. 288 Jiujiang Road,
Huangpu District, Shanghai 200001, China
e-mail: lei.zhang@tsuneishi.com

Kenji Shimada

Computational Engineering & Robotics Laboratory,
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Carnegie Mellon University,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213
e-mail: shimada@cmu.edu

1Corresponding author.

Contributed by the Mechanisms and Robotics Committee of ASME for publication in the Journal of Mechanisms and Robotics. Manuscript received October 16, 2018; final manuscript received April 5, 2019; published online May 21, 2019. Assoc. Editor: Xilun Ding.

J. Mechanisms Robotics 11(4), 045002 (May 21, 2019) (10 pages) Paper No: JMR-18-1385; doi: 10.1115/1.4043604 History: Received October 16, 2018; Accepted April 11, 2019

Automating the double-hull block welding improves the shipbuilding efficiency and mitigates health risk to the welders. Due to the unique challenge posed by the internal structures, existing technologies are at most semi-autonomous. Believing that mobility is key to full autonomy, we employ mobile robot technology to transport the welding manipulator, treating the internal structures as obstacles. Though many robot designs for obstacle scaling exist, there is no selection guideline. To this end, we surveyed existing robots and came out with a taxonomy to explain the design philosophies behind them. From the survey, it is ascertained that there are two suitable philosophies: bridging and conforming. Bridging mechanisms create links between points on obstacles while conforming mechanisms have the robot’s body attuned to the surface contour of obstacles. Understanding the pros and cons, we conclude that having a hybrid mechanism with tracked arms and articulated body would be ideal for the structured environment. Subsequently, we studied the feasibility of the design in terms of configuration, geometry, kinematics, and stability. Lastly, the proposed design was tested by building a 1/3 scale prototype robot. It was made to perform the expected motions in a mock double-hull block setup. The experiment proved that the design achieves the mobility objectives of the robot. With this mobility design, we solved the most challenging issue in enabling fully autonomous welding in double-hull blocks. The taxonomy is instrumental in our design selection and could be helpful for other robot designers too.

Copyright © 2019 by ASME
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Fig. 1

Shipbuilding by assembling double-hull blocks

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Fig. 2

Welding sites and motion trajectories: (a) double bottom block and (b) bilge block

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Fig. 3

Robots classified according to obstacle scaling taxonomy

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Fig. 4

Conceptual design: (a) three links tracked drive and (b) possible configurations

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Fig. 6

Constraints and the feasible region: (a) chassis height and width and (b) chassis and arm length

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Fig. 7

Motion plan for bilge transverse ring climbing

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Fig. 8

Stability and friction analysis models: (a) two contact points and (b) three contact points

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Fig. 9

Stability and friction analysis results: (a) friction coefficient and (b) contact normal forces

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Fig. 10

Dimension and force analysis: (a) dimension and (b) forces and torques

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Fig. 11

Prototyping: (a) 1/3 scale prototype and (b) 1/3 scale mock-up

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Fig. 12

Motions of the 1/3 scale prototype: (a) climbing through a manhole, (b) climbing onto and travel on longis, (c) clinging onto horizontal stiffeners, (d) dipping motion under a pipe, and (e) climbing through a bilge transverse ring



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