Quality assuring welds

New method for quality-assuring welds

A new laser-based measurement system quality-assures welds online in production. The system reduces rejects and time spent on post inspections, and even increases opportunities for using high-strength steels where welds have previously been the weak points.

Swerea and the Royal Institute of Technology, in collaboration with Swedish industry, have developed a new measurement system for quality-assuring welded constructions. With the new system, the complete weld geometry can be quality-assured both quickly and objectively.

Replacing traditional quality assurance

Using traditional manual quality assurance, there is an inherent risk of not discovering all weaknesses and, to compensate for this, the constructions are made somewhat bulkier than necessary to distribute stress. The downside is that more material is consumed and that the construction is heavier.

With high-strength steel, material thicknesses can be decreased and constructions made lighter. But the use has been limited by the stringent demands on assuring weld quality.

New measurement system makes products lighter

With the new measurement system, welds can be measured and quality-assured, making it profitable to use highstrength steels. Weight savings of 20–40 percent can be attained, which makes products both less expensive and more environmentally friendly.

“Process monitoring can save millions of kronor each year through reduced overproduction,” says Anna Ericson Öberg, Manufacturing Research, Volvo Construction Equipment. “Final inspections prior to delivery to end customers could also be significantly streamlined or possibly even eliminated if the measurement system is implemented directly in the welding robot cells.”

The foundation of the new measurement system has been developed within the framework of a Vinnova project.