Temperature control of robotic friction stir welding using the thermoelectric effect
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Friction stir welding (FSW) of non-linear joints receives an increasing interest from several industrial sectors like automotive, urban transport and aerospace. A force-controlled robot is particularly suitable for welding complex geometries in lightweight alloys. However, complex geometries including three-dimensional joints, non-constant thicknesses and heat sinks such as clamps cause varying heat dissipation in the welded product. This will lead to changes in the process temperature and hence an unstable FSW process with varying mechanical properties. Furthermore, overheating can lead to a meltdown, causing the tool to sink down into the workpiece. This paper describes a temperature controller that modifies the spindle speed to maintain a constant welding temperature. A newly developed temperature measurement method is used which is able to measure the average tool temperature without the need for thermocouples inside the tool. The method is used to control both the plunging and welding operation. The developments presented here are applied to a robotic FSW system and can be directly implemented in a production setting.
KeywordsFriction stir welding FSW Temperature control Force control Robotics Process automation
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