YuMing Zhang, James R. Boyd Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, has received a grant from the National Science Foundation to further his ongoing research into realizing fully robotic automation of complex welding tasks. Zhang directs the UK Welding Research Lab.
The three-year grant is in the amount of $665,540. Peng Wang, assistant professor the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, will serve as co-PI.
The abstract for the project is below.
"There is a dramatic and growing shortage of highly skilled welders, accentuated by the fact that manufacturing complexity and production volumes are rising. As a result, global use of robotic welding is expanding rapidly. However, current welding robots are not as adaptive and creative as human welders in performing complex welding tasks that require sophisticated skills. This award supports fundamental research on advancing the robotic capabilities needed to realize fully robotic automation of complex welding tasks. The research will endow collaborative welding robots with sophisticated welding knowledge, expert intelligence, and an interactive learning capability to enable them to address dynamic welding scenarios. The research results will both enhance the scientific base for robotic control and facilitate the realization of fully automatic, robotic, and intelligent manufacturing. The research involves several disciplines, including welding, process monitoring, data visualization, machine learning, optimization, and robotic control. That multi-disciplinary approach will broaden the participation of students from diverse backgrounds in research, and the knowledge gained will be incorporated in curricula in robotic and intelligent manufacturing."