Journal article

Hand Impedance Measurements During Interactive Manual Welding With a Robot

This paper presents a study of hand impedance measurements comparatively across ten professional and 14 novice manual welders, when they are performing tungsten inert gas (TIG) welding interactively with the KUKA lightweight robot arm (LWR). The results show that hand impedance differs across professional and novice welders. The welding torch is attached to the KUKA LWR, which is admittance controlled via a force sensor to give the feeling of a free floating mass at its end-effector. The subjects perform TIG welding on 1.5-mm-thick stainless steel plates by manipulating the torch. Impedance is measured by introducing external force disturbances and fitting a mass-damper-spring model to human hand reactions. The quality of welding is measured using the variance of the position signals above 0.1 Hz. Professional welders demonstrate less variance and, in general, apply larger hand impedance (larger damping and stiffness) than the novice welders. The variance of position during nominal welding is minimal for both professional and novice welders in the direction perpendicular to the welding line in the plane of the plate, which is the most important direction for the quality of the weld. For both professional and novice welders, the mass and damping values are largest in this direction compared with the other two directions. Professional welders demonstrate larger damping than the novice welders in this direction.


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