Robotic Column & Boom System – TEI

OUR Projects

Robotic Column & Boom System – TEI

OUR Projects


IR4 engaged with the team at TEI to provide a solution that was capable of fully welding all of the rotating screen trommels that TEi manufacture for the mining industry. Prior to engaging with IR4, the welders at TEi would be faced with spending many hours in difficult positions welding out the trommels.

In collaboration with TEi it was decided that the system solution should fully leverage the IR4 IP by implementing a machine learning level solution. TEi were seeking the flexibility of being able to process new variants of Trommel by simply importing the 3D model for that trommel. The IR4 software interrogates the model geometry and meta data within the model and then generates the robotic production plan to complete the welding out of the trommel with no further input required from the operator.

This software enables TEi to import concept models of trommels and the system will detail the production times and identify any welds that are unreachable due to plates being too close together. This then enables TEi to optimise design where practical to ensure the most efficient processing of the trommels.

Once the front end software has generated the production plans, the production software then automatically manages and coordinates all system movements to complete the welding of the trommels. The system will automatically account for out of position welds through replanning of the weld path trajectories after scanning the weld position.

The system as configured for TEi has a working envelope of 5.5M reach, 3M width and 4M in height with a rotator capacity of 9T. The working envelope is readily reconfigurable and can be adopted to various product processing requirements.

The IR4 system reduced trommel welding time from 64 hours to 13, and required less than one hour of operator time. Valuable skilled staff were then utilised elsewhere in the business while trommel output increased.

  • Provide Solution to automatically weld out differing trommel screens
  • Provide artificial intelligence solution that learns the most efficient way to process the trommels.
  • Capable of handling variations in part positions up to 50mm
  • Integrate ease of use for operator and digital reporting
  • System capable of calculating optimal torch angles in real-time for perfect repeatable welds
  • Where welds are unreachable at standard torch angles, the system will automatically test alternate torch angles within a set limit to achieve the weld.
  • Design automated adjustable rollers capable of handling different length and diameter parts
  • Design rollers are radially adjustable to ensure levelling of parts even if the end diameters are different
  • Provide significant quality and productivity improvements to current process
  • Design Column & Boom 7mtr high x 3mtr width and 5.5mtr reach including robot
  • 2D Laser scanning to validate weld position relative to the model
  • Laser scanning capability providing real-time quality assurance feedback on part fabrication accuracy
  • Automated software adjustment for out of position welds
  • Rotator configured to accommodate varying trommel screens and synchronise with robot welding
  • Single User Interface providing visual ques and ease of use for semi-skilled operator
  • Integrate 9-axis synchronous robotic welding with 11-axis motion
  • Automated system monitoring for process control
  • Automated reporting

The IR4 Robotic Column & Boom has the flexibility and bandwidth to cater for many different potential applications. The system size can be increased or decreased depending on custom requirements. Some example applications this system may be suitable for are:

  • Trommels
  • Pipe Spooling
  • Pressure Vessel
  • Complex difficult to access structures to be welded
  • Buckets
  • Crushers
  • Communication Towers

The IR4 – TEI project was successfully completed and installed Sept 22 and generated significant national interest in the system capability. The successful outcome is due to:

  • Significantly reducing build times of trommel with build time reducing from 64 hours down to 13 hours with the IR4 robotic solution
  • Integration of the IR4 artificial intelligence operating system capable of generating new weld paths and high-quality welds in real-time.
  • Robot plans for new trommels are automatically generated with the 3D model being loaded into the system.
  • Significantly increased safety for operator with complete isolation from the process
  • Ease of use, capable of being operated by semi-skilled staff
  • Intuitive human machine interface with clear graphical cue ensuring adherence to the process
  • The IR4 team would like to thank the team at TEI for the opportunity to showcase the capability of the Australian automation market.