The automation of turbine blade welding provides both metallurgical benefits and production advantages. Heat-affected zone cracking in sensitive superalloys, such as IN738 and IN100, can be eliminated or greatly reduced by optimizing process control, and higher production yields can be achieved when welding jet engine blades.
However, the successful implementation of automated processes requires careful consideration and engineering of the technology package. In particular, the equipment packager must be experienced in the technology associated with turbine blade welding and incorporate appropriate tooling, measurement system, power source and robotic controls. An example of a welding system for high pressure blade tips is presented which required the development and integration of a novel vision system to measure the thickness of the squealer wall, in order to select the appropriate welding parameters. Several practical applications of the technology are demonstrated on turbine blades exhibiting typical dimensional and metallurgical variations.