The demand for increased productivity of welding operations has led to the expanded use of computer control to allow higher production rates while maintaining weld quality. The charateristics of the gas metal arc welding process and the relationship between welding parameters, the desired output of the welding process, and the automation of the process are discussed. A strategy for two-axis welding torch positioning and velocity control is developed based on preview control techniques. To evaluate the applicability of the proposed control method the motion of heat source along different welding paths is simulated on an analog computer with on-line control of process time constants by an LSI-11 microcomputer. The simulation results show that high quality seam tracking can be accomplished by controlling the torch motion using the proposed method. The method appears to be suitable for on-line control of welding processes.

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