International competitiveness requires the UK to modernise its industrial capabilities, which are steering industries towards widespread development and adoption of automation, and autonomous based solutions. These technologies have the potential to create novel and disruptive manufacturing capabilities leading to significant improvements in quality, accuracy, precision, and cost to manufacture.

High integrity welding is a key enabling technology for UK manufacturing and the purpose of WeldZero is to develop and showcase the benefits of adopting intelligent welding robotic system solutions within a cyber-physical production system (CPPS).

The WeldZero project will develop and showcase the benefits of digital technologies applied to welding operations in an industrial manufacturing context to support a zero defect strategy. By bringing together state-of-the-art data integration approaches and data handling with real-world manufacturing to work to the achievement of zero defects in a multi-stage production line. This will prove the effectiveness of digital welding and accelerate the wider adoption of the new Industry 4.0 strategies in the existing manufacturing systems -- improving the competitiveness of the UK.

The system created will be based around a data rich manufacturing environment whereby both direct machine control and feedback can be collated and processed in real-time. Coupled to this system will be a number of additional technology applications such as weld toolpath planning and simulation, advanced sensor integration and control algorithms, machining learning and data analysis. This will then feedback into specific welding cell control systems to substantially improve manufacturing performance.

The project will demonstrate the impact of WeldZero using four different welded product applications from the construction, automotive and off-shore manufacturing sectors; each using different welding process solutions; with the aim of increasing productivity by at least 40%.

WeldZero contributes to all key innovation areas under the Manufacturing Made Smarter competition:

Smart connected factory: application and use of use of real-time data to optimise operational efficiency capture, analysis and visualisation of manufacturing processes.
Connected and versatile supply chain: Full process information integration, communication and traceability are a key aspects of WeldZero.
Design, make, test, including: Primarily contributing to virtual product testing, verification and validation, quality monitoring and inspection -- in the context of weld processing and manufacturing sequencing design.
Adaptable, flexible manufacturing operations: Enable adoption of advanced welding technologies in a human-centric automation and autonomy, enabling flexible manufacturing systems.

Lead Participant

Project Cost

Grant Offer

ATS APPLIED TECH SYSTEMS LTD. £626,498 £ 219,274


LANCASTER UNIVERSITY £115,999 £ 115,999
HAL ROBOTICS LTD £202,208 £ 80,883
TWI LIMITED £527,259 £ 527,259
PRODTEX LIMITED £31,521 £ 12,608
BMW (UK) MANUFACTURING LIMITED £1,149,320 £ 224,117


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