Neat robotic welding with circular laser sensor: benefits and details

Welding robots can do a lot, but they lack awareness of their surroundings. If we were to start a robot program without a product, the robot would often not realise this. This is not a problem for a simple product, but a complex project with variations requires more intelligence. The ARC-EYE laser camera with circular scanning technology uses 3D imaging to create awareness in these situations. With more than 200 deliveries, Eric Leijten, team leader software development at Valk Welding and the creative mind behind the 3D software, dives into the operation and benefits of this camera.

Real-time seam tracking

"What we as humans are most aware of are images", begins Leijten. "As a small child, we see all kinds of things. We take them in and learn from them. With the ARC-EYE, this intelligence is in the software and the camera acts as an eye: it takes pictures." The software analyses this image and uses it to guide the welding robot during the welding process, providing a solution for welding materials where accurate seam tracking on the arc is difficult.

Unique circular concept

A unique feature of the ARC-EYE is its scanning method: the camera does not take a picture of a projected line, but takes pictures of a rotating laser 'spot' at high speed. Leijten explains the advantages: "Using a spot reduces both the surface that the laser covers and the total surface that is scanned. As a result, the camera detects fewer reflections that can interfere with the readings. Another advantage is that the laser power remains concentrated, allowing us to keep the required laser power low and safe." Reflections are particularly problematic for robot cameras when dealing with shiny materials such as aluminium and stainless steel, which Eric says is exactly where our ARC-EYE excels.

Measurements in 3D

As well as being less affected by reflections, the ARC-EYE's circular concept allows the camera to capture all six movement axes, which brings even more benefits: "Because a circle is projected outwards like a cone, you get a three-dimensional measurement. The distortion of this cone allows the software to recognise the position relative to the surface. For example, the ARC-EYE can immediately determine whether a curve goes up or down.”

Additional possibilities

Some productions require even more awareness during seam tracking: large products come with large displacements and certain materials shrink considerably. The ARC-EYE 'adaptive' is a software extension that not only guides the positions during welding, but also the welding parameters (such as speed, amount of wire, voltage and pendulum movement ). Companies dealing with multiple welding layers can also eagerly look forward to the future of ARC-EYE: "We are now working on a 'multi-pass' extension that will fully automatically calculate and generate all passes for multi-layer welding."


To use an ARC-EYE laser camera for your production, you need at least a Panasonic G3 welding robot. You will receive a computer with the software that analyses all the images and controls the welding robot. In order to operate and set up both the computer and the camera correctly, you will attend a 3-day in-house course with Valk Welding. Here, you will learn how to add the necessary commands to your robot program, how to choose the right welding seam shapes and how to set limits on the computer.

For further information, please contact us at info@valkwelding.com.



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