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Robotics: Hyundai develops small welding robot to tackle big jobs

Hyundai Heavy Industries tests out its new miniature robotic welding arm

Hyundai Heavy Industries (HHI), which lays claim to being the largest shipbuilding company in the world, says it has developed a miniature welding robot that can be easily transported by a worker and affixed to a ship using magnets. The small, portable robot is expected to increase worker productivity two to threefold.

Developed at an internal HHI Research Institute, the miniature welding arm weighs just 15 kg (33 lb), and measures 15 cm (6 inches) high and 50 cm (20 inches) long. The arm itself consists of six joints, allowing it to reach and move like a human arm. Like other industrial robots, this one can operate continuously and produces clean, uniform results.

The robot's small form factor not only makes it easy to transport, but allows it to weld in tight spaces that may be hard to reach by human workers. HHI is involved not only in shipbuilding but also offshore oil rigs, so the robot will get different software to allow it to tackle multiple jobs on marine construction sites, including steel cutting, blasting, and painting work.

The robot is expected to at least double productivity because a single worker can oversee two to three of the robots at once. HHI will deploy the robot in the latter half of this year and says it will ramp up development of other marine construction robots in the future.



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