HHI Introduces Miniature Shipbuilding Robots

Operators get a feel for HHI's new miniature welding robots. Photo: HHI
Operators get a feel for HHI’s new miniature welding robots. Photo: HHI

South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries, the world’s largest shipbuilder (and also a leading industrial robot manufacturer), says it has developed miniature welding robots for building ships.

The compact design of the welding machine, measuring just 50 cm by 30 cm by 15cm when its welding arm is retracted, can operate in confined areas inaccessible to human welders. The robot’s six joints enable the machine to carry out almost all types of welding work at a similar speed usually done by a real, human welder.

Weighing in at just 33 lbs., the robot is equipped with a magnet on its body so it can be attached to steel walls or ceilings (think Spiderman). To increase productivity, the robot’s operator can control three machines simultaneously, and can program it for steel cutting and blasting and painting.

Hyundai Heavy says it plans to improve the robots to be usable for building on onshore and offshore facilities and construction equipment. The first mobile welding robots are scheduled to be used in building ships in Hyundai Heavy from the second half of this year.

In additions to ships, Hyundai Heavy is South Korea’s largest industrial robot manufacturer with 20 models of car assembly robots, 10 models of LCD handling robots. In addition, Hyundai is in the process of developing various types of surgical robots with in association with Asan Medical Center.