Students from Hanze University of Applied Sciences Develop Methods for Moving Welding Robots in Shipbuilding

Second-year students from the Industrial Product Design (IPO) program at Hanze University of Applied Sciences have been tasked by Conoship International, as part of the Skills4Life / ROTSS (Regional Training and Testing Centre for Smart Shipbuilding) project, to develop a method for moving a welding robot within a shipyard without using overhead cranes.

Within the IPO program, students’ creativity is tested as they have to develop a wide variety of products. Coming up with a method to move a welding robot within a shipyard added a whole new dimension to this challenge. At the Royal Niestern Sander shipyard, the group of students saw how impressive shipbuilding is, and, combined with the information they received from Conoship, they set to work.

Ultimately, three ideas were selected and developed further, receiving interim feedback. The first was a cart on rails that could be moved into sections. The second idea was a cobot (collaborative robot) on a frame between four wires, stretched across the shipbuilding hall, allowing the robot to move like a camera in a football stadium. A support wire provides stability during welding. The third idea was a robot with magnets between four wires, moving along a ship’s wall. On June 13th, the three ideas were presented at Hanze.

“It was inspiring to see how students from a completely different field looked at shipbuilding and tackled the assignment. It shows how the students’ creativity is stimulated and developed during the IPO program. Innovating by looking at a process from different perspectives is precisely the aim of the Skills4Life / ROTSS project. Therefore, we are happy to continue this collaboration with Hanze University of Applied Sciences”, says Jules Blokhuis, Senior Project Manager at Conoship International.

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