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KBE Tool of the WeldGalaxy Platform

Mon, 24 January, 2022

Knowledge base engineering (KBE) is a system that accumulates the existing knowledge from the domain experts in the growth of the product and makes it available to reuse for the user. KBE models contain physics-based analysis, databases, spreadsheets, legacy programs, cost models, rule-based technologies, and any other relevant models.

In the WeldGalaxy project, TVS has developed a rule-based KBE tool, a web-based software system implementing the user interface layer (UI), business logic layer (rule engine), and data and knowledge layer (knowledge base). The KBE tool is developed to enable users to interact with the welding knowledge base extracted from welding databases, literature and captured from and verified by domain experts. This knowledge is represented in the platform by following a knowledge representation approach that allows structured query formation and retrieval of welding requirements from an extensive collection of knowledge at a reasonable time.

Figure 1. High-level view of the KBE tool
Figure 1. High-level view of the KBE tool

The KBE tool has been developed by integrating four modules shown in Figure 2. The four modules are the welding recommendations module, life cycle assessment (LCA) module, cost assessment module and feedback module.

Figure 2. Modules of the KBE tool
Figure 2. Modules of the KBE tool

The welding recommendations module helps the users by providing information about welding process parameters, process types, shielding gas, and filler material/electrodes for a pair of weldable materials applied in relevant industries. In addition, this module facilitates the tendering/bidding process based on recommended products and initial welding process parameters to enable simulation in the WeldGalaxy platform. Therefore, WeldGalaxy platform users can:

  • Get recommendations on welding similar or dissimilar materials
  • Save welding recommendation and use it to:  
  1. Get product recommendations and start tender processes with suppliers
  2. Run simulations

The cost assessment module allows users to perform production cost analysis for single and multiple welding processes. Cost module calculates production cost, considering all price and cost data required to perform welding, including consumables, energy, labour and overhead. The cost module helps users select a welding process by comparing costs between two or multiple processes.

Using the feedback module, users can provide feedback on welding recommendations and the overall KBE tool. This module aims to collect user feedback, comments, and suggestions to improve the user interfaces and enhance the overall system performance.

The KBE tool in the WeldGalaxy platform is the first of its kind to provide a life cycle assessment (LCA) module to evaluate the environmental performance of the arc welding process. The algorithm developed behind the LCA tool is based on the captured domain knowledge, which process the input data (input provided by the user) to estimate the basic lifecycle inventory (LCI). The basic LCI data of the relevant welding process is then fed to SimaPro (a commercial LCA software which includes Ecoinvent database version 3.6) as a background software LCA tool to evaluate the environmental performance of the respective welding process over different impact categories, such as climate change, human health etc.

For a particular welding process, LCA is being carried out for a 1m of welding activities with cradle to gate system boundary employing the SimaPro LCA application tool with ecoinvent v3.6 database and using the comprehensive life cycle impact assessment methodology IMPACT 2002+, v2.14 following the relevant standards: LCA framework of ISO 14040 and 14044 standards and International Reference Life Cycle Data System (ILCD).

The tool evaluates the environmental impacts for single and multiple welding processes and guides the users:

  • To select the best arc welding technology options (for specific application) with minimum environmental impacts (carbon footprint, human health, and others)
  • To support R&D activities to develop welding technology and consumables with minimum environmental impacts

All these modules of the KBE tool are integrated in the WeldGalaxy platform, as shown in Figure 3.

Figure 3. Modules of the KBE tool in the WeldGalaxy platform
Figure 3. Modules of the KBE tool in the WeldGalaxy platform

Article courtesy: TVS (UK)