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The Use of Fuzzy Logic in the Taguchi Method for the Optimisation of the Submerged Arc Welding Process

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The Use of Fuzzy Logic in the Taguchi Method for the Optimisation of the Submerged Arc Welding Process

Y. S. Tarng, W. H. Yang and S. C. Juang

Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, Taipei, Taiwan

The use of fuzzy logic in the Taguchi method to optimise the submerged arc welding process with multiple performance characteristics is reported in this paper. An orthogonal array, the signal-to-noise ratio, multiresponse performance index, and analysis of variance are employed to study the performance characteristics in the submerged arc welding process. The process parameters, namely arc current, arc voltage, welding speed, electrode protrusion, and preheat temperature are optimised with considerations of the performance characteristics, including deposition rate and dilution. Experimental results are provided to conrm the effectiveness of this approach. Keywords: Fuzzy logic; Optimisation; Submerged arc welding; Taguchi method

1.

Introduction

The Taguchi method is a powerful design of experiments (DOE) method [1]. It provides a simple, efcient, and systematic approach to optimising designs for performance, quality, and cost [2,3]. Parameter design, based on the Taguchi method, can optimise the performance characteristic through the setting of process parameters and can reduce the sensitivity of the system performance to sources of variation. However, most published Taguchi applications to date have been concerned with the optimisation of a single performance characteristic. Handling the more demanding multiple performance characteristics is still an interesting research problem [4]. In this study, the use of fuzzy decision-making logic to perform fuzzy reasoning of multiple performance characteristics has been studied. It is shown that optimisation of multiple performance characteristics can be transformed into optimisation of a single performance index through fuzzy logic. As a result, the integration of

fuzzy logic with the Taguchi method can be used to solve the optimisation of the multiple performance characteristics. In this paper, the optimisation of the submerged arc welding (SAW) process, with the multiple performance characteristics, is studied using the proposed approach. Submerged arc welding, rst introduced in the early 1930s, was developed to provide high-quality deposited weld metal at a high deposition rate [5]. Today, the submerged arc welding process is still widely used in the nuclear, power generation, shipbuilding, offshore, and construction industries. In submerged arc welding, it is important to select welding parameters for achieving high welding performance [6]. Usually, the desired welding parameters are determined based on experience or handbook values. However, this does not ensure that the selected welding parameters result in optimal or near optimal welding performance for that particular welding machine and environment. Therefore, several mathematical models have been developed to correlate welding performance, such as deposition rate and dilution, with welding parameters [710]. To select welding parameters, an objective function with constraints is formulated to solve optimal welding parameters using optimisation techniques [10]. However, considerable knowledge and experience are required to use this approach. Furthermore, numerous welding experiments have to be performed to build the mathematical models. Therefore, an alternative approach based on the Taguchi method is used in this paper as an efcient method to determine the optimal welding parameters. In the following sections, the Taguchi method with multiple performance characteristics is briey introduced and then submerged arc welding process is described. Next, experimental details of using the Taguchi method to optimise the submerged arc welding process, with a high deposition rate and low dilution, are given. Finally, the paper concludes with a summary.

Correspondence and offprint requests to: Professor Y. S. Tarng, Department of Mechanical Engineering, National Taiwan University of Science and Technology, 43 Keelung Road Section 4, Taipei, 10672 Taiwan. E-mail: ystarngmail.ntust.edu.tw

In the Taguchi method, engineering optimisation of a process is carried out in three steps, that is, system design, parameter design, and tolerance design. First, the system design examines

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the process sequences, production equipment, and tentative process parameter values in the process design stage. Then, the parameter design determines the optimal settings of the process parameter values for improving performance characteristics. Finally, tolerance design is used to analyse tolerances around the optimal settings recommended by the parameter design. Typically, tightening tolerances means purchasing better grade materials, components, or machinery, which increases cost. Therefore, parameter design is the key step in the Taguchi method for achieving high quality without increasing cost. To obtain high welding performance in the submerged arc welding process, the parameter design proposed by the Taguchi method is adopted in this paper. Experimental design methods [11] were originally developed by Fisher [12]. However, classical experimental design methods are too complex and are not easy to use. Furthermore, a large number of experiments has to be carried out as the number of the process parameters increases. The Taguchi method uses a special design of orthogonal arrays to study the entire parameter space with only a small number of experiments. The experimental results are then transformed into a signal-to-noise (S/N) ratio. The signal-to-noise ratio can be used to measure performance characteristics deviating from the desired values. Usually, there are three categories of performance characteristics in the analysis of the signal-to-noise ratio: the lower-the-better, the higher-the-better, and the nominal-the-better. Regardless of the category of the performance characteristic, the larger signal-tonoise ratio corresponds to the better performance characteristic. Therefore, the optimal level of the process parameters is the level with the highest signal-to-noise ratio. Furthermore, a statistical analysis of variance (ANOVA) is performed to identify the process parameters that is statistically signicant. The optimal combination of the process parameters can then be predicted based on the above analysis. Finally, a conrmation experiment is conducted to verify the optimal process parameters obtained from the parameter design. The Taguchi method is designed to handle the optimisation of a single performance characteristic. The usual recommendation for the optimisation of a process with multiple performance characteristics is left to engineering judgement and is veried by experiments [13]. This is because several problems are encountered in the optimisation of a process with multiple performance characteristics. For example, the category of each performance characteristic may not be same; the engineering unit for describing each performance characteristic may be different; and the importance of the performance characteristics may differ. As a result, the application of the Taguchi method in a process with multiple performance characteristics cannot be straightforward. In this paper, an attempt to deal with the optimisation of the submerged arc welding process with multiple performance characteristics is reported. Several fuzzy rules are derived based on the performance requirement of the submerged arc welding process. The loss function corresponding to each performance characteristic is fuzzied and then a multiresponse performance index is obtained through fuzzy reasoning using fuzzy rules. The multiresponse performance index can be used to optimise the submerged arc welding process based on the Taguchi approach.

The submerged arc welding process (Fig. 1) derived its name from the fact that the arc between a continuously fed electrode and the base metal is hidden under a granular ux blanket. The heat of the arc is used to melt the surface of the base metal and the end of the electrode, where protection for the molten metal from the atmosphere is given by the granular ux blanket which melts and intermixes with the molten weld metal. The variations in welding parameters, such as arc current, arc voltage, travelling speed, electrode protrusion, and preheat temperature, greatly affect the welding performance, for example, deposition rate and dilution. Therefore, proper selection of the welding parameters can result in better welding performance in the submerged arc welding process.

3.1 Setting the Levels of Welding Parameters

In this study, a martensitic stainless steel hardfacing layer was deposited by the submerged arc welding process on 30 80 120 mm3 mild steel plates. The chemical compositions of the mild steel plates and the stainless steel ux cored electrode of 4 mm diameter are shown in Table 1. The electrode was connected to the positive terminal of Lincoln DC-1500 power source with an NA-3A controller. The ux was baked for 2 h at 523 K before use. The base metal preheat was carried out using an oxyacetylene gas torch with a heating nozzle and was measured using a temperature indicator with a 1% accuracy of the rated temperature. In the experiments, a total of 4 layers with 4 passes per layer were deposited on each plate. The length of deposit in each pass was about 100 mm. The initial welding parameters were: arc current of 450 A, arc voltage of 28 V, welding speed of 40 cm min1, electrode protrusion of 25 mm, and preheat temperature of

Table 1. Chemical composition of base metal and electrode. Materials Chemical composition (mass %) C Mild steel Base metal Stainless steel electrode 0.13 0.44 Si 0.2 0.40 Mn 0.8 1.65 S P Ni Cr Cu

0.017 0.09

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Y. S. Tarng et al. Table 3. Experimental layout using an L8 orthogonal array. Level 1 450* 28* 30 19 185* Level 2 550 30 40* 25* 215 Experiment Welding parameter level number A Arc B Arc C D E Preheat current voltage Welding Electrode temperature speed protrusion 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 1 1 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 1 1 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 1 2 2 1 2 1

Table 2. Welding parameters and their levels. Symbol A B C D E Welding parameter Arc current Arc voltage Welding speed Electrode protrusion Preheat temperature Unit A V cm min1 mm C

185C. Welding experiments for determining the optimal welding parameters were carried out by setting welding current at 450 A or 550 A, welding voltge at 28 V or 30 V, welding speed at 30 cm min1 or 40 cm min1, electrode protrusion at 19 mm or 25 mm, and preheat temperature at 185C or 215C (Table 2).

3.2 Measured Welding Performance

space using the L8 orthogonal array. The experimental layout for the welding parameters using the L8 orthogonal array is shown in Table 3.

4.2 Signal-to-Noise Ratio

Welding performance is evaluated by the following measurements. First, the deposition rate was calculated by multiplying the cross-sectional area of the weld deposit above the surface of the base metal by the welding speed and the density of the stainless steel electrode. Secondly, the dilution was measured after a weld cross-section was polished and etched. The dilution is dened by the ratio of the area of fused base metal to the total area of the weld and is usually expressed as a percentage.

4.1 Orthogonal Array Experiment

In the Taguchi method, a loss function is dened to calculate the deviation between the experimental value and the desired value. Usually, there are three categories of performance characteristic in the analysis of the signal-to-noise ratio, that is, the lower-the-better, the higher-the-better, and the nominalthe-better. To obtain optimal submerged arc welding performance, maximum deposition rate and minimum dilution are desired. Therefore, the higher-the-better deposition rate and the lower-the-better dilution should be selected. In most circumstances, the deposition rate is more important owing to economic criteria. The loss function of the higher-the-better performance characteristic can be expressed as: Lij = 1 n

To select an appropriate orthogonal array for experiments, the total degrees of freedom must be computed. The degrees of freedom are dened as the number of comparisons between process parameters that must be made to determine which level is better and, specically, how much better it is. For example, a two-level process parameter counts for one degree of freedom. The degrees of freedom associated with interaction between two process parameters are given by the product of the degrees of freedom for the two process parameters. In the present study, the interaction between the welding parameters is neglected. Therefore, there are ve degrees of freedom owing to the ve sets of welding parameters in the submerged arc welding process. Once the degrees of freedom are known, the next step is to select an appropriate orthogonal array to t the specic task. The degrees of freedom for the orthogonal array should be greater than, or at least equal to, those for the process parameters. In this study, an L8 orthogonal array with ve columns and eight rows was used. This array has seven degrees of freedom and it can handle two-level process parameters. Each welding parameter is assigned to a column and eight welding parameter combinations are available. Therefore, only eight experiments are required to study the entire welding parameter

n k=1

1 y2 ijk

(1)

where Lij is the loss function of the ith performance characteristic in the jth experiment, n is the number of tests, and yijk is the experimental value of the ith performance characteristic in the jth experiment at the kth test. The loss function Lij of the lower-the-better performance characteristic can be expressed as: Lij = 1 n

n k=1

y2

ijk

(2)

The loss function is further transformed into a signal-tonoise ratio. In the Taguchi method, the S/N ratio is used to determine the performance characteristic deviating from the desired value. The signal-to-noise ratio ij for the ith performance characteristic in the jth experiment can be expressed as: ij = 10 log(Lij) (3)

Table 4 shows the experimental results for the deposition rate and its signal-to-noise ratio based on the experimental layout (Table 3). The experimental results for the dilution and

The Use of Fuzzy Logic in the Taguchi Method Table 4. Experimental results for deposition rate and its signal-tonoise ratio. Experiment number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Deposition rate (kg h1) 5.34 7.57 6.88 7.47 8.00 8.58 7.74 8.37 S/N ratio (dB) 14.55 17.58 16.75 17.47 18.06 18.67 17.77 18.45

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its signal-to-noise ratio are shown in Table 5. As shown in Tables 4 and 5, the engineering units for describing the deposition rate and dilution are different. To consider the two different performance characteristics in the Taguchi method, the signal-to-noise ratios corresponding to the deposition rate and dilution are processed by the fuzzy logic unit.

4.3 Fuzzy Logic Unit

A fuzzy logic unit comprises a fuzzier, membership functions, a fuzzy rule base, an inference engine, and a defuzzier. First, the fuzzier uses membership functions to fuzzify the signalto-noise ratios. Next, the inference engine performs fuzzy reasoning on fuzzy rules to generate a fuzzy value. Finally, the defuzzier converts the fuzzy value into a multiresponse performance index. The structure of the two-input-one-output fuzzy logic unit is shown in Fig. 2. In the following, the concept of fuzzy reasoning is briey described, based on the two-input-one-output fuzzy logic unit. The fuzzy rule base consists of a group of ifthen control rules with the two inputs, x1 and x2, and one output y, that is: Rule 1: if x1 is A1 and x2 is B1 then y is C1 else Rule 2: if x1 is A2 and X2 is B2 then y is C2 else Rule n: if x1 is An and x2 is Bn then y is Cn. Ai, Bi and Ci are fuzzy subsets dened by the corresponding membership functions, i.e. Ai, Bi, and Ci. In the paper, three fuzzy subsets are assigned in the two inputs (Figs 3 and 4). Seven fuzzy subsets are assigned in the output (Fig. 5). Various degrees of membership of the fuzzy sets are calculated based on the values of x1, x2, and y. Nine fuzzy rules (Table 6) are

Table 5. Experimental results for dilution and its signal-to-noise ratio. Experiment number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Dilution (%) 16.5 12.1 19.0 10.0 16.0 12.8 17.1 15.5 S/N ratio (dB) 24.35 21.66 25.58 20.00 24.08 22.14 24.66 23.80

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Y. S. Tarng et al. Table 8. Multiresponse performance index table. S/N ratio of deposition rate Small Medium Large Medium Large Very Large A B C D E Arc current Arc voltage Welding speed Electrode stickout Preheat temperature Symbol Welding parameter Mean MRPI Level 1 0.501 0.569 0.522 0.425 0.504 Level 2 0.603 0.535 0.582 0.679 0.600 MaxMin 0.103 0.033 0.060 0.255 0.096

Table 7. Results for the multiresponse performance index. Experiment number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Multiresponse performance index 0.332 0.642 0.318 0.710 0.554 0.746 0.494 0.619

directly derived based on the fact that the larger the signal-tonoise ratio is, the better the performance characteristic. By taking the maxmin compositional operation [14], the fuzzy reasoning of these rules yields a fuzzy output. Suppose x1 and x2 are the two input values of the fuzzy logic unit, the membership function of the output of fuzzy reasoning can be expressed as: C0(y) = (A1(x1) B1 (x2) Ci (y)) . . .(An (x1) Bn (x2) Cn (y)) (4)

Fig. 6. Multiresponse performance index graph.

where is the minimum operation and is the maximum operation. Finally, a defuzzication method, called the centre of gravity method [14], is adopted here to transform the fuzzy inference output C0(y) into a non-fuzzy value y0, that is: y0 = y C0 (y) C0 (y) (5)

In this paper, the non-fuzzy value y0 is called a multiresponse performance index (MRPI). Based on the above discussion, the larger the multiresponse performance index is, the better the performance characteristic. Table 7 shows the experimental results for the multiresponse performance index using the experimental layout (Table 3). Since the experimental design is orthogonal, it is then possible to separate out the effect of each welding parameter at different levels. For example, the mean of the multiresponse performance index for the arc current at levels 1 and 2 can be calculated by averaging the multiresponse performance indices for experiments 1 to 4 and 5 to 8, respectively (Table 3). The mean of the multiresponse performance index for each level of the other welding parameters can be computed in a similar manner. The mean of the multiresponse performance index for each level of the welding parameters is summarised and called the multiresponse performance index table (Table 8).

In addition, the total mean of the multiresponse performance index for the eight experiments is also calculated and is listed in Table 8. Figure 6 shows the multiresponse performance index graph and the dashed line indicated in Fig. 6 is the value of the total mean of the multiresponse performance indices. The larger the multiresponse performance index is, the smaller the variance of performance characteristics around the desired vlaue. However, the relative importance of the different welding parameters for the multiple performance characteristics must still be known so that the optimal combinations of the welding parameter levels can be determined more accurately.

4.4 Analysis of Variance

The purpose of the analysis of variance (ANOVA) is to investigate which process parameters signicantly affect the performance characteristic. This is accomplished by separating the total variability of the multiresponse performance indices, which are measured by the sum of the squared deviations from the total mean of the multiresponse performance index, into contributions by each of the process parameters and the error. First, the total sum of the squared deviations SST from the

The Use of Fuzzy Logic in the Taguchi Method Table 9. Results of the analysis of variance. Symbol Welding parameter Degree Sum of of squares freedom 1 1 1 1 1 2 7 0.0222 0.0019 0.0079 0.1324 0.0195 0.0024 0.1863 Mean F square Contribution (%) 11.9 1.0 4.2 71.1 10.5 1.3 100 Level Deposition rate (kg h1) Dilution (%) MRPI Table 10. Results of the conrmation experiment. Initial welding parameters A1B1C2D2E1 6.36 18.8 0.270 Optimal welding parameters Prediction Experiment A2B1C2D2E2

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A B C D E Error Total

Arc current Arc voltage Welding speed Electrode stickout Preheat temperature

0.0222 18.3 0.0019 1.6 0.0079 6.5 0.1324 109.5 0.0195 0.0012 16.1

0.679

= m + total mean of the multiresponse performance index m can be calculated as: SST =

q i=1

(i m)

(7)

p j=1

(j m)2

(6)

where p is the number of experiments in the orthogonal array and j is the mean of the multiresponse performance index for the jth experiment. The total sum of the squared deviations SST is decomposed into two sources: the sum of the squared deviations SSd due to each process parameter, and the sum of the squared error SSe. The percentage contribution by each of the process parameters in the total sum of the squared deviations SST can be used to evaluate the importance of the process parameter change on the performance characteristic. In addition, the Ftest named after Fisher [12] can also be used to determine which process parameters have a signicant effect on the performance characteristic. Usually, a change in the process parameter has a signicant effect on the performance characteristic when the F value is large. Results of the analysis of variance (Table 9) indicate that arc current, welding speed, electrode protrusion, and preheat temperature are the signicant welding parameters for affecting the multiple performance characteristics, where electrode protrusion is the most signicant. This result is consistent with the experimental result reported in [15]. In addition, the change of arc voltage in the range given by Table 2 has an insignicant effect on the dened multiresponse performance index. Therefore, based on the above discussion, the optimal welding parameters are the arc current at level 2, the arc voltage at level 1, the welding speed at level 2, the electrode protrusion at level 2, and the preheat temperature at level 2.

4.5 Conrmation Tests

where m is the total mean of the multiresponse performance index, i is the mean of the multiresponse performance index at the optimal level, and q is the number of the process parameters that signicantly affect the multiple performance characteristics. Based on Eq. (7), the estimated multiresponse performance index using the optimal welding parameters can then be obtained. Table 10 shows the results of the conrmation experiment using the optimal welding parameters. As shown in Table 10, the deposition rate is increased from 6.36 kg h1 to 8.32 kg h1 and the dilution is decreased from 18.8% to 16.7% through this study.

5. Conclusions

This paper has presented an application of fuzzy logic using the Taguchi method for the optimisation of the submerged arc welding process with multiple performance characteristics. Fuzzy logic is used to perform a fuzzy reasoning of the multiple performance characteristics. As a result, the performance characteristics such as deposition rate and dilution can be simultaneously considered and improved through this approach instead of using engineering judgement. Experiments were conducted to conrm this approach. Hence, a novel and efcient approach for quality optimisation of manufacturing systems with a consideration of multiple performance characteristics has been proposed in this study.

Acknowledgement

Financial support from the National Science Council of the Republic of China, Taiwan under grant number NSC84-2212E011-005 is acknowledged with gratitude.

Once the optimal level of the process parameters is selected, the nal step is to predict and verify the improvement of the performance characteristic using the optimal level of the process parameters. The estimated signal-to-noise ratio using the optimal level of the process parameters can be calculated as:

References

1. G. Taguchi, Introduction to Quality Engineering, Asian Productivity Organization, Tokyo, 1990. 2. P. J. Ross, Taguchi Techniques for Quality Engineering, McGrawHill, New York, 1988.

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Y. S. Tarng et al. Journal of the Institution of Engineers, India, 76, pp. 3943, 1995. H. L. Tsai, Y. S. Tarng and C. M. Tseng, Optimization of submerged arc welding process parameters in hardfacing, International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology, 12, pp. 402406, 1996. D. C. Montgomery, Design and Analysis of Experiments, John Wiley, Singapore, 1991. R. A. Fisher, Statistical Methods for Research Workers, Oliver and Boyd, London, 1925. M. S. Phadke, Quality Engineering Using Robust Design, Prentice Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1989. H. J. Zimmermann, Fuzzy Set Theory and its Applications, Kluwer, London, 1985. J. Tusek, Inuence of wire extension length on the welding process, International Journal for the Joining of Materials, 8(3), pp. 113119, 1996.

3. A. Bendell, J. Disney and W. A. Pridmore, Taguchi Methods: Applications in World Industry, IFS Publications, UK, 1989. 4. E. A. Elsayed and A. Chen, Optimal levels of process parameters for products with multiple characteristics, International Journal of Production Research, 31(5), pp. 11171132, 1993. 5. H. B. Cary, Modern Welding Technology, Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey, 1989. 6. C. E. Thornton, Increasing productivity in submerged arc welding, Welding Review, 11(1), pp. 1415, 1992. 7. N. Murugan, R. S. Parmar and S. K. Sud, Effect of submerged arc welding process variables on dilution and bead geometry in single wire surfacing, Journal of Materials Processing Technology, 37, pp. 767780, 1993. 8. L. J. Yang, M. J. Bibby and R. S. Chandel, Linear regression equations for modeling the submerged arc welding process, Journal of Materials Processing Technology, 39, pp. 3342, 1993. 9. T. Srihari and R. S. Parmar, Weld bead geometry prediction,

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