AI solution to improve weld testing project gets underway

Classification society DNV GL has signed a cooperation agreement with Guangzhou Shipyard International Company Limited (GSI) at Marintec China for a joint development project (JDP) to improve welding non-destructive testing (NDT) efficiency through the automatic detection and assessment of radiography testing (RT) digital images.

Under the agreement, GSI and DNV GL AI Research Center will utilise the latest artificial intelligence (AI) technology to develop a new solution for automatic detection and assessment of welding seam indications in RT digital images.

Ship building involves countless welds. X­rays are used to detect weld imperfections such as porosity, slag and cracks. These X­ray images need to be reviewed by non-destructive testing experts, which is very time-consuming. By replacing the manual assessment of welding seam indications with artificial intelligence algorithms, human efforts will only be necessary for the final acceptance review. Thus, unacceptable welds are reported much more quickly, which can lead to shorter building times.

“We will build a web-based application to initially provide the new AI solution to shipyards for automated testing of weld seam quality,” said Dr Pierre C. Sames, Director for DNV GL Group Technology & Research. “Our approach towards weld detection can not only be used in shipbuilding, but in other industries where NDT is used as a quality control tool,” he added.

Chen Zhongqian, Chairman of GSI, and Knut Ørbeck-Nilssen, CEO of DNV GL – Maritime, who initiated the project earlier this year, attended the signing ceremony at Marintec China alongside other members of the management teams. Zhou Mushun, Chief Engineer of GSI, and Norbert Kray, Regional Manager for Greater China at DNV GL, signed the cooperation agreement on behalf of both parties.

“This cooperation marks another milestone for GSI’s long and fruitful cooperation with DNV GL over the past 22 years,” said Chen Zhongqian. “As the largest modern integrated shipbuilding enterprise in South China, GSI has rich and detailed welding images. I am glad that with DNV GL’s advanced AI, this data can now be used to contribute to the future development of shipbuilding technology.”

“We are very proud to partner with GSI on this innovative project,” said DNV GL Regional Manager Norbert Kray. “Our ambition is to be a technology leader and explore new solutions for the benefit of our customers. We look forward to helping more Chinese shipbuilders to build high-quality ships with cutting edge solutions such as this.”

2019 was a milestone year for the cooperation between GSI and DNV GL, with the 150th DNV GL classed vessels built at GSI. The types of vessels include oil tankers, bulk carriers, semi-submersibles, ro-ro vessels, and polar transport ships. In order to further strengthen the relationship, DNV GL and GSI signed a multi-year strategic cooperation agreement in March.

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