Welding | UK


We’ve been welding, as humans, for millennia. As technology advances our understanding of metals and how we bond them progresses too. These days we’re able to automate welding on massive scales, allowing for truly modern manufacturing.

We use welding to join materials together in projects as large as the welding of undersea pipes, or as delicate as creating components for the automotive industry. It’s such an essential part of manufacturing that there are few projects that aren’t touched by it today.

One element of the welding process that has always been an issue though is defects. The process of welding is susceptible to creating defects that weaken the bond between two components, that could create gaps in the weld, increase porosity and other problems. In many cases this can be catastrophic, so identifying and minimising them has always been a priority.

A major contributing factor in defect creation is that welding is a highly skilled profession. Any person without the right training and years of experience might create these defects. Globally, the talent pool of top quality welders will always be limited.

WELDZERO aims to eliminate welding defects by gaining a better understanding of the welding process and improving automated welding within manufacturing. With the use of digital tools, the goal is to create significant improvements in quality, accuracy, precision and cost. Ultimately, we want to WELD with ZERO defects!

End Users


Time Frame

  • April 2020 – March 2022


  • BMW Swindon
  • BMW Oxford
  • LOR Nottingham
  • SS7 Glasgow
  • TWI Cambridge

The dream of defect free welding is more important now than ever before. Global trends mean automation in manufacturing is becoming the norm rather than the exception, and creating technologies that ensure quality output from these systems is vital.

By leading the way on defect free welding in automated manufacturing, the UK positions itself as a creator of key enabling technologies in today’s world. That’s where WELDZERO takes centre stage.

As the innovation core of ATS Global, Atlas is enabling WELDZERO to create a digital ecosystem in which real-time process inspection can happen. We want to allow instant optimisation with the aim of achieving zero defects in the welding process.

Each of the end users have unique challenges related to welding. Laing O’Rourke wants to eliminate weld defects in their robotic welding cells for construction panels. BMW looks to gain a better understanding of welding processes and minimising the need for reworks in their car components. SubSea7 wants to automate the welding process of underwater gas pipes.

The target of the project is to use the solutions provided by WELDZERO to increase productivity by 40%.

How cutting edge technology benefits welding

With WELDZERO, Atlas and TWI are aiming to eliminate defects completely. That doesn’t necessarily mean that every weld will be perfect, but it does mean that no defect will go undetected and that the process of spotting, fixing, or redoing a weld where a defect appears becomes automated and instantaneous.

Atlas has provided a digital platform in which WELDZERO can map and automate not only the welding process, but also the detection of and reaction to defects. Using cutting edge sensors, 5G networking, edge computing, and the power of the cloud, the project aims to prove that advanced technology can help to seek and destroy defects as they occur.


Bringing state of the art data handling into real-world manufacturing

As with all advances provided by the fourth industrial revolution (I4.0), data is at the heart of it. Welding processes in the manufacturing world create massive amounts of very useful data, but without being able to process it in a timely manner, it lacks potency.

Atlas is enabling WELDZERO to turn mountains of data into usable insight in real-time.

By integrating cutting edge sensor technology, direct control of welding technology is realised, as well as constant and instant feedback. That data can be processed at the edge, decreasing data handling time and maximising the efficiency of computations in the cloud.

This combination of technologies creates a data rich environment where automation is achieved in both manufacturing and quality control.

The Outcome

WELDZERO’s success will accelerate the wider adoption of I4.0 technologies as the project demonstrates the effectiveness of digital welding. Showing that each step of the manufacturing welding process can not only be handled digitally, but also automated within a unified platform, provides massive incentives for manufacturers at home and abroad.

With a diverse set of use cases and satisfied end users, Atlas and WELDZERO will successfully demonstrate that zero defect welding is an attainable goal. Not only that, but Atlas will be able to demonstrate that a singular platform is capable of handling the defect free welding for use cases as disparate as the welding of underwater gas pipes to minute automotive components.

As a UK innovation project, this will have a serious impact on the UK’s global position, improving its competitiveness in global manufacturing.


  • Demonstrating the viability of zero defect welding using digital technologies
  • Creating a single digital platform that can handle disparate welding challenges
  • Strengthening the UK’s global manufacturing position
  • Increasing productivity and efficiency in manufacturing welding operations by up to 40%
This project received funding by Made Smarter Innovation at UK Research and Innovation under grant agreement No.105812