News and Events
Volume 1 - Edition 10
March 2005

Brown Brings an Old Process Into the 21st Century

Since the 19th Century people have been using resistance spot welding as their main means to weld and assemble large metal products such as automobiles. The original process involves bringing two electrodes under suitable force in contact with two pieces of material.  An extremely large electric current is then passed through the electrodes, generating enough resistive heat to form a weld.  This approach commonly uses AC power to generate the electric current which requires a step down transformer to lower the voltage level to a level appropriate for welding.  Unfortunately, this process provides very little control, and has negative impact on the power system.

In 2001, Dr. Lyndon Brown, faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, started looking at new ways to use a switch-mode power supply with a lead acid battery as the primary source, eliminating the need for a large power transformer.  Collaborating with colleagues at the University of Waterloo, Brown's unique research in the area of welding control resulted in a recent patent titled, Power Supply and Control Equipment for Resistance Welding Machine.  

The object of Brown's invention is a weld power supply that allows flexibility and precise control of the weld power supplied.  The power supply will be built around a high current capacity battery.  The battery can be charged without resorting to a large, heavy costly transformer or large current surges.

"My invention uses modern power electronics to produce cheaper and more accurate welding supplies," explains Brown.  "Commercialization is currently in the works."

Brown also has research interests in adaptive control, periodic disturbance cancellation and intermittent control.  He is also working on a music transcription device for people to input music into a computer and have the sheet music for that song print out.  This research is in the beginning stages.  If you are interested in working with Brown on this research initiative, please contact him at

Click here to view Brown's US patent.

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