Weld sequence optimization, which is determining the best (and worst) welding sequence for welding work pieces, is a very common problem in welding design. The solution for such a combinatorial problem is limited by available resources. Although there are fast simulation models that support sequencing design, still it takes long because of many possible combinations, e.g. millions in a welded structure involving 10 passes. It is not feasible to choose the optimal sequence by evaluating all possible combinations, therefore this paper employs surrogate modeling that partially explores the design space and constructs an approximation model from some combinations of solutions of the expensive simulation model to mimic the behavior of the simulation model as closely as possible but at a much lower computational time and cost. This surrogate model, then, could be used to approximate the behavior of the other combinations and to find the best (and worst) sequence in terms of distortion. The technique is developed and tested on a simple panel structure with 4 weld passes, but essentially can be generalized to many weld passes. A comparison between the results of the surrogate model and the full transient FEM analysis all possible combinations shows the accuracy of the algorithm/model.

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