With an advantage of "single-sided welding and double-sided forming", plasma arc welding (PAW) has a great application potential in modern industrial production. The welding quality can be guaranteed by sensing and controlling of the keyhole. However, it is difficult to make an on-line observation on the back of base metal, and realize a dynamic registration of the visual sensor and welding torch. In this study, it has investigated the relationship between the welding condition and image feature of keyhole. Image processing is designed to obtain the feature image and conduct a template matching of the keyhole. The target feature of weld zone will be extracted and processed in real time. Besides, it has designed a digital controller for the welding robot and power source in this study, and discussed control method to stabilize the keyhole and achieve good welding quality. Eventually, experiments are conducted to inspect the comprehensive performance of the welding control system with varying disturbance. This study is of important significance for the visual sensing and controlling of the keyhole in PAW. It will provide technical support for the weld quality control, and promote the development of welding technology based on machine vision in intelligent manufacturing field.