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Tube Düsseldorf Recap

As the organizers of Wire & Tube Düsseldorf promised, the show held at the Düsseldorf Exhibition Centre was a terrific success.  Running from April 7 until April 11, 2014, some 72,000 visitors from 104 different countries roomed the exhibition halls, excited to learn about the latest technology being offered to the International Tube market.

With over 50,000 square meters of exhibition space occupied, a 3.1% increase over 2012, those exhibitors participating in the tube side of the show rated their experience with top marks.  Technology presented ranged from raw materials & accessories, machinery for production, and measurement and control equipment. 

Xiris Automation Inc. participated with Magnetic Analysis Corporation (MAC) exhibiting our WI2000p, Tube & Pipe Weld Inspection technology & our XVC-O Weld Camera, a weld monitoring system, along with MAC’s Non-destructive testing equipment.

Apr 22.14 Blog Tube Dusseldorf

Observations from the show:

Xiris representatives had numerous discussions with companies interested in weld inspection and monitoring technology. Opportunities were reviewed with both existing customers while several new possibilities were discussed with potential customers.

A number of manufacturers of very small diameter tubes visited the booth interested in exploring ways to inspect tube as small as 2mm in diameter.  Interestingly, most of these manufacturers weld their tubes using a longitudinal laser welding process with very tight manufacturing tolerances.

With a number of new projects worldwide in offshore oil and gas, the resurgent interest in offshore pipeline was very clear.  New requirements for inspecting spiral welded and orthogonal butt welded pipe are raising the need for additional quality measurements.  In particular, the need to double weld many critical weld joints requires special inspection systems to detect defects after each weld process.

The majority of the attendees stopping by the booth were decision makers looking for ways to improve their productivity and production efficiencies.

The next Tube Düsseldorf will take place April 4 to 8th, 2016.  Further information can be found at www.Tube.de.

See you in 2016!

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Case Study: Cinter S.A. - Tube Weld Inspection

Selling over great distances is never easy.  Even if the customer knows about you, often equipment needs to be demonstrated to plant personnel before a decision can be made.

That was the case when Cinter S.A. of Montevideo, Uruguay contacted Xiris with a problem.  They had several stainless steel tube mills that were being laser welded and they had abnormally high scrap rates.  They had tried many different improvements on their mills to bring the scrap rate down, with limited success.  They searched the market for a solution, contacting Xiris to see if the WI2000p Weld Inspection system would help them solve some of their quality issues.

 

But first they wanted to see a demonstration……

 

So, we packed up a system and shipped it to Uruguay, following on a promise by the customer that if the system meets their needs, they will buy it outright.  A long flight to Montevideo was booked and the passage made.  A system was installed on a Laser tube mill that would normally make stainless steel tubing with 50-100 mm diameter tubes.  Within hours, the customer was able to notice a number of benefits:

 Weld Inspection on Laser Mill

 

Benefit #1: Faster Set Up

The first thing they noticed was how much faster it was to set up their mill after a changeover.  Once the mill had been set up for a new product and material started to run, the operator would monitor the WI2000 system for Mismatch, Roll and Bead Height, adjusting a number of parameters until the measurements fell within specification.  Set up time was cut down significantly, producing less scrap.

 

Benefit #2: Wear Detection on Roller Tools

The second thing they noticed was how certain measurements such as Deflection would vary on a cyclical basis.  The amount of deflection would rise and fall periodically, indicating an inconsistency in the tooling.  It was discovered that wear of the forming rollers would cause some of this variance.  By replacing the rollers when the deflection got really bad, scrap could be reduced or avoided entirely when the deflection went out of specification.

 

Benefit #3: Reduce Tube Twisting

The third thing they noticed was how the tube would roll back and forth based on how well adjusted the forming and handling equipment was.  If the tube rolled too far in one direction, the seam could move out of the path of the Bead Removal Tool (Scarf, or grinding process) downsteam of the tube mill, causing scrap material.

 

Conclusion

The resulting cost savings benefits derived from reduced final product scrap, faster product set up times and fewer customer returns allowed the customer a payback of less than one year.  They were so happy with the system that they are looking to equip a number of their other mills with the same equipment in the year ahead.

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Monitoring Tube and Pipe Production to Find BEAD HEIGHT Defects

Recent advancements in machine vision technology have made a new type of inspection able to see defects related to the forming and welding area of a tube or pipe.  The result is improved quality assurance and process control on the production line.  The new type of inspection device is a laser-based triangulation system that measures the outside contour of a tube or pipe in the vicinity of its weld. 

Typically NDT systems are placed at the end of a production as a final check.  However, the laser inspection system can be placed directly after the weld box.  This system can let operators know what is changing in their welding process, allowing them to perform corrective action before significant scrap occurs. This capacity is especially helpful for one of the most common defects found across all types of Tube manufacturing: Tube Bead Height Defects. 

 

The Bead Height Defect (Raised or Sunken Welds)

The material in the bead area may rise on top of the tube parent material surface (known as a “raised weld”) or drop below it (known as a “sunken weld”), depending on the compression force applied, the metallurgy of the material and the welding process parameters.

A sunken weld defect is a visibly significant and quality critical defect that could create weakness in the tube along the bead.  While a raised weld defect may not be considered as an important a defect (as it can be ground off later), it can indicate quality problems in the setup of the welding process.

The bead measurement is defined as the largest absolute value of a raised or sunken weld.  Calculating the bead metric in this way helps to determine the height of the tube material that needs to be ground off to smooth the profile (and restore the cylindrical shape, as required).  In cases where there exists a mismatch defect at the same time, the bead metric will include the mismatch measurement and will report the total loss of the material thickness after grinding.

April 08.14 Blog Bead Height resized 600

The Bead Height Defect, where “h” = the height of the defect.

 

How the WI2000p System Measures the Bead Height Defects

Xiris Automation Inc. has developed a non-destructive inspection system called the WI2000p Weld Inspection System. The WI2000p  includes  a laser line and a camera whose optical axis is offset to the axis of the laser line by an “offset angle”.  The WI2000p creates a visible cross-section of the tube by projecting the laser line on to the tube and capturing an image of the line using the camera. The resulting image shows a  profile of the tube surface as if it were cut in cross section.  If a tube is ideally round, the laser image will represent a section of an ellipse and any anomaly such as Bead Height defects can be mathematically detected. 

The WI2000p bases all of its measurements on the differences between the actual laser profile line seen by the camera, and the ideal mathematical profile based on the tube parameters.  By knowing the position of the actual laser profile, the ideal profile, and the size of the pixels in the image, the WI2000p can detect Bead Height profile defects that often escape detection by other quality tools such as Eddy Current testing, or Ultrasonic Testing techniques

 

Conclusion

A new technique for detecting Bead Height defects on welded Tube and Pipe has been developed by Xiris and is known as the WI2000p weld inspection system.  The WI2000p system is a laser based inspection system that is capable of detecting Bead Height defects immediately after welding to alert the operator of a defect in time to minimize rejects.  The result is improved quality, fewer field defects and a more reliable method for the operator to optimize the welding process.

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Come Visit Us at Tube Düsseldof 2014!

 

April 01.14 Blog Tube logo

Xiris is in the final stages of preparation for next week’s Tube 2014 in Düsseldof, Germany, running from April 7 - 11.

Tube Düsseldorf is a leading trade fair for the global tube industry presenting a unique opportunity to meet with international visitors, decision makers and market leaders. And if the numbers from 2012 are any indication, we will be very busy! The 2012 Tube show saw over 4,659 visitors who came to investigate more than 1,178 exhibitors from 48 countries in 48,477 sq.m of exhibition space!

Xiris’ WI2000p, laser-based post weld inspection system, and our XVC-O, weld camera for Open Arc welding, will be on display in our partner’s booth - Magnetic Analysis Corporation, Hall 06, Stand G40.

We’re not only excited about demonstrating our products for the tube industry in this prestigious setting; we’re looking forward to meeting the innovative people and seeing the groundbreaking technology from other pioneering companies across the world.

If you’re going to be at Tube Düsseldorf, please visit booth Hall 6.0, Stand G40 there you’ll be able to see demonstrations the WI2000p as well as the XVC-O Weld Camera.

Better yet, please email us at sales@xiris.com to set up a personal product demonstration.

With over 2,400 of exhibitors registered, it’s a popular show, so there’s a good chance many of you are planning to attend, for the same good reasons we are. We know that it means you care about leading-edge technology.

Hope to see you in Düsseldorf, Germany!

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Notes from ABB Robotics Technology Days

ABB is celebrating 40 years of excellence in the robotics industry and further demonstrated their role as a leading technology provider with their successfully hosted event - ABB Robotics 2014 Technology Days at its Auburn Hills, Michigan location.

Over 80 products were showcased by countless Value Providers, ABB product managers and senior officials from around the globe who were present to provide hands on demonstrations. Technical seminars were also offered throughout the event and covered a range of application training workshops to technology specific sessions.

Weld Camera for Open Arc

Xiris participated as a Value Provider sponsor and also hosted a session on High Dynamic Range Imaging for Welding. With only standing room left, attendees were introduced to a history of Weld Camera developments and advancements made in Weld Camera technologies. High Dynamic Range Imaging is now commonly used in various open arc welding applications ranging from TIG, MIG to Plasma and Laser. Using a camera to view the weld process in real time allows the weld operator to monitor and adjust the weld process immediately while staying in a safe and comfortable environment. Applications where Weld Cameras are most beneficial in production environments were discussed and attendees had the opportunity to view sample videos of various applications.

Despite the challenging travel conditions Mother Nature had in store days leading up to the event, the show floor was busy with many visitors from various sectors of the automation industry. Customers had the opportunity to see equipment in action and meet with experts to discuss their specific applications.

We are enthused about the reception of Xiris as a camera technology provider and we were delighted to participate in an event that showcased innovative technology along with providing a forum for open networking to discuss application challenges in automation technologies.

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Monitoring Tube and Pipe Production to Find UNDERCUT Defects

Recent advancements in machine vision technology have made a new type of inspection able to see defects related to the forming and welding area of a tube or pipe.  The result is improved quality assurance and process control on the production line.  The new type of inspection device is a laser-based triangulation system that measures the outside contour of a tube or pipe in the vicinity of its weld. 

Typically NDT systems are placed at the end of a production as a final check.  However, the laser inspection system can be placed directly after the weld box, This system can let operators know what is changing in their welding process, allowing them to perform corrective action before significant scrap occurs. This capacity is especially helpful for one of the most common defects found mainly in Laser and Plasma welded Tube manufacturing: Weld Bead Undercut. 

 

The Undercut Defect

The undercut defect is primarily a result of laser or plasma welding processes.  It may form if the laser beam or plasma arc is too far off center of the ideal welding zone of the tube material.  Undercut is actually a non-melted, non-welded area of the bead that can occur on one or both sides of the bead.  It looks and behaves like a crack along the bead, creating a very weak point on the tube cross-section.  Undercuts are detected as sharp, narrow negative drops in the actual profile (where at least one side of the undercut must have a high deflection derivative, or near vertical slope) that happen close to the edges of the bead.  The absolute value of the biggest negative drop found is reported as the height of the undercut.

Mar 18.14 Blog Undercut

The Undercut Defect, where “h” = the height of the defect.


How the WI2000p System Measures the Undercut Defect

Xiris Automation Inc. has developed a non-destructive inspection system called the WI2000p Weld Inspection System. The WI2000p  includes  a laser line and a camera whose optical axis is offset to the axis of the laser line by an “offset angle”.  The WI2000p creates a visible cross-section of the tube by projecting the laser line on to the tube and capturing an image of the line using the camera. The resulting image shows a  profile of the tube surface as if it were cut in cross section.  If a tube is ideally round, the laser image will represent a section of an ellipse and any anomaly such as a Undercut can be mathematically detected. 

The WI2000p bases all of its measurements on the differences between the actual laser profile line seen by the camera, and the ideal mathematical profile based on the tube parameters.  By knowing the position of the actual laser profile, the ideal profile, and the size of the pixels in the image, the WI2000p can detect Undercut profile defects that often escape detection by other quality tools such as Eddy Current testing, or Ultrasonic Testing techniques

 

Conclusion

A new technique for detecting Undercut on laser or plasma welded Tube and Pipe has been developed by Xiris and is known as the WI2000p weld inspection system.  The WI2000p system is a laser based inspection system that is capable of detecting Undercut defects immediately after welding to alert the operator of a defect in time to minimize rejects.  The result is improved quality, fewer field defects and a more reliable method for the operator to optimize the welding process.

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How to Remotely View Your Weld Process

Ever since the development of automated welding, operators have needed to be able to monitor the welding process to ensure that all parameters are properly adjusted, that the welding head is properly aligned with the weld seam and work pieces, and that the weld pool, weld bead, and other features are all formed correctly. 

For this, fabricators have long relied on operators to directly view the process using welding helmets and protective screens, which contain a dark green filter to remove most of the harmful content of the radiation coming from a welding arc.

However, with recent advances in electronics, cameras such as the Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera have become equipped with High Dynamic Range imaging capability.  Such cameras can capture images from a weld process across a huge range of brightness, including the bright areas of the weld arc and the darker areas of the background areas around the weld.  With such clarity of image, operators are now able to monitor the cameras from afar rather than having to be close to the welding process.

 

There is Remote Imaging……

So, with such camera technology, how remote do the operators want to be to view their weld process?  Imagine some applications such as ship building, nuclear power plants or large pressure vessels where placing an operator near the welding process is both dangerous and difficult.  In such situations, the farther away the operator can be and still monitor the welding process, the better.

Properly designed electronics allow for a robust image to be transmitted from a camera on an automated welding cell to a display up to 40 m (132 ft) away from the camera.  That allows for the operator to be safely removed from the weld process while still being able to see what is going on.

 

Blog 140311 Remote monitoring resized 600 

Monitoring the Weld From Your Desk

 

….And Then There is Really, Really Remote Imaging….

Sometimes an automated welding cell has been installed in a location where all the stakeholders are not able to see it and monitor it.  Production managers, engineers and senior management may all want to occasionally monitor a critical welding process even though they are on the other side of the world! 

Blog 140311 Remote monitoring 2  

How to do it?  Camera cable lengths have their limits!  The solution is to make the camera system IP addressable so that the video images can be visible anywhere an internet connection can be found.  Xiris has implemented IP addressability on certain models of its XVC-O Weld Cameras so that customers can view the welding process very, very remotely!

 

Conclusion

Whether you want to be a short distance away from the welding process, or on the opposite side of the world, there is a way to be able to see what is going on with your welding process as long as you use the right type of camera equipment for monitoring the welding process, such as the Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera system.

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Monitoring Tube and Pipe Production to Find MISMATCH Defects

Recent advancements in machine vision technology have made a new type of inspection able to see defects related to the forming and welding area of a tube or pipe.  The result is improved quality assurance and process control on the production line.  The new type of inspection device is a laser-based triangulation system that measures the outside contour of a tube or pipe in the vicinity of its weld. 

Typically NDT systems are placed at the end of a production as a final check.  However,  the laser inspection system can be placed directly after the weld box, This system can let operators know what is changing in their welding process, allowing them to perform corrective action before significant scrap occurs. This capacity is especially helpful for one of the most common defects found across all types of Tube manufacturing: Tube Mismatch. 

 

The Mismatch Defect

The Mismatch defect is caused by uneven joining of two edges of the tube material strip before welding. Mismatch is a vital parameter to monitor for all tube and pipe fabricators, regardless of which side is higher. This is because many mills employ a grinder or scarfing process to remove any excess bead that is out of round.  However, if mismatch occurs prior to welding, once the tube bead has been removed, part of the wall on the high side of the mismatch may get removed as well, causing significant thinning of the tube wall or leave a step on the lower side after grinding the weld area.

Sometimes the actual welded tube wall thickness in the area of the bead becomes smaller than the original tube wall thickness. This is a result of processing steps other than material removal, such as corrugation or bending of the tube, which can create additional potential failures if a Mismatch defect is also present.

Mismatch is calculated as the absolute value of the radial difference between the two reference points where the weld bead meets the parent material. The mismatch calculation uses the current roll angle to compensate for the bead roll, as such:

 Blog 140304 students resized 600

 

The Mismatch Defect, where “h” = the height of the defect.

 

How the System Measures the Mismatch Defect

Xiris Automation Inc. has developed a non-destructive inspection system called the WI2000p Weld Inspection System. The WI2000p  includes  a laser line and a camera whose optical axis is offset to the axis of the laser line by an “offset angle”.  The WI2000p creates a visible cross-section of the tube by projecting the laser line on to the tube and capturing an image of the line using the camera. The resulting image shows a  profile of the tube surface as if it were cut in cross section.  If a tube is ideally round, the laser image will represent a section of an ellipse and any anomaly such as a Mismatch can be mathematically detected. 

The WI2000p bases all of its measurements on the differences between the actual laser profile line seen by the camera, and the ideal mathematical profile based on the tube parameters.  By knowing the position of the actual laser profile, the ideal profile, and the size of the pixels in the image, the WI2000p can detect Mismatch profile defects that often escape detection by other quality tools such as Eddy Current testing, or Ultrasonic Testing techniques

 

Conclusion

A new technique for detecting Mismatch on welded Tube and Pipe has been developed by Xiris and is known as the WI2000p weld inspection system.  The WI2000p system is a laser based system that is capable of detecting Mismatch defects immediately after welding to alert the operator of a defect in time to minimize rejects.  The result is improved quality, fewer field defects and a more reliable method for the operator to optimize the welding process.

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Using a Weld Camera to Monitor Tandem MIG Welding

Tandem MIG/MAG welding is a beneficial material processing application for many fabricators because it can weld at higher speed with higher deposition rates than traditional single wire MIG/MAG processes, while reducing heat input and improving weld penetration on thicker materials.  But it also demands a level of precision that necessitates detailed, real-time monitoring of the weld process.

Advanced Weld Cameras can provide this level of monitoring, allowing fabricators to gain the advantages of the Tandem MIG/MAG process without any sacrifice in productivity or quality. In fact, Weld Cameras with High Dynamic Range imaging can improve output and quality control.

The Tandem (or Twin) MIG/MAG Welding Process

In a Tandem MIG/MAG welding process, two wires are continuously fed through a special welding torch and are consumed to form a single weld puddle.  The first or leading wire controls the deposition rate and penetration.  The second or trailing wire controls the weld bead appearance.  The wires are controlled independently through separate power supplies and/or waveforms to achieve different results. 

Typical applications of tandem MIG/MAG welding include automotive, construction, shipbuilding, pressure vessel welding aluminum, steel and other materials. Weld overlays have also been deposited using this technique.

 Blog 140224 Tandem MIG.MAG weld process resized 600

Tandem MIG/MAG Weld Process

(courtesy Fronius AG)

 

Why use a Weld Camera?

Tandem MIG/MAG welding can only be used for automated welding processes because of the accuracy required in positioning the bulky torch and the limited accessibility for direct viewing of the weld process that it offers.  A weld camera is therefore an essential productivity aid to allow operators to monitor the quality of the weld process and its surrounding environment, including:

 - Ensuring that the welding torch is suitably rigid and following the seam properly

 - Ensure that safe and consistent wire feed does not compromise the high speed advantages of the tandem process

 - Ensure that consistent welding conditions are maintained to obtain a smooth weld bead.

 - Ensure that a minimum weld pool size is maintained to provide proper wetting of the bead

 - Ensure that the power supplies of the two different wires are functioning correctly to create the best quality molten weld pool.

 - Monitor the completed weld bead for indications of a good tandem weld process:  clean seam surfaces, flush weld toes, and minimal welding spatter

 

Blog 140224 Tandem MIG using XVC O resized 600 

View of a Tandem MIG Process Using a Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera

 

Conclusion:

Integrating Weld Cameras into a Tandem MIG/MAG welding process is essential to creating a high-quality, high-speed, state-of-the-art welding cell.  Fabricators can gain a competitive advantage by being able to better monitor the high speed welding process, providing better process control.  The net result is that they can leverage their investment in a Tandem MIG/MAG process to achieve better results.

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Better Images, Better Instruction, Better Welding Students!

Training a new recruit of welding students can have a number of challenges for even the best instructors: getting all the students around the weld head to be able to see what is going on; a limited number of hours the instructor has available for actually performing the welding; how to see all the features of the weld arc as well as the background information, and how to make sure that all students are marked fairly and objectively. 

When educating welding students, providing them with the ability to view the detail of the weld tip as well as the environment around the weld tip (such as the weld seam and weld pool) is important for them to learn all the parameters of the welding process.  To overcome the visual monitoring challenges created by the presence of a very bright light source (the weld arc), as well as dark areas in the image (the background around the weld tip), a camera with a wide dynamic range of imaging is required.  Reliable visualization of the environment around the weld tip is necessary to control and adjust the welding process found on most modern welding processes.  In addition, the ability to record video and play it back to the students can provide multiple benefits for teaching and correcting welding techniques.

 Blog 141212 students resized 600

Image courtesy of Casper College

They Can’t All See the Details…. 

New developments in electronics has led to the creation of a new type of camera that is able to accommodate the full range of light present at a weld head during welding, allowing welding to be taught in a way it has never been taught before!

By providing a good quality image of the weld tip and background, welding instructors and their students can remotely monitor a weld demonstration and record the results for off-line feedback.  By using a camera to view the weld demonstration, the students can verify that the tip is in position and that all the welding inputs (welding wire, shielding gas, etc.) are being properly fed.  Because the area around the weld demonstration is typically quite congested for class sizes more than a few students, using a camera mounted at the welding tip allows the students to clearly view the welding process remotely.  The video can also be replayed back, off-line in the classroom for instruction, marking or review purposes. 

 Blog 141212 xiris resized 600

The Solution: a Xiris XVC-O View Camera for Teaching Welding

 

Conclusion

Using a View Cameras in the classroom to teach welding results in:

  • —  A more Enjoyable Learning Experience for the Students
  • —  Less Time Required to Achieve Results
  • —  Reduced Material Consumption
  • —  A Video Library of Standard Applications for Review / Consulting / Analysis
  • —  Easier to Explain New Welding Techniques
  • —  Better Support for Students’ Technical Projects
  • —  Research Tool

 

Join the growing number of Welding Educational Institutions who have added a Xiris XVC-O View Camera to their classrooms for Welding Instruction and achieve those benefits!

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