The Xiris Blog

Using a View Camera to Monitor Automotive Body Laser Welds

Posted by Cameron Serles on Friday, January 09, 2015 @ 09:29 AM

During the initial stages of automotive assembly, a car’s chassis is built up by welding together all its major sheet metal components, such as side walls, doors, door frames, roof joints, floor panels, the engine cavity and hood parts. The assembly process stage of welding all these components together is known as “body-in-white” and has been the source of much technology advancement in recent years.

One major technology advancement has been the introduction of laser welding processes to replace the traditional methods of fastening and joining the metal components. Laser welding offers numerous advantages over traditional techniques such as resistive spot welding but like any new technology, it requires more precise material preparation and careful process implementation.

 

Essential Advantages of using Laser Welding for Body in White

  • Single-sided access to the point of welding, allowing for simpler chassis design in some situations.
  • Better looking joints that are almost invisible are possible with some creative laser weld placement or by using laser brazing technology.
  • The flanges required to hold together sheet metal components around apertures such as door openings can be smaller, leading to weight reduction and better automotive designs.
  • Higher process speeds that can improve productivity, reduce cycle time, and reduce production floor space

 

However, there are disadvantages of the process….

  • Tight Tolerances. The narrowly focused laser beam requires very precise seam preparation to ensure a successful result. Overlooking this in early automotive laser history resulted in many failures.
  • Specific Repair Methods. Because laser welding is a relatively new joining method, repair techniques specifically designed for laser welding must be used when repairing laser welded joints.

 

The Solution

The solution to this problem is very precise seam preparation (with almost no gap) and precise clamping methods. But even with the best preparation, the seam can vary enough to cause problems with the weld process. With such a process, it is important to maintain very good alignment of the seam to the laser spot: because the laser beam is so small, a small movement of the seam out of alignment may jeopardize the quality of the alignment.

To solve this problem, a high dynamic range camera can be added to the laser process, either coaxially in the optics of the laser beam delivery system itself, or off axis. In either case, the camera can be positioned to see the laser keyhole, weld pool and weld seam. Because the high dynamic camera can see much more of the bright areas, including the weld pool and keyhole, as well as the darker areas such as the seam and background, it becomes much easier for operators to monitor the laser process to verify that it is in alignment.

Another “solution” involves the combination of laser welding and an open arc welding process (e.g. MIG or TIG) in a so-called hybrid process. For such a process, the open arc welding method delivers extra weld material that makes sure that the seam flanges are processed even without a precise seam; the laser permits deep penetration into the substrate, and the welding speed is significantly higher than if an open arc welding process was used on its own. Once again, the use of a High Dynamic Camera can help verify that all components of the weld environment are working correctly, in particular the alignment of the laser arc to the seam.

 

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Figure 1: Camera Running Co-Axially to the Laser Beam Delivery System1

 

Conclusion

Laser processing continues to grow market share in a number of applications in body-in-white automotive manufacturing. However, as with any new process, it must be carefully implemented to take full advantage of the technology. To maximize the chances of success, a Weld Camera with a High Dynamic Range imaging capability should be used to provide operators with adequate weld visibility to monitor and control the laser to seam alignment before it moves out of control and causes defects in the welded seam.

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1. Adapted from: A. Ribolla et al. / Journal of Materials Processing Technology 164–165 (2005) 1120–1127

Topics: Laser welding, welding automation, High Dynamic Range

Xiris Gets Rave Reviews of our Weld Camera from a 3rd Party!

Posted by Catherine Cline on Tuesday, December 23, 2014 @ 03:05 PM

Xiris received an early Christmas present this year in the form of a fantastic blog post reviewing our XVC Weld Camera. Brian Dobben of Visionary Welding, a blogging site dedicated to the pursuit of excellence in welding automation, put the Xiris XVC-O Open Arc Weld Camera System to the test and had excellent results.  

Mr. Dobben has never issued an independent review of a product, and was not prompted by us, but after testing the XVC-O Camera System, he said, in his own words, “it’s a story worth telling.” To see the blog in its entirety, please visit www.VisionaryWelding.org.

2014 has been incredibly busy and successful for Xiris Automation with the launch of the new XVC-1000 Weld Camera and continuous improvements to the XVC-0 Open Arc and XVC-S Sub Arc Weld Camera Systems. This favorable review by Mr. Dobben provides confirmation we are positioned well to grow within the welding automation industry and is a wonderful way to end the year and look forward to 2015.

Xiris Automation would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and prosperous New Year.

Topics: weld camera, welding automation, welding

Using Cameras to Monitor Electron Beam Welding

Posted by Cameron Serles on Friday, December 05, 2014 @ 09:57 AM

Electron Beam Welding (EBW) has evolved to become a highly effective welding technique for precise welding of complex parts in a variety of industries as diverse as high volume part production in the automotive industry to single batch processes in the aerospace industry. For such manufacturers, the welding process must meet very high quality standards that have become the norm in their industry.

Technology Overview: Electron Beam Welding (EBW) 

EBW is an automatic welding process in which a focused beam of high speed electrons is applied to two materials to be joined together. The workpieces melt and flow together as the kinetic energy of the electrons is transformed into heat upon impact under vacuum conditions to prevent dissipation of the electron beam.

To create the focused beam of electrons, a heating current is passed through a filament (or cathode) that causes it to emit electrons that are accelerated by applying a high voltage to the filament. The electrons are then attracted to an anode, or ground potential electrode, which has a hole in it through which electrons are allowed to pass as a steady collimated stream towards the workpiece. As a final step, the beam of electrons travels through a focusing coil, or electromagnetic lens, so that the beam can be focused to a fine point in order to achieve sufficient power density to melt and weld the workpiece.

Only certain materials can be processed by an electron beam in a vacuum, however, such as steel, aluminum and a few other materials with lower vapor pressure at their melting temperature.

 

Dec_05.14-EBW

 

Figure 1: The Electron Beam Welding Process

 

Essential advantages of EBW

Compared to welding with conventional open arc equipment, Electron Beam Welding provides numerous benefits to fabricators, including:

  • The ability to penetrate very fast into almost any metal, producing a deep but narrow weld that provides a very localized heat source, minimizing any deformations of the workpiece.
  • Filler material is usually not required for the welding process so that the metallurgical properties of the workpieces do not change.
  • There is no significant beam reflectivity from any metal surface on which EB works, therefore most of the energy makes its way into the material.
  • Ability to provide precise closed loop power control across a range of

One of the issues with EBW is the challenge of monitoring the process while the electron beam is active. The use and integration of a Weld Camera can greatly improve the productivity and efficacy of the process.  

Monitoring the Weld Bead

Because the electron beam melts the workpieces during the welding process, the workpieces re-radiate so much infrared and visible light energy that it is not possible to see the welding process with a regular camera. By using a High Dynamic Range Weld Camera with the ability to see an enormous range of brightness, such as the Xiris XVC-1000, the operator is able to properly monitor what is going on during the EBW process. This allows the operator to control material inputs and process parameters such as the alignment of the weld head to the seam or spot to be welded, or, to monitor the size and shape of the weld pool in real time. Process and quality control can be improved because the operator can continuously check the weld parameters prior to catastrophic errors developing.

Conclusion

To maximize efficiency of Electron Beam Welding processes, a Weld Camera with High Dynamic Range imaging capability is an essential tool for operators to observe the weld process before it moves out of control and causes defects in the final product.    


   

Graphic Courtesy of http://www.ptreb.com.

Topics: weld camera, welding, electron beam welding

Success at Fabtech Atlanta for Xiris!

Posted by Leanne Sinclair on Monday, November 24, 2014 @ 12:06 PM

Fabtech is North America’s largest metal forming and fabricating event that occurs every year. Fabtech began in 1981 and had grown steadily since, this year alone the show featured over 27,000 attendees and 1,400 exhibitors. Xiris was very pleased to be one of these exhibitors, and was very excited to debut our new product, the Xiris XVC-1000 Weld Camera, at Fabtech in Atlanta, Georgia this past November 11-13th.

The Xiris booth featured two examples of the new camera system: one camera was installed on a laser beam delivery system that demonstrated how well the camera integrates into laser, plasma or electron beam welding machines; and the other camera was integrated to a high intensity LED light source that could demonstrate the ability to see a super bright object while able to image darker areas in its background, similar to an actual welding environment.

Laser_Mech_1_(good,_PR)

Xiris XVC-1000 Camera Integrated to Laser Beam Delivery System

The Xiris booth was in Hall C, which focused on companies exhibiting equipment for the Welding and Tube & Pipe industries. There were numerous booths specializing in welding equipment, and Xiris had weld camera systems for both Open Arc and Submerged Arc Welding demonstrated in a variety of other booths including: Lincoln Electric, Gullco, Irco, LaserMech, LJ Welding/Praxair, Red-D-Arc/AirGas, and ESAB. This display of the weld cameras inspired plenty of interest in the product line that kept the Xiris sales team very busy during the show!

Xiris is proud to partner with so many prominent companies, and respond to so much interest during the show. Many welding machine builders and laser manufacturers saw great value in integrating the Xiris Weld Camera into their processes and machinery. With small format size, high dynamic range capability and remote imaging, the XVC-1000 is a powerful addition to any welding process.

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The Xiris Booth at Fabtech

After a successful show, Xiris returned with high hopes and prospects for the XVC-1000.
For more pictures of the show, please visit our social media pages!
See you at Fabtech Chicago 2015!

Topics: quality control, weld camera, weld inspection, Trade Show, new product launch

Xiris Partners with TPS WeldTech at Photonex

Posted by Leanne Sinclair on Monday, November 10, 2014 @ 02:00 PM

Xiris had the great opportunity to join TPS WeldTech at UK’s largest showcase event specializing in photonics and light technologies. Photonex was a large success, featuring an abundance of different light applications.

TPS WeldTech, distributor of Xiris’ XVC weld camera product line in the UK exhibited to promote the weld cameras. Xiris’ high dynamic range sensors used in the weld cameras provide a superior view of open arc welds making these cameras a unique product to exhibit at Photonex. The high dynamic range of the camera and high quality sensor was a rare and exciting promotion at this international exhibition.

The Processing & Packaging Machinery Association (PPMA) is one of the sponsors of Photonex and assists in partnering the photonics and light technologies industries with much larger industrial application groups. Xiris was asked to provide a presentation during the PPMA seminar session. Xiris’ Sales Manager, Cornelius Sawatzky provided a technical paper discussing the logarithmic sensor application used in weld cameras. Accompanied with video examples of various MIG/MAG, TIG and Laser welding operations the presentation provides excellent video demonstrations of the benefits of welding cameras in all environments, processes, and materials. These videos can also be found in the Xiris Resource Library on our website. Simply choose your welding process, materials used, power supply, and joint type and the Xiris Library will provide a crystal clear video example.

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The full presentation is available here for free download! Including video examples

Xiris specializes in developing optical equipment used for process and quality control across a number of specialty industries. Xiris provides some of the world’s most dynamic manufacturers with the ability to detect, recognize and interpret quality defects in their manufactured goods.

Topics: weld camera, Trade Show, presentation

The XVC-1000 is the Perfect Tool for OEMs: Innovative, Rugged, Easy to Use

Posted by Leanne Sinclair on Tuesday, November 04, 2014 @ 02:00 PM

A common difficulty Original Equipment Manufacturers face is the integration of accessories into their existing automatic welding machine designs. There are numerous benefits for OEMs to add a welding camera to their existing welding machines, this small addition improves operator safety, production efficiency, and decreases scrap rate. However, finding the right camera to fit into an existing operation can prove to be very difficult.

OEM’s know the importance in ensuring quality and consistency in the equipment they provide to automate a welding process, but often don’t know how to best provide that for their end user customer. A welding camera can meet those needs by providing the operator with the ability to remotely view what is happening with the area around the weld head, melt pool, shielding gases and the weld head/weld seam alignment. By providing a good quality image that can see all the detail of the weld, the right weld camera that is easy to integrate provides an excellent Return On Investment (ROI) for the end customer.

 Camera_gige_front_2Camera_gige_Lens_1  

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xiris Automation Inc. is pleased to announce the release of our newest generation of welding camera: the XVC-1000. The XVC-1000 is a small, easy to integrate, high efficiency camera that operates with a Gigabit Ethernet (GigE) interface. In addition, it combines a spectacular 140+dB High Dynamic Range capability, a full suite of welding-specific imaging software tools, and a host of unique features to provide unprecedented image quality of a variety of welding and laser processes. The functional design maximizes image quality and reliability with ease of integration including special features such as image triggering, general purpose I/O, image windowing capability, and a weld arc photodetector.

To request more information, or a live demonstration,
visit us at FabTech Atlanta booth C1667 this November 11-13 2014!
Or simply request an appointment here.

Topics: weld camera, fabtech, OEM, new product launch

Two Types of Weld Cameras to Help You

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 @ 01:02 PM


Xiris Automation Inc. designs inspection systems, or “machines that can see”. Our products are used for process and quality control and provide some of the world’s most dynamic manufacturers with the ability to detect, recognize, and interpret quality issues in their manufactured goods. These technologies are applied across many different industries to improve safety, efficiency and productivity. We have developed camera technology to help monitor both Open Arc welding and Sub Arc Welding processes which has significantly enhanced the welding industry.


Xiris View Cameras: Open Arc Welding

Welding cameras can make a drastic difference in manufacturing and quality control for Open Arc welding processes such as GMAW (MIG/MAG), GTAW (TIG), Plasma or Laser welding. By integrating a camera at the weld head, fabricators can improve the human interpretation of the weld quality by providing a better image than otherwise possible and therefore decrease the chances of human error. The Xiris View Camera for Open Arc welding (XVC-O) is a complete system that comes with monitor, software, and camera, and can be easily integrated to any automated welding process. Beyond the production line, the system can also be used as a training tool, inside and outside of the classroom. With video recording capabilities, the XVC-O allows instructors to record welds and defects for offline review, analysis and instruction. The result is a better tool to teach welding to more students, as well as a way to introduce a more consistent assessment and review process.

XVC-O_Monitor_image

The XVC-O monitor display

Xiris View Cameras: Submerged Arc Welding

Monitoring Submerged Arc welding is less difficult than Open Arc welding processes because of the blanket of flux that covers the welding process. The blanket of flux used in Sub Arc Welding prevents spatter and sparks but ensuring the alignment and angle of the weld tip is still essential to ensure the quality of the resulting weld. In addition, monitoring the continuously fed wire is another feature that needs monitoring in order to ensure the consistency of pressure of the arc. The Xiris View Camera for Submerged Arc Welding (XVC-S) provides clear images of the weld environment, weld tip and feeder wire to the operator in order to more accurately control the parameters that make a good weld. It also removes operators from potentially hazardous work environments without sacrificing their ability to monitor the weld process.


Welding injuries are far too common in today’s work environment and any steps that can be taken to improve workplace safety as well as productivity should be taken. Just last year, a Texas-based company says an explosion on a Mexican oil platform off the Louisiana coast was caused by unsafe welding practices. This report followed not one, but four lawsuits against the company asking for $20 million each in actual damages, plus a total of $100 million in punitive damages*. Safety concerns such as these could be reduced with the introduction of a Xiris Weld Camera. Let us help you prioritize safety and efficiency.

 
The XVC-O comes in both a standard and advanced system, and can be easily integrated into a manufacturing line, or the classroom. To learn more about our products and services please visit our website www.xiris.com or contact our sales team directly at sales@xiris.com.

 *This information was collected from the following article: http://www.nola.com/traffic/index.ssf/2013/08/consultantprivate_report_says.html

Topics: weld camera, Welding Process, Sub Arc welding, camera, weld allignment, arc welding, accident

How to Improve Your Sub Arc Business

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, October 14, 2014 @ 12:59 PM


The submerged arc welding process is used in a variety of industries all that work with thick, heavy and expensive materials. Many of these industries also perform cladding, where weldment material is added to the base material to improve its wear resistance. In many cases, having a cladding process located near the sub arc welding process can increase the health and safety risk for operators who must monitor the welding process close by. Instead, a welding camera could be added to the submerged arc welding process (SAW) to assist the operator in monitoring the process remotely, providing a number of benefits:


1. Cost Savings

One of the first and most substantial benefits a welding camera provides to the SAW process is to eliminate an abundance of rework and set up time. By adding a camera to remotely monitor the welding process, operators can ensure that all welds are lined up correctly and make immediate adjustments if necessary while welding. This reduces scrapped material as well as any machine down time in order to reset the process.

2. Safety Benefits

Remote monitoring of the sub arc welding process provides health and safety benefits to the welding operators by:

o   Removing them from a high heat environment without having to compromise their monitoring of the welding process. By working remotely to monitor the weld process, the operator has a quieter, cleaner, healthier work environment while still being able to control the weld alignment and surrounding environment.

o   Removing them from dangerous monitoring positions. Some sub arc welding tasks require operators to monitor the weld process from immense heights, or tight spaces in order to ensure weld quality and process efficiency. A welding camera with a remote display screen allows the operators to view the weld in a less hazardous environment, improving employee safety without sacrificing quality.

Xiris View Camera for Submerged Arc Welding

The Xiris View Camera for Submerged Arc Welding (XVC-S)

3. Eliminates Failure Rates

As already mentioned, SAW involves a lot of costly, heavy materials, many that are used in industries such as shipbuilding. In this high demand, high quality industry, there is no room for failure or risk of low quality welds. It is absolutely crucial that every weld involved is durable, reliable, and of the best standard of quality. The addition of a weld camera would allow an operator to eliminate a possible failure, by monitoring the process as it occurs.

4. Automation Benefits

As the demand in industries such as shipbuilding, bridge-building, spiral pipe applications and green energy technology increases, the demand and expectations of the quality of SAW processes continue to rise. By using automation to improve the consistency and repeatability of SAW processes, fabricators can better meet the quality requirements of their customers. As more advanced technology allows for the manipulation of material, spinning and moving the weld as it occurs, this can make monitoring more difficult. The addition of a welding camera would allow the weld head to be easily installed to most automation equipment, moving with the material or weld torch as it moves.

Secondly, in terms of changing materials, sizes or processes in general, the addition of a welding camera would allow automation lines to changeover much more quickly through faster set ups. As the automation equipment is prepared to run again, the operator can speed the set up process quicklyprocess quickly, making adjustments on the fly so that there is minimal scrap or lost time when changeover begins


There are numerous benefits to adding a welding camera to a SAW process. With the ability to remotely monitor the position, alignment and operation of the weld tip, operators can reduce down time, increase productivity and improve weld quality.

The Xiris product line includes cameras that can be used in both submerged and open arc welding processes, and can be found on our website.
See the benefits yourself by adding a weld camera today!


 

Topics: quality control, Sub Arc welding, camera, applications, productivity

Shutter Selection: Improve the Image Quality of Your Weld Camera

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, October 02, 2014 @ 10:30 AM


Recent advances in electronics technology have made it possible for cameras with High Dynamic Range capability to be used to capture images of welding. This allow fabricators to be able to view the detail of the weld tip, as well as its immediate environment (such as the weld seam and weld pool) to get better control of the welding process. Reliable visualization of the environment around the weld tip is necessary to control and adjust the welding process. However, in order to be able to obtain the best possible image quality of a weld, the selection of the most suitable shutter technology must be made. The camera shutter type determines how and when light will be recorded during a camera exposure, and therefore determines the quality and functionality of the image that is provided. There are two main shutter types used in capturing images of welding: rolling or global.


Rolling Shutter

A rolling shutter captures an image by exposing one line at a time, moving from top to bottom. The rolling shutter capture technique is commonly used in film and can go largely unnoticed in certain applications. However, when applying this form of technology to the welding process, where high amounts of light with pulsing and movement are present, the image quality suffers. The image below demonstrates a rolling shutter exposure of a TIG welding process. As the picture demonstrates, some lines of the image get exposed during a welding pulse where a lot of light is present. These lines appear brighter than the rest. Other lines get exposed when the welding pulse is off when less light is present, these lines appear darker than the rest. Over time, if the pulse frequency does not match the frame rate of the camera, the line pattern will appear to move down the screen, causing a distracting image pattern to the viewer. In some cases, as material and surrounding background move past the rolling shutter, different images and movements would be captured, providing inconsistent results on which to base quality judgements of the weld.

Rolling_Shutter

 

 Effects of a Rolling Shutter on an Image of a TIG Weld Process


Global Shutter

A global shutter captures an image by exposing all rows of the sensor to light at the same time. This allows large amounts of motion to be captured at the same time, without blur or distortion. This type of shutter is also easier to pair with external applications such as external triggering or matching the image acquisition to a pulsed waveform of a welding power supply. When partnered with High Dynamic Range imaging capabilities, global shutter image capture is the most accurate and ideal technique for monitoring welding processes that involve motion or rapid changes in brightness. The drawback however, is that a global shutter image provides slightly lower contrast than a rolling shutter due to the fact that there is less time to expose each pixel, so in some situations, the image quality may not appear as vivid to the viewer as those taken with a rolling shutter.


CONCLUSION:

Advanced weld cameras such as the Xiris XVC-O partners both High Dynamic Range imaging capability with the choice of both rolling and global shutter capture modes to provide welding operators unprecedented image quality of their welding processes. By selecting the appropriate shutter technique, image quality can be optimized for the application.

 

To learn more about the Xiris XVC-O and other products,
please visit our website



 

Topics: weld camera, visibility

Xiris Presents at Pipe and Tube Houston

Posted by Leanne Sinclair on Tuesday, September 23, 2014 @ 04:23 PM

This past week, The Tube & Pipe Association (TPA) and the International Tube Association (ITA) coordinated the Pipe and Tube Houston 2014 Conference, where Xiris attended to present its WI2000p Weld Inspection System.  The WI2000p system is used to inspect welded tube and pipe immediately after the weld box for forming and weld defects with the goal of performing process control.  Xiris presented on the WI2000p and how it can detect certain defects found specifically in High Frequency and ERW welded tubing. The conference was attended by several hundred members of the tube and pipe community, as well as a variety of equipment vendors.

describe the imageInteractive Discussion Panel

 




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xiris also demonstrated the Xiris WI2000p Post Weld Inspection System at the conference’s table top exhibits.  Using actual tube samples from a variety of customers, the WI2000p’s ability to detect a variety of tube weld and forming defects, such as bead height, bead ratio, slope angle, deflection, mismatch, roll, freeze line, scarf width, and undercut.  Detection of all these critical defects was demonstrated as to how the WI2000p can assist operators in controlling their process.  The net result is to help tube and pipe fabricators decrease scrap rates, increase productivity and improve quality of the end product.

For more information about the WI2000p Post Weld Inspection system for tube and pipes, or to learn more about our other products and resources, please visit our website www.xiris.com

Topics: Trade Show, safety, houston, pipe, tube, presentation, defects, conference, exhibit, vendors, fabricators, scrap, productivity

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