The Xiris Blog

Using a Camera for Welding R&D, Part 1: Powder Spray

Posted by Justin Grahn on Friday, August 21, 2015 @ 01:08 PM

Cladding processes that use powder spray incorporate a variety of technologies such as powder welding, plasma spray, PTA (plasma transferred arc) and laser cladding.  These processes have similar elements where a plasma or laser arc provides the heat source one or more nozzles around the arc that dispense the powder.

Using a Xiris Weld camera can help researchers monitor two key features of any powder spray operation:

  • Monitor the amount of powder that is wasted once it has left the nozzle(s), i.e. how much powder bounces off the weld puddle or work piece without becoming adhered; and
  • Monitor the distribution and flow of powder, during process, to ensure an even & consistent distribution.

Ensure your R&D process is providing you the most information by adding a weld camera!

 Laser Powder Spray Process Development



 

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Topics: weld camera, XVC Weld Camera, Powder Spray, R&D

Retrofitting a Weld Camera into an Existing Manipulator Cell

Posted by Cameron Serles on Monday, August 10, 2015 @ 10:00 AM

Recently, Xiris installed a weld camera into an existing welding manipulator used to weld end caps on to very large tanks.  The welding is done on the end of a manipulator arm, 15-20’ (4-6 m) up in the air.  During the initial visit, the customer stated that their main problem with their automated welding manipulator was the requirement of a person to see the welds during the weld process. 

As many have done in the past, their solution involved hoisting the operator up to the weld heads using a lift.  The operator was then tasked with monitoring and making adjustment to the weld.  While that provided a short term solution, the fabricator realized pretty quickly that they needed to keep the welding operators on the ground for a variety of reasons.

 

 

As a result, the fabricator implemented some commercial cameras with image quality that increasingly degraded over time.  The images became such a concern that the fabricator contacted Xiris for a retrofit solution of their existing cameras.  As the camera mounts already existed, replacing the camera was very straight forward.  During the install, Xiris provided the customer with a selection of optical configurations for variable stand off and field of view, allowing a customized, yet simple, camera setup.  In addition, existing monitors and cabinetry were also used to display the images from the Xiris weld cameras, to save on additional costs.

The net result was that the Customer felt that our camera was much less complicated than their original camera for a number of reasons:

  • No camera control unit was required to be mounted near the camera.
  • I/O connections are optional on the Xiris weld camera as can operate in a free-running mode.
  • When I/O is required, the Xiris I/O module that interfaces to the camera can be mounted anywhere, such as with the PC or with other I/O, using easily provided mounting rails.
  • Less cabling is required than other cameras, requiring smaller cable trays and less payload on the manipulator.
  • The previous camera had remote, separately mounted lights, whereas the Xiris weld camera can be configured with integrated LED lights right into the camera body with light power and brightness controls available in software.

Summary

Overall, Xiris Weld cameras’ image quality was better than the incumbent camera, in part because the original camera used a mechanical iris that was closed down manually until a suitable image of the arc was present on the screen.  However in so doing, the arc was visible, but very little of the background was visible.  The Xiris weld camera is able to provide a clear view of the weld arc and the background at the same time.

Topics: weld camera, retrofitting

Retrofitting a Weld Camera into an Existing Seamer Device

Posted by Cameron Serles on Wednesday, July 22, 2015 @ 10:06 AM

Recently, Xiris installed a weld camera into an existing welding seamer.  A seamer is an automatic welding cell that joins together two plates of a large pipe or tank with seams that can be up to 30 ft (10 m) long.  Such machines typically weld end to end, during which an operator must watch, and steer, seam alignment of the weld head(s) to ensure that a smooth, consistent weld is produced.

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A Typical Welding Seamer for Pipe Inner Diameter
(courtesy: www.Pandjiris.com)

In this particular application, welding is done using a single pass operation.  Two successive weld heads are used: the leading plasma torch joins the material together via full weld penetration; the trailing TIG weld follows closely with a cap pass, producing a nice smooth and consistent finish.

Would you rather have your operator walking along the seamer, bent over, looking through a filter, or sitting in a chair with controls at hand?

The issue was that the fabricator needed to have a person walk along the inner diameter of the material, constantly bending over to be able to see the weld in process.  The operator had to jump between both weld heads and the controls, trying to control their alignment to the weld seam as well as to each other; all the while trying to stay safe.

The customer originally implemented a two camera solution, placing one camera at each weld head, with the display built into a simple control station.  The original cameras each used a spot filter to provide a dual brightness image: darker in the central part of the image where the weld arc should be, and brighter around the outside of the image where there was less light. 

An improvement but not a final solution!

The problem was that the arc could wander outside of the spot filter causing the cameras to saturate, rendering an almost useless image for the operator.  In addition, the cameras had degraded over time, such that the clarity and sharpness of the image was further reduced.  Other complications arose such as: cables that melted in the heat of the industrial environment, variable light conditions across the travel of the length of the seamer, and difficulty using camera iris controls; requiring manual control every time a weld was to be started or stopped.

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The Original Camera’s Image

The problem solved!

The Xiris XVC-1000 weld camera was selected by the fabricator as a replacement tool for their existing seamer cameras.  The XVC-1000 has been designed to tolerate such difficult welding conditions as: high heat, variable light intensity, and an enormous range of brightness.  It became clear at the end of this installation that most seamer applications could use such a camera to improve production quality, productivity, and health and safety. Even Seamer systems that do not have a camera can be easily upgraded in the field: installing a Xiris XVC-1000 camera can be very easy: the fabricator can just put the display console in place and go!

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Topics: welding, XVC Weld Camera, Seamer

Improving Tank Manufacturing Safety with Cameras

Posted by Justin Grahn on Tuesday, July 14, 2015 @ 02:00 PM

Large tank manufacturing can be a difficult process.  Welding together large pieces of formed metal to make round tanks and pressure vessels can be technically challenging.  Typically, manufacturers will implement automatic welding equipment that needs to be constantly monitored in order to ensure that it is operating as optimally as possible.  As automatic as most of the machines are on the market today, there still is a need for operators to monitor the weld process for a number of issues, namely:

  • Adjusting the rotational speed of the tank components being welded;
  • Adjusting the feed speed of the wire as it goes to the weld head;
  • Adjusting the weld head for seam alignment because the tank metal components are not perfectly round.

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Automatic Tank Fabrication

Often, operators are used to physically monitor the welding process directly at the weld site.  This can be a significant safety hazard, especially when using large column and boom welding equipment inside the tanks as the operators can be confined to tight spaces when monitoring the weld and be exposed to multiple toxic fumes.  A simple solution can be implemented to solve this problem: a Xiris XVC Weld Camera. This camera can be mounted on to the weld head allowing the operator can to monitor the welding process remotely, from a safe location outside the tank.

 

This Weld Camera solution was recently installed at a large tank manufacturer.  Prior to implementing the camera, the manufacturer had their operators monitor the weld process directly inside the tank.  Forced to lie flat beside the welding boom to be able to see the welding process as the tank rotated under them, the operators could potentially slip or fall and hit the boom, hot weld seam or bead.  In addition, the operators had to wear extensive personal protection equipment (PPE) and a heavy duty ventilation system had to be installed in order to remove smoke and fumes from the weld process and bring fresh air into the tank in order to protect staff from exposure.  By installing the Weld camera, the manufacturer avoided health and safety issues and made the work of welding a much more comfortable and appealing experience for the operators.

 

The Result

The customer decided to implement a Xiris XVC Weld Camera as part of their overall automation equipment upgrade.  In the words of one of their technicians, the Xiris camera was “the most important part of the upgrade” as it allowed, for the first time, the operator to monitor the welding process remotely.  Now, ventilation equipment is no longer required and the operator can sit in a chair outside of the tank, wear no protective equipment or ventilation equipment, and view a monitor, which  provides better visibility of the weld; allowing for better   control of the weld process.


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Topics: weld camera, XVC Weld Camera, Tank Manufacturing

Successful Show in Shanghai for Xiris!

Posted by Dean Zhao on Monday, July 06, 2015 @ 09:46 AM

Xiris Automation Inc. exhibited the new XVC-1000 Weld View Camera in this year's Essen Welding Show in Shanghai. The show started June 16th and ended on June 19th, 2015 with an estimated 28,000 visitors from 60 different countries.  85% of these visitors were reported from China, and the remaining 15% were international visitors.

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This year's show was another extremely busy show for Xiris, as the use of weld cameras is still new to China.  This allowed us an advantage within the fast paced Chinese market to establish many new relationships with both machine builders and end users alike.  

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We put one camera in Migatronic our partner’s booth demonstrating live welding images from our camera. The live display of the weld images inspired plenty of interest in our camera. There was an enormous turn-out and many discussions with potential customers.  With both new and repeat customers in attendance, our booth was constantly crowded with interested prospective clients.

 

This demand and fascination with our product was due to the unique qualities of the XVC-1000 in the industry.  It is a perfect solution for monitoring all welding processes, and perfect for welding professionals.  With small format size, high dynamic range capability and remote imaging, the XVC-1000 is a powerful addition to any welding process. In China, as elsewhere, System integrators and general fabricators are constantly fighting to differentiate themselves from the intense competition in the industry. The Xiris XVC-1000 could be the key. Our camera can provide superior image clarity to monitor the entire welding process including both the brightness of the welding arc and its darker background.


 

Would you like to see what the Xiris XVC-1000 has to offer?  Subscribe to the Weld Video of the Month Club to receive exclusive video content recorded by our own XVC-1000

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Topics: Trade Show, XVC Weld Camera

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