The Xiris Blog

Using Cameras When Welding Spiral Pipe Part 3: Post Weld Inspection

Posted by Cornelius Sawatzky on Monday, December 04, 2017 @ 03:16 PM

Following sub arc welding on the inside and outside of a helically welded pipe, the pipe must undergo inspection to be prepared for further processing or service in the field. This preparation step includes rigorous inspection and testing procedures, repair of defects, and application of anti-corrosion coatings before the pipe enters service.

 

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Post-weld Scarfing in helical sub arc welding

Traditionally, post-weld inspection is done manually by an operator who walks around the exterior of the pipe or crawls through it as part of an offline process. The operator is responsible for identifying any weld undercut, incorrect weld wetting angles, or insufficient or excessive weld bead material from the process.  It is not only time consuming, but it relies on the operator to be consistent to be able to catch all defects in the product.

A better solution is to use automatic inspection equipment such as the Xiris WI3000 weld inspection system, which can profile the entire weld bead after the flux has been removed or fallen away to detect problems sooner in the process.  Usually used as an inline inspection tool post-weld, the WI3000 can also be used to provide the operator with feedback to make corrections reducing additional defects while marking the location of a defect to expedite the repair process.

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Laser Bead Profile of a Weld Bead with a Too Steep Slope on the Right Side of the Bead

Information from the laser sensor is transmitted to a single image-processing system, allowing the operator to identify and control the welding parameters.   The end result is a better, more objective measurement of the weld bead inspection process in advance of use of the pipe in the field.

Xiris Automation offers a full suite of products for your helical sub arc welding (HSAW) process. From the control and quality assurance of the initial forming and tacking stage by the XVC-1000, through the remote monitoring of process parameters during full-seam sub arc welding by the XVC-S, and the post-welding and post-scarfing inspection by the WI-3000, Xiris provides operators with the tools they need to prepare the highest-quality products they can.

To learn more about how Xiris Automation’s full suite of turnkey solutions can improve the quality and yield of your HSAW manufacturing process, contact one of our technical specialists today.

 

Topics: High Dynamic Range, Tube and Pipe welding, submerged arc welding

Weld Camera Success at Fabtech 2017!

Posted by Catherine Cline on Friday, November 24, 2017 @ 02:19 PM

Xiris recently attended the Fabtech trade show, held once again this year at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Being the largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event in North America, we were pleased to be an exhibitor! Not only did we have several hundred companies stop by our booth to see our weld camera system and learn how it could be integrated into their equipment or processes, we also had our cameras demonstrated in a variety of other exhibitors’ booths including: Miller Electric, Airgas/Red-D-Arc, Arc Specialties, WeldObot, Hyundai Welding and others.

In each case, the cameras displayed real time images of the welding process, showcasing the advantages of the exhibitor’s welding equipment.Cladding machines, orbital welding equipment and closed cell automated welding processes were all on display in real time.Miller Electric was featuring their manual weld equipment and various welding techniques they use when use with their equipment. 

Miller Electric / Hobart                                     Airgas / Red-D-ArcNov 24 Fabtech5.jpg

Arc Specialties                                                WeldObot Nov 24 Fabtech2-1.jpg

Hyundai Welding
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The use of Xiris cameras at tradeshows has grown exponentially as exhibitors believe it gives them a significant advantage over their competition in two ways. First, it demonstrates their ability to integrate vision into their equipment when required for operator safety and quality, and second, to showcase the finer features of the weld process and the benefits of using their equipment for specific applications.

If your company is exhibiting at Fabtech or any other welding automation or fabrication show, in 2018, and you feel you could benefit from displaying or operating a Xiris camera, please contact us here.

 

Topics: Trade Show, XVC Weld Camera

How to Make Metal AM Process Adjustments in Real Time

Posted by Catherine Cline on Thursday, November 02, 2017 @ 11:31 AM

Research and Development is a crucial element of success in Metal Additive Manufacturing. However, R&D has traditionally been expensive and highly time-consuming.

A primary cause of this cost and time is that Metal AM machine operators cannot make adjustments to a first-run part in real time. Engineers must wait for the build of the entire part before they can test and analyze it. This process results in excess time—stopping the machine to make adjustments, testing and analyzing after the first run, and future runs after post-run adjustments are made. Each additional run also drives up materials’ costs and involves costly, time-consuming stoppages for reprogramming new runs.

The powder feed/ droplet formation in Metal Additive Manufacturing as seen with Xiris Weld CameraMAM like you have never seen it_Page 6_Top Image_powder feed droplet formation.png

Fortunately, this cost/time problem can be minimized. You no longer need to wait to test and analyze first-run Metal AM parts until they are completed. Recent developments in software and camera technology are allowing operators to use High Dynamic Range (HDR) weld cameras to make adjustments to a part in real time during the initial run. Process engineers can also monitor the sequence and program in real-time adjustments.

By integrating HDR weld cameras into the Metal AM machine, operators in any setup can get clear, high-contrast views of the torch and wire (or powder flow) and their alignment to the process and other material settings. Operators can monitor material inputs and achieve ideal conditions on a consistent basis throughout the process, without stopping the machine.

Xiris’s HDR weld cameras feature the latest software and camera technology. Using our cameras, operators can monitor the weld torch, its immediate background, and material deposits from previous machine passes—with a level of visibility that has never been possible before. Importantly, this visibility is even greater than when operators are situated close enough to the Metal AM process to see it with their own eyes. Our HDR weld cameras not only allow operators to see more detail, they eliminate the danger and labor time involved with manual monitoring.

Often, due to thermal stresses, a deposited layer of material can start to warp. To compensate, operators can use the clear images from the HDR weld cameras to make precise adjustments to align the torch, wire and/or powder to the warped material, optimizing material alignment and overlap during challenging Metal AM layer deposition.

After an initial run, process engineers can use the recorded video from the HDR weld camera, in conjunction with data from other quality systems, to review the material deposition and resolve issues more quickly than waiting for traditional testing and analysis to take place when the part has been completed. For example, if a layer is deposited with significant porosity, it may only be detected if the operator is using HDR cameras to monitor the melt process. Without such tools, porosity in the material could only be detected by a form of destructive testing after the part has been completed.

Summary

Metal AM machine operators can use HDR weld cameras to monitor the initial build of a Metal AM part, providing them with immediate feedback, rather than waiting for the build of an entire part before inspecting, testing, and analyzing it. The result is decreased build times, less engineering/operator cost, and lower materials’ costs. These benefits make the latest in HDR weld cameras a valuable, cost-effective tool in any R&D process for Metal AM.

Topics: High Dynamic Range, metal, additive manufacturing

Using Cameras When Welding Spiral Pipe Part 2: Helical Sub Arc Welding

Posted by Peter Serles on Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 08:15 AM

One-step Helical (or Spiral) Submerged Arc Welding (HSAW) processes do not use GMAW/GTAW systems to tack the material into pipe form like two- step processes, but rather perform full inner welds using a sub arc welder during the initial forming stage.

This one-step process is advantageous in that it requires less equipment, and therefore less shop floor space, but it results in significantly lower processing speeds compared to the two-step process.

Both one- and two-step HSAW processes use dual-system submerged arc welding with flux recovery systems to perform the complete welds, with a preliminary weld on the inner diameter and a secondary weld on the outer diameter. Using two HSAW systems in parallel allows the weld penetration depths to meet, providing a strong weld in wall thicknesses as large as 1”.

cross-section-dual-sub-arc-welded-seam.pngCross section of Dual Sub Arc Welded Seam [1]

The quality of these welds is paramount to the success of the pipe. With applications in the transportation of oil, natural gas, water, and other flammable and nonflammable liquids, a small defect in the weld seam affects not only the density of the weld—causing higher risk of leaks—but also becomes a major point of corrosion-induced wear. Porosity, thermal cracking, undercut, and insufficient penetration are all critical defects caused by relatively common circumstances during the submerged arc welding process.

Detecting Defects Sooner With HDR Weld Cameras
Various standards organizations such as the American Society of Testing and Materials or the American Water Works Association prescribe hydrostatic testing to 2800 psi / 193 bar, as well as ultrasonic or radiography testing, to ensure the quality of the weld seam for its service life. But these tests determine the quality of the seam in a retroactive way, after the defects have already propagated throughout the tube.

The Xiris Weld Camera for Sub Arc applications, the XVC-S, is an affordable turnkey solution for monitoring the sub arc welding process. The XVC-S features an out-of-the box solution with integrated lighting, graphical-overlay-producing crosshairs, and a rugged housing suitable for the welding environment.

With on-screen monitoring tools, operators can easily identify and correct any deviations from standard operating procedures, including insufficient flux supply, misalignment of the torch or seam, and damage to the weld tip. The remote viewing monitor can display multiple processes, allowing a single operator to monitor the quality of the inner and outer sub arc welding processes simultaneously.

operator-remote-monitoring-sub-arc-welding-process.jpgOperator remotely monitoring a sub arc welding process

The small size of the XVC-S camera allows it to be easily integrated into an existing sub arc welding mount and the high-voltage and high-temperature resistant design, combined with the built-in solid-state lighting, allows high-quality images to be produced even in the harshest environments. By ensuring the quality of the weld during the sub arc welding process itself, defects can be caught sooner and corrected before the quality of the entire pipe length is compromised—saving time, money, and resources to provide an overall more-efficient process.

[1] RIBEIRO, Anderson Clayton Nascimento; HENEIN, Hani; IVEY, Douglas G. and BRANDI, Sergio Duarte. Evaluation of AH36 microalloyed steel welded joint by submerged arc welding process with one and two wires. Mat. Res. [online]. 2016, vol.19, n.1 [cited 2017-06-22], pp.143-152.

Topics: High Dynamic Range, Tube and Pipe welding, submerged arc welding

Video: The solar eclipse seen through a weld camera!

Posted by Mike Lundy on Thursday, August 31, 2017 @ 01:02 PM

The day of the recent solar eclipse was a fun one for us at Xiris. It was also a chance to show off the High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities of our weld cameras.

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One of the great advantages of state-of-the-art HDR cameras is their ability to capture both the super-bright light produced by a weld torch and the important detail in the surrounding dark background, and we realized that capability would give us an excellent view of the eclipse. All we had to do was take a camera out of the box and aim it—no special filters needed to view the breathtaking sight.

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We set up outside of our office and started watching high-contrast images (about 140 dB of signal range) of the event on a monitor hooked up to our XVC-1100 camera. We all enjoyed the show, and before long, so were folks from surrounding offices, who made their way over to view with us. We even had the pleasure of a visit from Pam Damoff, a Member of Parliament from the Oakville North - Burlington district, who appreciated the chance to see what a Xiris camera can do.

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It was a perfect opportunity to illustrate the power of High Dynamic Range imaging. It was also a nice break from the normal office routine!

To see for yourself how we set up and the high level of light/dark contrast we were able to capture, take a look at this short video.

 

Topics: weld camera, High Dynamic Range

Using Cameras When Welding Spiral Pipe: Processing and Tacking

Posted by Cameron Serles on Wednesday, August 16, 2017 @ 10:18 AM

Helical (or Spiral) Submerged Arc Welding (HSAW) allows for larger, thinner-wall welded pipe, but this benefit has a cost—a higher chance of welding defects.

By enabling greater visibility and control during processing and tacking, high dynamic range (HDR) weld cameras are a powerful tool to counter this risk.

The Advantages of HSAW

HSAW has a unique capability for producing large diameter pipes for flammable and nonflammable liquid transportation. While longitudinal pipe welding is limited to approximately 42” (1.1 m) outer diameter due to the size of the feedstock sheet, helical pipe welding is only limited by the size of the equipment, allowing pipes as large as 140” (3.6 m) outer diameter to be manufactured.  

Helically welded pipe also has a distinct advantage over longitudinally welded pipe because the radial stress in the weld seam is not concentrated along a single axis but instead rotates around the circumference of the pipe, creating a more-even stress distribution. This advantage allows for thinner tube wall construction using more economical, non-high-strength materials.

Limiting Defects with HDR Weld Cameras

Spiral welded pipe is made using either one-stage or two-stage weld processing.  While both processes begin with the incoming skelp coil of material being unwound, flattened, trimmed, squared, and then fed into the forming  stage, in one-stage processing, the forming process is immediately followed by simultaneous inside and outside Submerged Arc Welding.

In two-stage processing, the material is formed and tack welded into the pipe body shape by a gas metal welder prior to the Submerged Arc Welding process. The tack welding stage is critical for the quality of the pipe because misalignment of the initial tack will cause defects when further processed during the Submerged Arc Welding stage. Numerous factors can cause misalignment, including defects in the metallurgical properties of the feedstock, gaps between sheets, misalignment of the welding heads, or dull tooling during the processing of the skelp coil.

With the latest in camera and software technology, the Xiris XVC-1000e high-dynamic-range weld camera permits the operator to see the spiral pipe feedstock,  the weld head, and torch location relative to the weld seam during the welding process. By monitoring the images directly, an operator can make adjustments to the material inputs or torch position to quickly correct the fault before the defect propagates throughout the length of the weld.  The camera’s robust, IP65-rated enclosure allows it to survive the harsh environments of HSAW pipe mills.

Additionally, the XVC-1000e can be used with Xiris’ seam tracking software, as shown in the figure below. The seam tracker software identifies the location of the welding head and the arc contact with the material and the material seam, detecting fluctuations in alignment. With such software, out-of-alignment conditions can automatically alert the operator to make process-control adjustments or even provide closed-loop feedback to automatically move the torch back into position.

XVC-1000e with Seam Tracker Software

Summary

Adding a Xiris XVC-1000e weld camera to an HSAW pipe mill can help operators monitor the feedstock material forming process and alignment to the welding torch, ensuring that minimal defects occur during the preliminary material processing and forming stages. In so doing, pipe weld quality can be improved, reducing the risk that weld defects will propagate down the pipe mill and make it to the customer.

Topics: Tube and Pipe welding, submerged arc welding, weld seam alignment

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