The Xiris Blog

How to Build Enthusiasm for Welding

Posted by Cameron Serles on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 @ 04:35 PM

Motivating your welding staff doesn't have to be a challenge anymore. It's simple. If you want to motivate your welders, you have to make them feel excited to come to work every day and to spend time working on your welding processes and improving them. How to do it? An effective solution is to add a Xiris weld camera to your welding cells. By doing so, operators can capture images of their welding processes so that more details of their weld arc and its surrounding background can be seen for the first time, all from a remote monitoring station. Some of those welding process details include:

 

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Apr_28_Smoke_Weld_Weave_4.jpg                 

 

Conclusion

By adopting new technologies within their factories such as a Xiris XVC Weld Camera, progressive manufacturers can build interest and enthusiasm for the welding process on their shop floor by enabling their welding staff to make better decisions as to how to control the material inputs and welding parameters. In addition, by being able to monitor the welding process remotely, the welder is free from worry of danger and can focus on achieving the perfect weld.

Topics: weld camera, welding

Seeing Detail in Plasma Cutting and Welding Processes

Posted by Justin Grahn on Tuesday, April 14, 2015 @ 03:25 PM

Using a Xiris high dynamic range Weld Camera to see the detail of a Plasma Cutting or Welding process can provide more information for the operator than was ever possible before. With a huge dynamic range of imaging possible, the camera can acquire a clear view of the super bright plasma arc as well as its immediate background. Details, such as the smoothness of the cutting line and the form of the melted material kerf left after the plasma, are easily observed. With this type of image available from a Xiris Weld Camera, operators are able to better control the plasma process with images generated such as the following:

 

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View of the Plasma Arc, Cutting line and Melted Kerf

 

In addition to providing clearer details, the Weld Camera can also be used as a process research tool to study the plasma torch to determine how well the gas and electric charges are being transmitted from the electrode and nozzle to the workpiece.

To understand how the Xiris XVC-1000 Weld Camera can be used as a process research tool, first some background of the basic principle of how a plasma torch is used to superheat gas:

A plasma arc begins by initiating a high frequency electric charge in an electrode, negative in charge relative to the workpiece to be cut or welded. The electrode itself sits inside a head through which a mixture of gasses is injected around the electrode and out through a nozzle. The gas used is usually a mixture of common gasses such as oxygen, nitrogen and other trace elements. The gas becomes ionized and turns into plasma as it travels over the highly charged electrode, creating a conductive path between the electrode and the workpiece. This ionization allows an electric arc to jump between the electrode and workpiece, much like a bolt of lightning. The gas comes out of the orifice in a high speed vortex, swelling as it exits the orifice, which allows it to be very well controlled so that the flow can be tightly focused or confined on a particular spot. Once focused, the plasma melts or erodes the workpiece to perform the cutting or welding process of the material.

 

April_14__The_Plasma_ProcessThe Plasma Process

(courtesy of www.twi-global.com)

 

When using the Xiris XVC-1000 weld camera, Area of Interest (AOI) imaging can be used to view only a portion of the screen, but at much higher frame rates. If the frame rate gets high enough, it is possible to see some of the flow of the electric arc and plasma/gas to and from the substrate. Such imaging capability can provide information about: how well the Plasma arc is controlled into a beam, the rate at which the gas is moving in a vortex as it exits the nozzle, the forming of the plasma, and other parameters.

 

Conclusion

The Xiris XVC Weld Camera is a powerful tool to image Plasma welding and cutting applications. Beyond monitoring the Plasma process for quality control, the XVC-1000 can also provide valuable process details; key for research into better Plasma cutting and welding techniques.

Topics: welding, Plasma, cutting

Using a Weld Camera to Accelerate On-The-Job Training

Posted by Cameron Serles on Monday, March 23, 2015 @ 03:46 PM

Fabricators who make large pressure vessels capable of holding 3000 psi (200 bar) or higher need to implement special welding techniques to ensure weld quality does not compromise the integrity of their vessel.

Often the pressure vessel is sealed at the time of welding so certain welding processes can only be done from the outside and require full penetration of the wall thickness. As a result, fabricators often choose not to use GMAW (MIG) welding processes to avoid the potential of burning through the wall and compromising the integrity of the pressure vessel wall.

Instead, GTAW (TIG) welding processes are used with the focus on manual TIG welding because of the complexity and uniqueness of the welds required. This requirement for manual TIG creates a problem in training operators to such a high level of skill that they are able to achieve the level of quality required.

One fabricator found out that during training of new welder recruits, they had no way to correct the new welder`s techniques as the welding was happening: they could only identify flaws in the weld after the fact. A completed weld would be inspected and suggestions given to the trainee as to how improvements could be made; this process would then be repeated many times. The fabricator needed a more effective way to train a new recruit.

The fabricator chose to implement a Xiris XVC weld camera. The Xiris XVC weld camera can acquire images with a wide dynamic range so that a huge range of brightness can be seen in a single image: the very intense brightness of a welding arc AND its darker background can be seen by the camera in a single image. By implementing a weld camera right at the weld location, the new welding recruits could learn immediately when a defect in the weld process had occurred and adjust their technique accordingly. Additionally, the video recording feature of the weld camera allows recruits to replay the video of a welding pass for maximum learning opportunity.

 

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Conclusion

By implementing a camera for training purposes, fabricators can eliminate the trial and error process of teaching new recruits critical real time welding skills. By pre-recording an example of a good weld, new recruits can be taught good welding techniques. By recording actual weld segments made by a new recruit, process feedback can be given and explained using the recorded weld segment. As a result, weld training time and materials can be reduced and process accuracy can be improved.

 

 

Topics: GTAW

High Speed Imaging of Welds using Windowing

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, February 03, 2015 @ 09:26 AM

The Xiris XVC-1000 Weld Camera is a High Dynamic Range camera ideally suitable for monitoring all types of welding environments, including TIG, MIG, Laser, Plasma, Electron Beam and Friction Stir. By being able to see a high dynamic range of light intensity, the camera is able to capture images of both the brightest areas of a weld arc, as well as the darker, surrounding environment, all within the same image. The camera is able to do this while running at a maximum frame rate of 55 frames per second when it is in full frame mode (1280 x 1024 pixels).

 

Often it is interesting to image welds at a higher speed to see certain features that are missed at a slower frame rate. In certain situations where the welding process is very short, or certain events need to be monitored carefully, the area of interest that the camera acquires can be windowed down. While reducing the width of the area of interest does not help the speed of image capture, adjusting the height of the area of interest does. The relationship is almost linear. For example, if the camera is running at 55 frames per second in full frame mode, then if the height of the area of interest could be cut in half to 1280 x 512 pixels, the speed will roughly double, to about 104 frames per second, or down to 1/20 of the height of the image to 1280 x 48 pixels that would run at about 540 frames per second. This could be reduced further to a very small window that sees a specific feature in the weld area that could be as small as 1280 x 4 pixels running at speeds up to approximately 900 frames per second.

 

Feb3 - Windowing_Frame rates

 

Operating at higher speeds provides a whole new range of opportunities to monitor specific features in a weld. For example, in a laser spot welding application where the on-time of the weld is well under 1 second, it is helpful to have as many images of the weld as possible. Therefore, by reducing the area of interest to the immediate area of the weld arc, operators can acquire enough images to get a reliable record of the laser heat up, weld time and cool down phases of the laser welding cycle.

Another possibility is the acquisition of multiple successive images taken very quickly. A traditional weld process such as short-circuit MIG welding will see droplets of molten filler wire leave the torch and make its way to the material being welded. By focusing on the area of the weld arc itself, a small area of interest could be established that could be acquired at high speed, freezing droplets of molten wire in flight.

While the frame rate of the camera cannot be increased by reducing the width of the image, this can have some additional benefits, where the camera could be turned sideways so that a vertical segment of image can be acquired, rather than a horizontal segment.

 

 Conclusion

A High Dynamic Range Camera such as the Xiris XVC-1000 can acquire good quality images of a weld at full resolutions of about 55 frames per second. However, sometimes high speed image acquisition of the weld area is necessary to monitor certain high speed characteristics at much higher speeds. This can be achieved by reducing the area of interest to be acquired, to take the image acquisition rates up to as high as 900 frames per second.

 

Topics: High Dynamic Range, Windowing

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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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

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