The Xiris Blog

Improved Productivity in Submerged Arc Welding using a XIRIS Weld Camera

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, October 27, 2015 @ 02:21 PM

The problem

A large fabricator in Mexico employed welding operators high atop their welding manipulators to monitor the process of Submerged Arc Welding (SAW) of large steel pressure vessels.

Each time an operator needed to come down from their monitoring perch (eg: break time, equipment malfunction, end of shift, etc.), approximately 15 minutes of production time was lost.  Not only did the  equipment need to be stopped and the path down secured, auxiliary personnel at the base station were needed to provide safety backup to move the manipulator out of the way and lower the boom for the welding operator to climb off the machine at ground level.  Another 15 minutes were lost while the path was re-secured, the operator returned to the monitoring perch and the manipulator was realigned in order to resume production. Each of these 30 minute cycles represented a significant loss of productivity for the company.

The Solution

The fabricator needed a solution to improve their productivity.  Recognizing that a 30 minute delay, 2-3 times per shift was uneconomical and, in the long run, unsustainable, the fabricator was able to rationalize the purchase of a Xiris XVC-S Sub Arc Camera.  The improvement in productivity alone was sufficient to justify the acquisition.  Once a sub arc weld camera was installed at the weld head and the machine controls, along with a new monitoring screen, were moved to the machine's base platform at ground level, operators were no longer required to be stationed high above the shop floor.

The Result

Now, when an operator needs to leave the machine, it is a simple matter of putting the machine on pause and walking away.  Since the manipulator remains in place and safety backup is no longer required, the time and productivity lost to a production interruption has been dramatically reduced to just a few minutes.

 An additional benefit of this set-up is that operators, monitoring the weld process remotely, at the ground level control station, are far less fatigued during their shift.  They no longer have to climb up and down from their workstations nor must they lean out over the weld head to monitor the proceedings.

Topics: remote monitoring, weld camera, productivity, submerged arc welding

Using a Camera for Welding R&D, Part 2: Filler Wire

Posted by Justin Grahn on Wednesday, September 09, 2015 @ 03:09 PM

Most non-Autogenous welding processes use an external filler wire that is added to the process to help fill a large weld gap or provide a wide cladding area. The type of wire, size, metallurgical properties, type of coring, feed speed and angle are just some of the process parameters fabricators want to monitor to ensure their welding process is proven. But how to do it? A number of welding researchers have turned to the Xiris XVC-1000 Weld camera to get better images of their welding process to understand exactly what is happening.

For example, using a Xiris XVC-1000 Weld camera can help researchers monitor key features of any filler wire feeding process:


1) Analyze how well the filler wire withstands its feeding process through a variety of welding processes such as high speed travel and side to side weaving processes:Sept_9_High_Speed_wire_feed_causes_an_inconsistent_start_throwing_pieces_of_wire_1.jpg

High speed wire feed causes an inconsistent start, throwing pieces of wire


2) Monitor how well the wire is positioned relative to the weld:

Wire feed walking off center



3) Monitor how well the wire is being fed and if there is any damage to the wire during feeding

Wire damage is clearly evident



4) Monitor the timing of the wire feeding. This is particularly important during welds of short duration such as laser welding where it is important to analyze the timing of the wire delivery relative to the weld process. In the example shown below, a frame-by-frame analysis was done to observe the timing and interactions between the laser, wire feed, and robot positioning:

The wire touches the plate early


The laser turns on at the proper time; the wire feed has not yet started


The wire feed finally catches up


The wire feed turns off and the head begins to rise with the laser still on


The above examples are just some of the areas where a weld camera can be used to help with the process and product development of what type of wire and what parameters to use for specific types of non-autogenous welding.

Ensure your R&D process is providing you the most information by adding a Xiris weld camera to see what is really going on!

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

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


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: 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.


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.

A Typical Welding Seamer for Pipe Inner Diameter

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.

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!


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: welding, XVC Weld Camera, Seamer

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