The Xiris Blog

Cameron Serles

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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

How HDR Weld Cameras Improve Operator Safety

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, August 03, 2017 @ 05:01 PM

What’s wrong with this picture?

Quite a bit.

From this position, the operator is monitoring the weld of a pipe, but he doesn’t have good visibility of both the super-bright region around the weld arc and its dark immediate background, which contains important process detail. The protective weld helmet this operator will wear to view the arc may provide adequate definition of the arc, but the helmet will filter out valuable background information.

Even more importantly, this operator is in a relatively unsafe position. No matter the type of welding being done, manual weld monitoring exposes operators to significant health and safety risks. Looking at this photo, it’s obvious that the operator would be much safer if he was monitoring the weld remotely using weld cameras.

Weld cameras have been around for years, but technological limitations hampered their effectiveness. However, recent developments in software and camera technology have made weld cameras a practical, cost-effective tool for all types of welding processes. High Dynamic Range (HDR) weld cameras—such as Xiris’s cameras—not only make it feasible to move from manual to remote monitoring, they make the move a smart, forward-thinking business decision.

After all, health and safety risk results in many costs, such as lost work time, higher workman’s compensation insurance premiums, higher group medical coverage, and litigation exposure. Getting operators away from direct-observation situations naturally decreases these costs.
HDR weld cameras also reduce costs by facilitating process improvements that increase operational efficiency. You can increase volume while decreasing defect rates and reducing labor.

This is true for any type of welding process, but as an example, consider metal additive manufacturing (MAM), which is notorious for its challenging applications  and high cost.

If they have enough space, many MAM manufacturers are putting two or more cameras into a MAM chamber to provide operators with multiple views of the assembly. Using just two cameras, operators have both a leading and trailing view of the heat source and the material being fed into the melting process. And the HDR technology makes it possible to see clear detail of both the super-bright and dark aspects of this process.

Without cameras, the alignment (of torch to substrate) must be checked manually, often from less-than-ideal, dangerous angles proximate to the machine, through a welding helmet or welding glass.

As shown below, a Xiris HDR weld camera provides a clear view of the background material and previous passes of the additive manufacturing machine to assist the operator with clear views of the torch-to-part alignment—while not even in the same room as the weld! In this close-up view of the second pass of a titanium wire deposition process, micro-fractures can be seen in the first pass, indicating a lack of shielding gas.

View-of-additive-manufacturing-with-XIRIS-HDR-camera.jpg

Summary

Because of the high-risk conditions proximate to the weld head, direct monitoring of weld processes is more dangerous and less productive than remote monitoring. In conjunction with other quality-control tools, HDR weld cameras can play a key role in enabling this more-efficient, more-effective remote monitoring.

Topics: High Dynamic Range, operator, additive manufacturing

Why Weld Cameras are Essential when Welding Large Pipe

Posted by Cameron Serles on Monday, April 03, 2017 @ 12:56 PM

 

 

Apr 3 image 1.png

Large Pipe Fabrication

Welding large pipes using either Submerged Arc or Open Arc welding processes may pose a number of problems, such as:

  • poor alignment of torch to seam
  • improper levels or placement of shielding gas or flux
  • improper joint preparation
  • jammed wire feeders
  • wrong welding power levels

to name just a few.

 In order to avoid these problems and ensure the highest possible quality, welding processes must be monitored closely.  When automated welding processes were first introduced, fabricators stationed an operator in a chair atop a welding machine, such as a column and boom welder, to visually monitor the welding process directly.  Surprisingly, this is still a widely used approach to weld monitoring!

 Apr 3 image 2.png

An empty chair waiting for the operator….

Even today, there are fabricators who are unfamiliar with automated inspection process and are forced to place an operator on a chair high above the welded pipe to monitor the welding process.  This is a health and safety problem waiting to happen!  Not only does the operator face fume inhalation, they risk injury from moving equipment, inadequate protection and dangerous heights.

Apr 3 image 3.png

Can you see the Operator monitoring the process?

In addition to the safety concerns, work breaks are a major drain on productivity.  Just think of the production time lost while moving the gantry robot or hoisting equipment down so that the operator can safely exit the equipment at ground level, not to mention the idle time until the operator returns to their position.

Apr 3 image 4.png

Or Here?

A Better Solution

The better solution is to use a remote monitoring weld camera installed at the weld head that can be viewed from as far as 100 m away.  Operators are on the production floor, removed from the welding process but still able to see all the details of a welding process.   Watch the video below, created by LJ Welding in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for an excellent demonstration of how weld cameras are being used in the field:

 Apr 3 image 5-1.png

 

You can visit our

WELD VIDEO LIBRARY

for dozens of examples of the camera in action. 

For more information on how Xiris Weld Cameras can enhance your weld processes visit Xiris.com or REQUEST A DEMONSTRATON 

Don't miss any of our amazing videos! Sign up to receive the Weld Video of the Month 

Topics: quality control, Xiris, welding, weld safety, Tube and Pipe welding, productivity tools

Marketing your Welding Products with Weld Videos

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, February 28, 2017 @ 04:30 AM

Why should your customers buy from you rather than your competitors?

It can be easy to take for granted that your processes are more efficient, your production environment healthier and your service levels higher than your competitors.  However, if your customers don’t recognize your advantages, you could be missing out on an opportunity to gain a competitive edge - and increase your sales.

How do you communicate with your customers in order to stand out from the crowd?  If you make a product for the welding industry, a novel approach is to use the Xiris Weld camera to produce stunning videos of your unique process to clearly demonstrate what your product does.  Using the Xiris Weld camera, you can acquire high contrast, clear images that show off the processes that make your product special. 


Feb 28 image 1.jpg

A Clear Image of the Welding Process Demonstrates your Product Quality

Using a Xiris Weld camera to image your product’s welding process is an inexpensive and quick way to help your customers visualize the benefits you are offering them.  Recorded video is easily generated, eliminating the need for expensive production facilities, animation or computer graphics.

Imagine for example that you have developed a new or improved magnetic oscillator technique and you want to show it to the world!  What better way than to record a video showing the problem to be solved and the process resulting from the application of your product. 

One example of this is the Spin Arc welding process.  Once thought to be obsolete, spin arc welding is making a comeback that needs to be explained to prospective customers.  By presenting a video of the process, customers can clearly see the benefits of high deposition rates, better side wall penetration and the elimination of the need for torch oscillation, as seen in the sequence of images below:

Feb 28 image 2.jpg

Three Time-Lapsed Views of a Spin Arc Process in Action

Not only will the Xiris Weld camera improve your own welding processes, it can be a powerful marketing tool as you seek to grow your market share. 

For more information on how Xiris Weld Cameras can help monitor your weld processes and grow your sales, visit Xiris.com

Don't miss any of our amazing videos! Sign up to receive the Weld Video of the Month 

Topics: quality control, weld video, Xiris, welding, productivity tools, marketing

How to Reduce Customer Returns from your Tube Mill

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, February 14, 2017 @ 04:00 AM

When a customer refuses to accept a shipment because of a quality problem, the cost escalates as soon as the tube leaves the plant. The cost of customer returns includes all product that gets returned from, rejected by or credited to a customer. It also includes the expense of sorting, investigations, meetings, reporting, shipping, handling and containment.  The tube producer may have to rework the product until it meets customer expectations, scrap it or, worse, send a team to the customer’s site to inspect each piece manually.  By adding weld inspection into a tube production line, the rate of defect detection will be higher as the weld inspection system will be able to detect, at a high level of accuracy, defects that are not easily detected by NDT equipment or manual operators.  With higher defect detection rates, better quality product will be shipped, ultimately reducing customer returns.

Feb 13 Blog Image 1.jpg(photo courtesy of www.demacmedia.com)

 

Reduce your customer returns! Justify an automatic weld inspection system using a ROI worksheet where you can enter your own mill data. 

 

    Download your FREE ROI Calculator Now!

 

For more information on how Xiris Weld Cameras can help monitor your weld processes, visit Xiris.com or sign up to receive the Weld Video of the Month 

Topics: quality control, Xiris, welding, Tube and Pipe welding, ROI, return on investment, productivity tools

How to Find Defects Sooner and Reduce Scrap on a Tube Mill

Posted by Cameron Serles on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 @ 05:00 AM

In a tube mill, production scrap can come from just about anywhere: tooling wear, bad material inputs, out-of-maintenance equipment or a process that is out of control.  Regardless of where it comes from, the creation of scrap costs tube fabricators a lot of money and time.  Since raw material accounts for the majority of the cost to make a tube, reducing the scrap rate by even a fraction of 1% can provide substantial savings to the tube fabricator.

ROI 4 image.png

Typical Scrap Generated from a Tube Mill

(photo courtesy of www.roll-kraft.com)

Traditionally, defects are found on a tube mill at the end of the production line by existing NDT equipment or alert operators.  By placing an automatic weld inspection system right after the weld box, defects or weld zone variations can be detected earlier in the production process and can be removed from production prior to further value being added to defective products.  By detecting the defects automatically right after the weld box and not manually by an operator or inspector at the end of the line after cutting or bundling, a complete length of tube can be saved by responding faster to the out-of-control process.

The result is material savings of scrap tube because the process can be brought in control sooner, avoiding producing extra lengths of defective tube. 

Want to reduce scrap in your mill?  Justify an automatic weld inspection system using a ROI worksheet where you can enter your own mill data. 

 

    Download your FREE ROI Calculator Now!

 

For more information on how Xiris Weld Cameras can help monitor your weld processes, visit Xiris.com or sign up to receive the Weld Video of the Month 

Topics: quality control, Xiris, welding, Tube and Pipe welding, ROI, return on investment, productivity tools

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