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Cameron Serles

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How to Implement Audio Monitoring for your Welding Operation

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, September 03, 2019 @ 11:32 AM

Our team at Xiris has released an audio monitoring package for our weld cameras. Today, we’re sharing how you can set up audio monitoring capability with weld cameras for your operations.

Audio monitoring with weld cameras involves both hardware—the microphone and other equipment—and software—Xiris’ WeldStudio™ software.           

Audio Monitoring Hardware

Audio monitoring starts with the microphone. The welding environment is not very friendly for electronics and sensitive equipment, so Xiris has developed a rugged microphone capable of capturing the full spectrum of audio using a specialized sensor. This sensor captures sound frequency from 40hz up to 20khz. This means that you not only get the low rumbles at the bottom of the range, but you also get the sizzle and pop at the high end.

The microphone has been “ruggedized” so that it is suitable for the welding environment. A protective covering provides thermal, environmental and dust protection for the sensitive microphone elements. The microphone is also directional, meaning once it is pointed at the welding process, it will ignore some of the surrounding noises.

The microphone has been designed to be located near the welding camera, although it can be positioned elsewhere if needed.

Cables and wires connect the microphone and transmit the audio signals to the Xiris HMI computer, which contains Xiris’ specially developed audio processing card. It is here that the signal is processed and conditioned for integration with the video images.

Audio Monitoring Software

The audio feature is part of Xiris’ WeldStudio™ software utility, where operators are able to play back, record and adjust the audio that they’re hearing. The audio signal is synchronized with the video stream from the weld camera, so operators can see and hear what’s happening with their welding at the same time.

Audio 2 image

User Interface of WeldStudio™ with audio feature.

Using equalization controls, operators are able to reduce or eliminate certain frequencies, such as those caused by other mechanical noises or environmental noises unrelated to the welding. The software allows operators to completely control the equalization curve to meet their specific needs, suppressing or enhancing certain frequency ranges depending on what they want to listen to. Audio is a module in the WeldStudio™ software, so the touch and feel of the interface and the tools within the program will feel familiar to experienced users.

Summary

Video monitoring using weld cameras has brought many benefits to fabricators and their operations. However, there was something missing. Sound.

Experienced welders understand how sound can help to tune and monitor their welding processes. With this new audio monitoring package, Xiris is providing this capability as an option with the Xiris weld camera system.

 

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: quality control, weld camera, weld monitoring, audio, hardware, software

Xiris Launches Audio Monitoring for Weld Cameras!

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, July 23, 2019 @ 11:25 AM

Xiris is proud to announce a revolutionary addition to our industry-leading cameras: SOUND!

At Xiris, we strive to be a world leader in developing sensors and inspection systems for welding processes. Our team of multidisciplinary experts have extended our weld camera product line with the addition of audio capture and monitoring capability. We are committed to continuously improving our products to meet the needs of our customers, and audio monitoring is something our clients have been asking for.

Adding audio capture and playback to Xiris’ weld cameras introduces a new dimension to welding quality control. Now fabricators can use two sensory inputs – sight AND sound – to help them determine if the welding process is functioning correctly or needs fine tuning to provide the best weld process possible. This enhancement gives operators another tool to assess, monitor and improve the consistency and effectiveness of their welding processes.

Xiris Launches Audio monitoring for welding camerasAn Audio Waveform Picture from the Xiris Audio Recorder

A study in the January 2017 edition of the Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing found that multisensory evaluation of seam welds was 97% more accurate recognizing defects. Various academic and anecdotal studies confirm that sound is key to real-time monitoring of welding quality and process control for intelligent manufacturing.

Welders draw on years of experience to recognize what quality welds sound like. Each type of welding can generate a unique sound signature when it is “in tune” and when it is “out of tune”. In upcoming blogs, we will be talking about the different types of welding and what to listen for. We will also share more details about the Xiris audio recording and playback option and how you can add it to your operations.

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Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: quality control, weld camera, weld monitoring, audio

Ground-Breaking Technology + Dedicated Customer Service = Great Value

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, June 13, 2019 @ 01:00 PM


Welding Process Image Once we’ve demonstrated to potential customers how a Xiris weld camera can help their business, the technology practically sells itself.

Brian Dobben, a welding engineer for Flowserve’s Flow Control Division, could see the value as soon as he saw our camera in action.

It’s worth its weight in gold. It’s just way too valuable not to have,” he recently told us.

Dobben credits Xiris’s cameras with significant cost and time savings, a higher level of safety, and more-effective operator training.

He also appreciates that we travelled from Ontario, Canada to North Carolina, U.S.A. to demonstrate the weld cameras and show personnel how to use the technology (it’s so intuitive, it doesn’t take a tremendous amount of training). Brian was also impressed with our quick turnaround on a necessary repair after a mistake by one of their operators.

We believe our high dynamic range (HDR) weld cameras can increase the efficiency and profitability of any welding operation, and we are committed to making our cameras a game-changing solution. But we don’t just sell cameras, we will do everything possible after a sale to help our customers reap maximum benefit out of them as possible—and that’s a lot of benefit.

To read Brian’s full account of his experience with Xiris—and to get a feel for what we could do for you—we invite you to download this testimonial.

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: quality control, weld inspection, weld safety, High Dynamic Range, operator, XVC Weld Camera, HDR, #testimonial, consistent, inspection system

10 Reasons Why You Should Add a Weld Camera to Your Classroom

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, May 30, 2019 @ 01:00 PM

Adding cameras to view and recording welding is a constant desire of progressive welding schools. However, for many years, there was a lack of the appropriate camera technology with High Dynamic Range imaging capability to properly image welding and display it on a standard 8-bit monitor. The Xiris Weld Camera has overcome this with a combination of advanced electronics and software that map the output to a computer monitor for best viewing results, presenting 10 compelling reasons why Instructors should add a weld camera to their program:

  1. A more-enjoyable, “high-tech” learning experience. By introducing cameras into your training curriculum, students will appreciate the modern approach to training an old skill. The result - enhanced prestige for your weld training facility.
  2. Use of recorded welding videos in the classroom. The ability to repeatedly view, and learn from, recorded demonstrations of good and bad welds can improve the overall effectiveness of your learning program.  Imagine having an ongoing source of video material for multiple classroom discussions, or to recreate lessons of key concepts.
  3. A clear view of all the features of the weld process. Never again worry during welding instruction that all students can see what is being taught.  A camera output to a large display makes all the features of a weld visible to everyone in your class.
  4. Better use of classroom layout. No more worry about classroom space, how many students can fit around a particular weld demonstration and how close they can be to the demonstration.
  5. Better capability to demonstrate new or subtle welding techniques. By building up a library of various techniques, students could review the videos of the best or newest welding technique possible.
  6. Reduced material consumption. Use less welding consumables by being able to minimize the amount repetitive arc on-time by students and instructors of the same welding process.
  7. Better curriculum development. Using cameras provides a whole new dimension in developing a better curriculum for welding courses by allowing instructors to employ digital video content in their classroom.
  8. Differentiation from schools without Weld Cameras in classrooms. Let’s face it – attracting students is a tough job and your school is competing with other schools across town and around the world.  The more appealing you can make your program will raise its appeal to prospective students.
  9. More students moving through existing facilities, faster. By providing students live and recorded content on a large display, more students can be learning via video.  The learning via video can happen while other students learn by doing, reinforcing the learning experience and doubling student throughput.
  10. Testing and verifying of new processes and techniques. When new equipment, process or technique is presented to your school, instructors could make a new video to test out the equipment or process, setting a standard for students to attempt to emulate.

With so many powerful reasons to introduce a weld camera into your curriculum, why wait? 

Contact Xiris today for a consultation.

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: quality control, weld inspection, weld environment, High Dynamic Range, HDR, weld camera system, consistent, inspection system, educator, weld school

Color or Not? Five Questions to Consider When Choosing a Weld Camera

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, May 02, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

Welding is not a very colorful operation. The metal, torch and other materials are usually varying shades of grey. The arc is bright white. The background is almost black. To accurately monitor and inspect welds, being able to see a massive tonal range, from the brightest to the darkest, is essential.

Color image of TIG WeldMonochrome Image of TIG welding process

 Color and Monochrome images of a TIG Welding Proces

Standard cameras, and even the human eye, are incapable of distinguishing all features when faced with such a range of brightness. However, Xiris’ high dynamic range weld cameras can, either in color (the 1100 and 1100e) or black and white (the 1000 and 1000e).
As humans, we often think that color is better. But in weld cameras, that is not always the case. Determining whether a color or monochrome weld camera will work best depends on a company’s operations. Here are five questions to consider when choosing between color and monochrome weld camera:


1. What kind of welding process are you using?
TIG (GTAW) or Plasma welding benefit most from being viewed in color, simply because there is more color present in those welding processes. Evaluating the color of the torch tip, shielding gas, melt pool and even the Heat Affected Zone can help operators to assess the quality of the weld.

2. What do you want to monitor during welding?
For example, do you want to see certain features, such as the boundary between the end of the torch and the shielding gas and arc? That might help you closely monitor the integrity of the torch tip and avoid contamination.

Or, are you concerned about the amount or type of shielding gas in the process? The shielding gas can sometimes take on a unique color as it is consumed by the welding arc. Changes in the color can signify a change in the gas chemistry and alert operators to the possibility of impurities.

Or is the Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) of interest? The leading edge of the HAZ may become visible as the parent material colorizes at elevated temperatures. This can indicate the amount of heat penetration and energy transfer made during the welding process. Discoloration of the metal can signify the presence of excess heat.

3. Is color more important than resolution?
To generate a color image, the image sensor in the weld camera is “painted” with color filters. Each pixel becomes filtered with red, green or blue light in a standard pattern known as a Bayer pattern. The imaging software then mathematically recombines the pixels into a color image. One drawback of this process is that the resolution of a color image is decreased by approximately half compared to that of a monochrome image.

With higher resolution, monochrome cameras generate images with sharper detail than color cameras. In monochrome images, edges appear crisper and subtle details are more visible—important for assessing the texture of the melt pool, for example. However, the hues in a color image give the human eye the ability to better evaluate boundaries between various weld components, like the melt pool, torch tip and shielding gas.

4. Is camera speed important for your operation?
Despite being lower resolution, color image files are larger than monochrome because each pixel is described by 3 bytes of data, whereas in monochrome images, only 1 byte of data is required. As a result, a color camera often will transmit data slightly slower than a monochrome camera to its output device.

5. Does color provide additional information that can help your welding process?
Everyone’s welding operation is unique. You may have additional features such as guiding markers on your parent material, or wire being fed into the welding process that might be best suited to monochrome or color cameras. Our team can help you to assess your needs and advise whether color or monochrome will work best for your application.

Whatever the operational needs, Xiris’ weld cameras, in either monochrome or color, provide high contrast, clear images of the welding process, allowing manufacturers to quickly and easily monitor their welds for better process control.

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: weld inspection, manufacturing, defects, weld monitoring, XVC Weld Camera, HDR, color weld camera, color imaging, weld camera system, welding education, consistent

Answering Questions About Weld Camera Set Up

Posted by Cameron Serles on Wednesday, March 20, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

Using cameras to monitor welding processes isn’t a new idea. But it’s an idea that’s never been practical—until now.

The development of high dynamic range (HDR) cameras designed for weld monitoring, remote monitoring of welding via cameras, is now feasible. With HDR cameras, the challenge of seeing sufficient detail in a weld arc and its surrounding background can be overcome.

With traditional cameras, the super-brightness of the arc and the dark background couldn’t be viewed at the same time with suitable clarity. HDR cameras can capture all the detail in the arc and background, providing images with more precision than is possible even with an operator observing the weld with their own eyes.

With HDR cameras, operators don’t need to be physically close to a weld to determine what’s happening. This frees operators from dangerous, uncomfortable conditions that expose them to significant health risks.

What would the use of HDR cameras look like? How would they be set up? Can they be used for both trailing and leading views? How many cameras would be most beneficial?

We address these questions in our whitepaper, “Welding Like You’ve Never Seen Before.

You can learn how HDR cameras can be implemented in varied ways to meet specific needs. And you can see for yourself numerous screen shots that show the clarity of HDR images.  

You can download the whitepaper for free right here.

 Welding-like-you-have-never-seen-before-cover

Topics: High Dynamic Range, marketing, weld camera system

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