The Xiris Blog

Cameron Serles

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Detecting Bead Ripple During Tube Manufacturing

Posted by Cameron Serles on Friday, October 05, 2018 @ 11:45 AM

Lighter wall mild steel pipe production requires bead height monitoring for bead ripple. Bead ripple is a condition sometimes associated with a weld process that is too hot and may result in longitudinal weld cracks.  Bead ripples appear along the length of the weld bead as undulations with measurable differences in height by as much as 1/8” (3 mm).  Often the height of the bead ripple on a welded pipe is a function of the heat that has gone into the weld process:  the higher the heat, the greater the height of the bead ripple. In most applications, a weld bead should have a smooth, consistent height as an indicator of a stable weld process.

Bead Ripple1An image of a weld bead with bead ripple

In some applications, a weld bead ripple can be desired, such as in certain coated steel products. This ensures that all contaminants from the area of the weld have been squeezed out, preventing potential inclusions from occurring in the weld bead, which would result in compromised weld quality.

By measuring the bead height on a weld bead over a period of time using a laser based triangulation system , an indication of the smoothness of the weld bead can be made.  By calculating ongoing historical statistics of the head height (e.g. min/max, average, standard deviation), an indication of smoothness of the weld bead or bead ripple can be made.  Tolerances of the amount of smoothness or ripple can be set to match the process and when exceeded, an alarm can be set.

Bead Ripple Detection1 Measuring the weld bead height over successive images can detect bead ripple over time

Topics: tube mill, tubedefects, productivity tools, tube, bead height, Tube and Pipe welding, quality control

Using High Dynamic Range Cameras for Slip-Ring Applications

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, August 16, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

If you use slip rings and rotating torches in cladding, there now is a way that you can see the welding process much more clearly than ever before.

Xiris has successfully tested our XVC-1000 and XVC-1000e weld cameras on rotating welding machines using slip rings—and the cameras work perfectly!  Unlike other cameras with electrical noise interferences, the Xiris Weld Cameras are not affected by the electrical noise and interferences common with running video over a slip ring.

Even Over a Slip Ring Connection, Xiris Weld Camera Maintains a Noise Free Image

Slip rings are electromechanical devices that are designed to pass electrical signals from a rotary source (such as a weld camera mounted next to one or more torches that rotate around the inside of a part) to a stationary receiver (such as a computer which receives the video data from the cameras). They are devices that allow for the transmission of an electrical signal and power.  By employing a metal brush that rubs against a rotating metal ring, the video signal coming from the camera travels through the connection, avoiding the use of solid cables that could potentially twist indefinitely until damaged.

Weld cameras are making their way into a variety of cladding operations.  However, it is very difficult to monitor cladding on the inside of the pipe, especially when the pipe stays stationary and the torch rotates.  This can be a problem for a standard connection: as the torch rotates continuously, cables cannot withstand very many rotations before they break.  Therefore, the use of slip rings would be a natural solution.  However, slip rings typically are used for motor signals and power, applications that are a little more tolerant of electrical noise than video signals.  Typical industrial cameras haven’t worked well with slip rings because their analog signals are not resistant to electrical noise.

The problem is that cladding is typically done using a TIG welding process, which is notorious for generating lots of electrical noise that can kill standard electronics due to its high-frequency starts.

But the Xiris weld cameras don’t die or short-circuit from high-frequency welding noise, even with a slip ring.  Our cameras and the welding machine keep working together when used with a slip ring—allowing operators to remotely see high dynamic range (HDR) images of their cladding process, in real time, on a computer screen, remotely.  The Xiris weld cameras with HDR capability permit operators to see both the super-bright weld arc and its dark surrounding background, with no need to stop the process.

We’ve tested our HDR weld cameras on slip-ring applications numerous times, and the advanced electronics in the cameras have repeatedly been up to the task. We’d be glad to demonstrate on your set-up.

This is new technology, but it’s ready now to improve the efficiency of your rotating-torch cladding.

Topics: weld camera system, cladding, Pipe Cladding, pipe, Slip Ring, TIG, TIG welding, tig torch

DED Additive Manufacturing: 5 Things You Can Monitor With A Weld Camera

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, July 05, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

Of greatest interest to most users of Additive Manufacturing using Direct Energy Depostion (DED) processes is the ability to constantly monitor the deposition process and to stop the process if the deposition goes awry. DED power sources generate a lot of light which is difficult to properly image using a traditional camera.  By using a Xiris Weld Camera placed around the DED head to monitor the DED process, an operator can stop the deposition process and repair the defective region then resume the deposition without adding additional material on top of the defective area. 

 vlcsnap-2018-06-27-13h50m13s456

 A detailed image of the Additive Manufacturing process, captured by a Xiris Weld Camera.

With a Xiris Weld Camera, the bright light arc from the DED power source can be clearly seen as well as the detail of its immediate surrounding environment.  Here are 5 areas where the operator is able to see more details of the additive process with such a camera:

  1. Amount of shielding gas being used (Plasma or TIG)

With a clear view of the arc used to melt the fed powder or wire, operators can monitor how much shielding gas is being used and whether adjustments are needed

  1. Alignment of weld torch to previous layer

With a clear view of the previous pass of material, the operator can make sure that the DED head is tracking the layer properly.

  1. Keyhole spot size, location and shape (Laser)

All features of the molten material being deposited can be better monitored with a clearer view of the weld environment.

  1. The powder or wire being deposited,

With a clear view of the arc used to melt the fed powder or wire, operators can monitor how much shielding gas is being used and whether adjustments are needed

  1. The quality of the resulting melt pool and formed final bead.

Looking for dross, good quality melting and proper wetting in the melt pool and proper final bead shape one the bead has cooled is possible with a weld camera as the operator can see enough detail for these features to be visible.

 

Summary

By adding a Xiris weld camera to a DED process, operators can ensure that their parts quality is optimized during production and expensive rework is avoided.

 

Topics: weld camera system, color weld camera, additive manufacturing

SPC Measurements on a Tube Mill

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, April 10, 2018 @ 02:58 PM

Statistical Process Control (SPC) is the use of inspection data to determine the characteristics of a process, using techniques to find and remove abnormal variations in completed tubes.  Variable data is quantitative and is generated from actual measurements, such as the Mismatch, Bead Height, Deflection or similar measurements obtained from the Xiris WI2000 Weld Inspection system when it is placed right after the weld box on a tube mill. 

Variation is the difference between things that should be alike because they were produced under the same conditions.  Variation can be measured and groups of these measurements can be plotted as a frequency distribution, or histogram.  Since quality is a measure of conformance to specifications, poor quality results when variation falls outside the upper and lower specification limits.

2018_4_3 - SPC Data Logging Utility Display, Xiris WI2000.jpg

The SPC Data Logging Utility Display from a Xiris WI2000 system

 

SPC data can now be recorded and reviewed off line using the WI2000 measuring a number of parameters, including: 

  • Mean - the average of a group of values of a particular measurement.
  • Median -  the middle value of a group of ordered measurements.
  • Mode - the measurement occurring with the highest frequency.  This is the peak of the histogram.  In a true normal distribution, the mean, median and mode are all equal.
  • Range - the highest minus the lowest value in a set of measurement data.  This is a simple measure of the dispersion, or spread, in a set of data.
  • Standard Deviation - a measure of dispersion computed from the square root of the sum of the deviations from the mean, divided by the total frequency. 

Statistical process control uses the concept of subgroup sampling.  This is a method of data collection that considers a series of consecutive measurements together as a single group.  A typical subgroup size is five (5) measurements.  In order to smooth out the variability associated with an individual measurement, five consecutive measurements would be considered together as a representative sample. 

Xiris has implemented an SPC measurement logging capability to provide a way for fabricators to monitor their tube mills and identify abnormal variations in their completed tubes.

 

Topics: Tube and Pipe welding, weld inspection

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: submerged arc welding, Tube and Pipe 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, additive manufacturing, operator

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