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Justin Grahn

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Monitoring High Amperage Welding on Aluminum

Posted by Justin Grahn on Tuesday, March 27, 2018 @ 02:32 PM

Aluminum welding needs to be performed typically "hot and fast." When using automated welding equipment, it is very challenging to get the process parameters correct. To aid in automated aluminum welding processes, a weld camera can be used to monitor for process variations that could cause a poor weld, including:

  • Burnthrough: Higher thermal conductivity and lower melting point of aluminum alloys can easily lead to burnthrough. Even on thicker material, welders have to carefully monitor that welding current high enough to penetrate the weld joint adequately does not cause burnthrough.
  • Cracking: Aluminum TIG welds often have a tendency to crack if there is not enough filler metal to change the weld chemistry to make it less crack-sensitive.
  • Weld Shape: A good aluminum weld will be flat to slightly convex in shape. If welds are ropey or convex, it is usually an indication that not enough energy was provided to the weld and cold procedures or undersized equipment was used.
  • Heat Affected Zone: by monitoring the size and shape of the HAZ, operators can reduce how much the base metal melt, reducing the opportunity for stress cracking;
  • Shielding gas: In thick aluminum welding, monitoring shielding gas size, shape and color can indicate its chemistry. Altering the chemistry can vary the heat input, changing the weld root width penetration, and reduce porosity.
  • Weld discoloration: may indicate metal oxides are cooling outside of the shielding gas range on the base metal, increasing the possibility of contaminants.
  • Oxide layer: if oxide layer has not been adequately removed in the weld arc, contaminants could migrate into the weld, causing porosity or cracking.
All these phenomena can be seen by a trained operator when remotely monitoring the aluminum welding process with a welding camera. To achieve best quality of image, a monochrome weld camera can be used at low exposure rates to produce the best image because the aluminum weld arc is so bright, offering better contrast and dynamic range than a color camera.

 2018_3_27 - Monitoring High Amperage Welding on Aluminum with a Weld Camera

Image of Aluminum welding with a Monochrome camera,

at extremely low exposure

 

Topics: weld camera, Aluminum, High Amperage Welding

Watching a Rotating Cladding Process

Posted by Justin Grahn on Tuesday, March 13, 2018 @ 10:46 AM

Cladding material on to the inside surface of a pipe requires movement of the torch head relative to the pipe surface. This is done by either rotating the pipe, keeping the welding torch stationary, or by rotating the welding torch and keeping the pipe stationary. For longer sections of pipe, or for pipe that has already had a number of sections welded together, moving the pipe itself is not always practical. Instead, the weld torch must be rotated to perform the cladding operation.

To remotely monitor the cladding process, a weld camera can be mounted next to the weld torch, allowing operators to detect defects in the cladding process while they are happening and respond immediately with positional adjustments or even by tweaking the material inputs to the optimize the clad. While it is not too difficult when the torch remains stationary, it is more of a challenge when the torch has to rotate through many rotations to complete the cladding operation.

To solve this problem, the Xiris XVC-1000 and XVC-1000e weld cameras were integrated and successfully tested on a slip ring to transmit the power and electrical signals from the camera inside the pipe to an external computer. A slip ring is an electromechanical device that allows the transmission of power and electrical signals from a stationary device such as the external computer to a rotating device – the weld camera inside the pipe.

With the successful testing of the video transmission by slip ring, it is now possible to equip cladding machines that have rotating torches or carriages with a weld camera. This provides much better process monitoring in ways that were not possible previously as operators were forced to watch the cladding through a welding shield or helmet, trying to follow the arc around in circles as best as they could.

 

2018_3_13 - Watching a Rotating Cladding Process

The View from a Weld Camera as Transmitted over a Slip-Ring



Topics: Pipe Cladding, weld monitoring, Slip Ring

Watching a 1,000,000 Watt Plasma Arc!

Posted by Justin Grahn on Tuesday, February 27, 2018 @ 01:17 PM

Usually Xiris Weld cameras are used to monitor open weld arcs of many kinds of processes, including plasma welding processes, where the power settings are usually in the range of a few hundred Watts of power.

So imagine when presented with the challenge of monitoring a one million Watt plasma arc! This is exactly what Xiris was asked to do – mount a camera to see such a powerful arc as part of an industrial process. We were not sure how well the camera would respond to the plasma arc as it was so hot and generated such intense bright light that even the dynamic range of the XVC-1000 weld camera may not be sufficient to properly image it.

When setting up the camera, we had to mount the camera far away from the plasma arc, at about 6 ft. (2 m) away, while monitor the entire process in a completely different room. The plasma arc was so powerful that our camera would shake when the arc was activated. Even from a protected room, the noise that the plasma arc generated seemed like standing next to a jet engine.

We were happy to discover that, even with such a powerful light source, the Xiris XVC-1000 weld camera was able to capture clear images of the high-powered plasma arc. The images were good enough to see sufficient detail in the arc for research staff to analyze the behavior of the return arc remotely, without having to be close enough to the plasma source to create hazardous work conditions.

2018_2_27 - Watching a 1,000,000 Watt Plasma Arc

An Actual Image of a 1,000,000 Watt Plasma Arc!

 

Topics: weld camera, weld monitoring, Plasma

Upgrade Your View with a Xiris Weld Camera

Posted by Justin Grahn on Monday, March 20, 2017 @ 09:15 AM

Upgrade Your View!

This isn’t the first time Xiris has run into a duct-taped welding shield and it won’t be the last.  A manufacturing company, welding high quality products on a seamer has recently made some major upgrades.

From this:


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To this:

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What other single upgrade can so easily and cost-effectively increase quality, raise productivity, reduce health and safety risk, and improve working conditions for your operators?

A Xiris Weld Camera can be retrofitted on virtually any seamer in minutes.

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, productivity tools

Monitoring Welding Processes in Color

Posted by Justin Grahn on Tuesday, September 13, 2016 @ 12:52 PM

In most situations, a high dynamic range (HDR) image that provides a clear view of the weld arc and immediate work environment is enough to provide operators everything they need to control or adjust their welding process.  Typically, such images are provided in monochrome because, in certain circumstances, it provides better image saturation and fidelity. Monochrome images can accentuate the light and shadows of a welding scene, making the texture of the welding surfaces, torch tip, wire and melt pool easier to see.  Images with a wide range of tonal values, such as what might exist in a high dynamic range image of a welding scene, tend to work well in monochrome.  This is especially the case when the tones in the image range all the way from the blackest blacks of the background to the whitest whites of the welding arc, with lots of varying grey tones in between.

However, for some welding situations, color imaging that delivers high dynamic range imaging has particular value.  The presence of color allows the boundary of aspects of the weld process to be easily detected by the operator.  Bright hues that highlight an element, such as the melt pool, shielding gas or torch tip can improve the visibility of that object to the operator.

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Color Image of a Manual TIG Process

Of all the types of welding, perhaps the most suitable for color imaging is GTAW (TIG).  Some of the features that are better seen with color in a TIG process include:

  • Melt Pool: Better edge definition and detection of flow of molten material.
  • Shielding Gas: Operators are able to see if there is any shielding gas present.  Also, each shielding gas mixture typically has its own signature certain color.  If the gas chemistry in the welding environment changes, then so does its color. 
  • Oxidation: Very easy to detect the presence of flames resulting from the burn-off of any oils or impurities.
  • Heat Affected Zone (HAZ): The leading edge of the heat affected zone can be detected in the parent material as it typically colorizes at elevated temperatures.  This can indicate the amount of heat penetration and energy transfer.
  • Temperature Indicator: Operators can clearly see discoloration of metal due to excess heat in the welding process.
  • Torch Tip: Easier to see the definition of the torch tip and cup relative to the weld arc.  Allows the operator to monitor the impurity build up on the torch tip and spatter presence on the cup.

Sep_13_Blog_Image_2.png

Narrow Gap TIG Welding – Color Exposes Different Details

Conclusion

Ultimately, the choice of whether to use color or black and white camera technology depends on what feels right for the operator.  Nevertheless, for certain welding operations such as TIG, the use of color imaging can significantly enhance the clarity and detail of the image, thereby improving the operator’s ability to detect even small changes in the weld scene.

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

Sign up to receive our Weld Video of the Month

Topics: quality control, Xiris, welding, High Dynamic Range, TIG, productivity tools, color imaging

Additive Manufacturing Research and Development Made Easier

Posted by Justin Grahn on Wednesday, May 25, 2016 @ 11:38 AM

Additive Manufacturing refers to a process whereby 3D design data is used to build up a component by depositing successive layers of material to create the shape required.  It is also referred to as "3D printing" and can be used to create almost any shape or geometry that is generated from a 3D CAD model.  It is called Additive Manufacturing because material is added together to form a part, distinguished from conventional manufacturing where material is removed to form a part.  

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To form a part, layers of specialized powder or special filament wire can be melted together using a Laser or weld head under a motion system to create the shape required.  This is a fairly new field that is attracting lots of Research and Development to create better processes, powder and wire materials, and bonding techniques.  However, the development process typically requires long run times of the additive manufacturing equipment that is very labor intensive to watch the entire process in real time.

Instead, Xiris Weld Cameras can be used to record the process to produce crisp and clear images of the weld head, laser spot, melt pool and weld bead.  The result is a video of the process in stunning high resolution and clarity, at rates that can exceed 200 frames/sec.  This can allow engineers and scientists to monitor the process live and stop right when an error occurs.  Or, the recorded video can then be played back at a higher speed to allow engineers and scientists to review the process from start to finish and carefully review the events of greatest interest at a lower speed, as required.  This allows the R&D team to focus on the time of defects and errors, by finding out exactly what went wrong with the process by analyzing the recorded video at the time of interest.

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Conclusion

The development effort to improve an additive manufacturing process can be long and tedious.  Using a Weld camera to monitor the process can both help to reduce the labor required to improve the process but also provide better documentation and highlighting of the process variations as they occur.

For more information on how Xiris Weld Cameras can help with your Additive Manfacturing applications, visit Xiris.com

Topics: weld video, Xiris, welding, High Dynamic Range, R&D, LAM, additive manufacturing

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