The Xiris Blog

Picture in a Picture from a Weld Camera!

Posted by Emily Blackborow on Tuesday, March 05, 2019 @ 01:00 PM

Xiris has recently added a powerful new feature to its WeldStudio™ software utility that controls and displays images from its weld cameras: the Picture in a Picture (“PIP”) feature. The PIP Feature allows for two-tone mapping algorithms to be used on different portions of the screen at the same time, one on the full screen and one on an adjustable inset window.  Each tone mapping algorithm will have its own settings to enhance key areas of interest in an associated view. 

The dual tone mapping is performed right in the camera view by using the camera’s onboard image processing capability and the image is streamed to an external device as one image. 

Screenshot of WeldStudio™ with Picture-in-Picture Mode


Window2 PIP

 

The image processing tools inside WeldStudio™ allow the operator to manipulate and measure different  features of the weld, to help make meaningful process decisions. The playback mode allows users to view and manage recorded video offline for further analysis, including the ability to slow and freeze frames, view frame by frame, or manage video transfer to an external device.

The PIP feature ensures that enhanced images can be created with better, localized contrast that improves the visibility of key regions of brighter or darker brightness in the image.  Being able to tone map two regions of interest separately allows the user to see higher contrast image details in a foreground and the background. For example, in welding applications where there is an extreme brightness range between the weld area and its background (such as in electron beam welding or high powered laser welding), a smaller inset foreground window can be placed over the welding arc or spot and be optimized for very bright light localized to that region, while the surrounding darker background can be brightened to see the weld seam, allowing heat affected zones and other darker features to be seen more clearly.

By performing the PIP feature inside the camera, fewer external PC processing resources are needed to process the resulting images. In addition, less data needs to be transmitted between the camera and a PC (lowering network traffic that can be beneficial when using multiple cameras), allowing full frame rate to be maintained with the camera at 55 fps.

Our users will have full control of the brightness settings, window size and location for the foreground inset window independently of the the settings for the background image. This feature has been implemented to work on both color and monochrome versions of the Xiris weld cameras. 

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: weld inspection, manufacturing, area of interest, color imaging, weld camera system, welding education, consistent, WeldStudio, PictureInaPicture, PIP

LASIMM project goes live with Xiris Automation

Posted by Emily Blackborow on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 @ 01:00 PM

Lasimm Machine

 

The Large Additive Subtractive Integrated Modular Machine (LASIMM) project is now live and ready to build large 3D printed metal structures for construction. The machine is the first of its kind and is predicted to keep Europe's manufacturing industry as a leading competitor in the global market. The project highlights a milling robot – the first for additive manufacturing of aluminum and steel - to integrate seamlessly additive, subtractive, metrology and cold work applications into a single machine. 

LASIMM will enable the creation of mixed-material structures by using similar and incompatible substances along with  software to generate tool paths and machine sequences. The machine will ensure the component's structural integrity by allowing in-process, non-destructive testing and restoration of defects. 

Xiris partnered with Cranfield University, a defining member of the project, and delivered the XVC-1000 HDR Weld Camera as an inspection solution for LASIMM. We are honoured to contribute to this project and are excited to see the results of the project and the impact LASIMM will have on Europe's additive manufacturing industry. 

Topics: weld camera, Education, High Dynamic Range, manufacturing, applications, XVC Weld Camera, HDR, weld camera system, consistent, inspection

Inspecting Metal Sheath on High Voltage Cables

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

High Voltage Cable is a multi-layer cable used for running high voltages underground or underwater.  The integrity of the cable is very important – the insulation of the cable must not deteriorate due to the high voltage power being transmitted.

Often a high-voltage cable will have a metallic shield layered over the insulation, connected to the ground and designed to equalize the dielectric stress on the insulation layer.  This metallic shield is effectively a welded tube, wrapped around the conducting cores and insulating layers of the cable and welded together as the cable is made.

 

Various High Voltage Cable Samples (courtesy: KEI Industries)

 

If the fabrication process of forming and welding the metal sheath tube is not done properly, the cable may fail its final quality specification and may require to be destroyed, a very costly prospect for the manufacturer. Using a weld inspection system such as the WI2000 system from Xiris, measurements can be made on the production line of the final welded sheath of various attributes such as Mismatch, weld Bead Height and Freezeline to help determine if the metal sheath tube is being welded correctly.

If any of those measurements begin to drift out of tolerance, an operator can be alerted to make adjustments in the input parameters to bring the process back in control avoiding any scrap production.  The result is a better quality welded sheath tube on the cable that has a better chance of meeting the final end user’s specifications.

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: quality control, weld inspection, Tube and Pipe welding, manufacturing, tube, WI-2000p, weld camera system, consistent

Triggering Weld Cameras from a MIG Process

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, February 07, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

MIG processes, particularly short circuit MIG, will generate a huge range in brightness during their metal transfer cycle:  when the arc is extinguished as the wire makes contact with the parent material prior to expulsion, the image can be quite dark. However, after an explusion occurs and the arc is re-established, the image may be very bright as the arc intensifies to its maximum.

Using a camera to acquire images of a MIG weld process in free running mode can be problematic when the amount of light present in the image varies considerably. The variation in light is based on when during the metal transfer process the image exposure takes place: when the arc is extinguished, the image will be dark; when there is a full arc, there will be a bright image. However, if the camera acquisition is triggered by an electrical pulse generated by the camera power supply, the result will be a consistent image of the weld process that is repeatable because it is at the same point of the weld cycle.

Image4

(courtesy ESAB Group, Inc.)

A few words about how Short Circuit MIG and certain other kinds of MIG welding function:

  • Wire is fed continuously and makes contact with the workpiece to complete the electrical circuit.
  • At the point of contact, a short circuit occurs, resulting in a huge spike of current moving through the wire between the torch and the workpiece.
  • At point of wire contacting the workpiece, arc gets extinguished.
  • Segment of wire rapidly vaporizes under high current and an arc gets re-established.
  • Current falls as there is no short circuit.
  • Process repeats.

In a constant voltage welding power supply, the current being fed to the torch can rise and fall based on the metal transfer process. When there is a gap between the wire and the workpiece, the conducting current is low, and increases as the wire begins to touch the workpiece and create a short circuit. Then, once the wire tip explodes, the current falls as there is no conducting circuit. The plot of the current levels look something like this:

 Image3

(courtesy ESAB Group, Inc.)

While capturing the welding process to see certain features, it is sometimes interesting to only take images at a certain point in the metal transfer cycle. Rather than using a weld camera in free running mode where image acquisition is based on the clock cycles inside the camera, an efficient alternative is to use an external trigger that is based on the current levels present in the welding power supply.  If a circuit can be designed to generate a trigger signal based on the rising edge of the current level, then the trigger could be used to initiate image acquisition, resulting in video with an increased consistentency in brightness and quality because each frame will be acquired at precisely the same point in the metal transfer process. 

Further enhancement to the performance of the imaging process is possible by tweaking exactly when the images are acquired through adding a delay.  A delay can be added after the trigger signal is generated so that the exact imaging characteristic can be seen.

For example, imagine wanting to see only images of the metal transfer process after the weld arc is extinguished.  To do this, a trigger signal should be generated based on the current pulses coming from the weld power supply.  It may not be possible to receive the trigger at the ideal point in the metal transfer process, so a programmable delay can be added to make sure that the image acquisition occurs at exactly the right point.

With Triggering:

Image2Image1

Successive Snapshots of a MIG Welding Process Triggered from the Rising Edge of Welding Power Supply’s Current Pulse

The above two successive images show a MiG process at roughly the same point of the metal transfer process over different cycles of the metal transfer.  In this case, the imaging was tuned to see exactly what the viewer wanted to see: the melt pool fully visible with the welding arc present.

In Summary

Imaging a MIG welding process can be fairly difficult if using a weld camera in free running mode.  However, if a circuit can be designed to clamp on the rising edge of the current pulse, it can provide an excellent trigger to use to acquire consistent images at similar points in the metal transfer cycle.  The result is much more uniform images with similar brightness levels, allowing for better analysis and increased efficiency of the welding process. 

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: quality control, image processing, HDR, mig welding, reduced costs, weld camera system, consistent, MIG process

Customer Testimonial: Xiris Tube & Pipe Inspection Systems Transform Quality Control

Posted by Emily Blackborow on Thursday, January 24, 2019 @ 11:02 AM

Who doesn’t love an inspiring transformation story? Weld inspection systems truly are capable of transforming your quality assurance processes and one of our Spanish customers has quite the story to prove it.

Tubos de Legutiano Automoción (TLA) is a manufacturer of high-quality tubular products for the automotive market. By producing thin-walled exhaust pipes, TLA helps their customers reduce the weight of their parts, while maintaining high quality standards that are able to withstand the strict demands of the automotive industry.

TLA

TLA recently said that their most important customer, a large automotive parts supplier based in France, was both surprised and delighted to notice a sudden, significant improvement in TLA’s quality, so much so that they wanted to pay them a visit.

Once visiting TLA, the French automotive parts supplier realized that the improvement in quality was due to the introduction and implementation of the Xiris WI2000 Weld Inspection system used on their two tube lines.  By detecting defects that were previously not detectable using any other NDT test process, TLA was able to address the imperfections that were plaguing their production for years.

The management of TLA commended Xiris’ systems saying:

“Without precision tools that allow us to move forward and work under this precept, it would be difficult to be able to develop products according to the new demands. That is why the Xiris WI2000 has been the key for increasing the quality of our company, reducing set-up times, monitoring the quality of the product in real time and allowing to interact with accurate information in the production process.”

The result was that, once implemented, the WI2000 systems were able to catch defects and help perform better process monitoring to keep their tube product in control.  Consequently, fewer defects made their way to the end of the production line and shipped to their customer in France.

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Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: quality control, tube, defects, WI-2000p, reduced costs, automotive, tubedefects, tube mill

Using Weld Cameras to Enable a Continuous Coil Joining Process

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, January 10, 2019 @ 01:00 PM

Xiris’ High Dynamic Range (HDR) welding cameras can be used in a multitude of ways, some of which our customers have discovered on their own.

For example, a manufacturer of thick-walled steel pipe recently figured out how to use our cameras in a way that has greatly improved the efficiency of their coil joining process.

Operators only have about 10 minutes to end-sheer, mate, and weld coils during the semi-automatic front-end part of the process. The cost of coil joint failure is high, so the manufacturer would stop the tube mill to check on the integrity of the coil joint before continuing.

Even though the stoppage prevented more-costly failures, it had its own cost. What our customer needed was a way to adequately monitor the end joining in the infeed buffer of the pipe mill without having to stop the process to assure correct coil matching.

They knew the capabilities of our cameras to enable real-time remote monitoring of weld processes with greater visibility than ever before possible. So they developed a plan to use Xiris XVC-110e50 cameras to monitor the coil joining during the front end of the process. This monitoring eliminates the need for routine stoppages.

This solution also keeps operators safer. Coil joining is performed using a MIG welding torch mounted onto a linear track with dual-axis torch position. Previously, operators had to be close enough to the torch to see what was happening with the weld. With the Xiris HDR cameras, they have a clear view of the coil joining process from a safe remote location.

With their creative use of our HDR camera technology, this manufacturer was able to significantly reduce the time and cost of coil joining, while increasing consistency.

For a video of the coil joining process taken by the XVC-1100e50 camera, please view the video below

Coil Joining Video 

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: quality control, tube, reduced costs, weld camera system, coil joining, tube mill

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