The Xiris Blog

How to Make Metal AM Process Adjustments in Real Time

Posted by Catherine Cline on Thursday, November 02, 2017 @ 11:31 AM

Research and Development is a crucial element of success in Metal Additive Manufacturing. However, R&D has traditionally been expensive and highly time-consuming.

A primary cause of this cost and time is that Metal AM machine operators cannot make adjustments to a first-run part in real time. Engineers must wait for the build of the entire part before they can test and analyze it. This process results in excess time—stopping the machine to make adjustments, testing and analyzing after the first run, and future runs after post-run adjustments are made. Each additional run also drives up materials’ costs and involves costly, time-consuming stoppages for reprogramming new runs.

The powder feed/ droplet formation in Metal Additive Manufacturing as seen with Xiris Weld CameraMAM like you have never seen it_Page 6_Top Image_powder feed droplet formation.png

Fortunately, this cost/time problem can be minimized. You no longer need to wait to test and analyze first-run Metal AM parts until they are completed. Recent developments in software and camera technology are allowing operators to use High Dynamic Range (HDR) weld cameras to make adjustments to a part in real time during the initial run. Process engineers can also monitor the sequence and program in real-time adjustments.

By integrating HDR weld cameras into the Metal AM machine, operators in any setup can get clear, high-contrast views of the torch and wire (or powder flow) and their alignment to the process and other material settings. Operators can monitor material inputs and achieve ideal conditions on a consistent basis throughout the process, without stopping the machine.

Xiris’s HDR weld cameras feature the latest software and camera technology. Using our cameras, operators can monitor the weld torch, its immediate background, and material deposits from previous machine passes—with a level of visibility that has never been possible before. Importantly, this visibility is even greater than when operators are situated close enough to the Metal AM process to see it with their own eyes. Our HDR weld cameras not only allow operators to see more detail, they eliminate the danger and labor time involved with manual monitoring.

Often, due to thermal stresses, a deposited layer of material can start to warp. To compensate, operators can use the clear images from the HDR weld cameras to make precise adjustments to align the torch, wire and/or powder to the warped material, optimizing material alignment and overlap during challenging Metal AM layer deposition.

After an initial run, process engineers can use the recorded video from the HDR weld camera, in conjunction with data from other quality systems, to review the material deposition and resolve issues more quickly than waiting for traditional testing and analysis to take place when the part has been completed. For example, if a layer is deposited with significant porosity, it may only be detected if the operator is using HDR cameras to monitor the melt process. Without such tools, porosity in the material could only be detected by a form of destructive testing after the part has been completed.

Summary

Metal AM machine operators can use HDR weld cameras to monitor the initial build of a Metal AM part, providing them with immediate feedback, rather than waiting for the build of an entire part before inspecting, testing, and analyzing it. The result is decreased build times, less engineering/operator cost, and lower materials’ costs. These benefits make the latest in HDR weld cameras a valuable, cost-effective tool in any R&D process for Metal AM.

Topics: High Dynamic Range, metal, additive manufacturing

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.

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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

Using Weld Cameras to Minimize Excessive Spatter on GMAW

Posted by Peter Serles on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 @ 04:00 AM

Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW) is characterized by the creation of sparks and spatter ejecting from the workpiece as the weld wire/filament shorts and melts over 100 times per second. The creation of spatter is an inevitable part of the GMAW process but it presents a number of issues for the production process, including damaging functional surfaces, increased consumables, and poor finish aesthetics. It may not be possible to eliminate spatter altogether, but it can be greatly reduced with a better understanding of why spatter is created and how to tune your process parameters to control it.

Spatter is the discharge of high temperature material as a result of melt pool surface tension and the conversion of thermal energy to kinetic energy. This sprays small droplets of molten metal onto the surrounding area where they cool and solidify creating a non-uniform surface finish. It is well known that different GMAW processes produce varying levels of spatter but even spray GMAW, which is known for spatter control, can greatly benefit from spatter reduction.

See the full video: Spatter Ejected from GMAW Short Circuit Process on Stainless Steel

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As well as being a nuisance to clean, spatter can be a costly problem for GMAW welding. A case study performed by Welding Answers [1] looked at the benefits of parameter tuning and found that spatter reduction by as much as 85% was possible through better parameter settings, leading to operating cost reductions of 21%. This was achieved through reduced labour costs, less lost filler material and fewer consumables required to post-process the weld.

In order to reduce the total spatter, a strong understanding of welding parameters and their effect on the weld pool is required. According to the ASME, 77% of welding defects including high spatter content are caused by improper processing conditions or operator error [2]. Most commonly, adjusting the amperage, voltage, and distance of electrode to workpiece are the significant factors influencing spatter production. Other factors that influence spatter include wire-feed speed, electrode thickness, and surface contamination.

With the use of a Xiris High Dynamic Range welding camera, the weld arc, spatter ejection, and surrounding material can all be clearly observed and the amount of spatter created during the welding process can be monitored and evaluated. This allows better understanding of the effects of varying the welding parameters and their influence on spatter formation. With a clear view of the operating field, welding parameters for every material and thickness can be adjusted to reduce spatter content and inefficiencies as a result of spatter production and cleaning can be greatly reduced.

 

For more information on how Xiris Weld Cameras can reduce splatter and enhance your GMAW welding processes visit Xiris.com 

You can visit our

 WELD VIDEO LIBRARY

for dozens of examples of the camera in action. 

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

 

References:

[1] http://weldinganswers.com/the-real-cost-of-welding-spatter/

[2] C. Matthews, ‘ASME Engineer’s Data Book’, ASME Press, January 2001

Topics: quality control, Xiris, High Dynamic Range, GMAW, weld monitoring, additive manufacturing

Get Better Quality from Your Laser Additive Manufacturing Process

Posted by Peter Serles on Wednesday, May 31, 2017 @ 01:26 PM

Additive manufacturing is an increasingly attractive technology that has in recent years graduated from a basic prototyping technology to one capable of producing large volumes of highly intricate part geometries in a wide range of materials. Of particular interest is the ability to produce complex geometries from industry grade metals for use in several fields including aerospace, biomechanics, and mold and die.

ASTM defines three subfamilies of additive manufacturing that are currently able to process metals: direct energy deposition, powder bed fusion, and sheet lamination. These families differ in their setup of feedstock material but all employ a directed energy source such as a laser or electron beam to process it. These laser additive manufacturing processes are characterized by rapid melting and solidification of subsequent layers in a tightly controlled environment.

Due to the repeated melting and solidification of layered material, parts undergo a complex thermal history and present a set of unique thermo-physical and metallurgical challenges. The most common defects seen in the laser additive process are a result of difficulties with maintaining a consistent melt pool caused by insufficient/excessive heat, oxidation, or contamination of the melt pool. The resulting micro-porosity in the build commonly propagates fatigue cracking in finished parts.

May 31 Blog Image 1.jpg 

SEM image of fatigue cracking in stainless steel created by selective laser melting [1]

Introducing a Xiris high dynamic range weld camera during the manufacturing process allows the operator to see exactly what is happening during the laser additive manufacturing process, namely how the laser keyhole and melt pool are interacting with the surrounding material and previous layers. With such a camera, the size, shape, and consistency of the melt pool can be directly observed making critical problems such as an uneven melt pool, unfocused or unsuitable laser power, misalignment of the powder supply, or material powder contamination easy to identify and correct.

By determining the root source of these problems, a better understanding of build failure can be obtained and potential issues can be identified before they continue through the entire production process. This is especially useful for products that contain internal cavities or other features that are difficult to inspect post-build. On average, one quarter of the total time required to complete a laser additive manufacturing build is spent on the post-build inspection. The Xiris weld camera provides increased confidence in the quality of your components and can reduce the need for post-build inspection or destructive testing.

Laser  Additive Manufacturing – Steel – Process Monitoring

For more information on how Xiris Weld Cameras can enhance your laser additive manufacturing processes visit Xiris.com 

You can visit our

 WELD VIDEO LIBRARY

for dozens of examples of the camera in action. 

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

References: [1] Li. R. et al. Densification behavior of gas and water atomized 316L stainless steel powder during selective laser melting. Applied Surface science. 2010. 256(13) pp. 4350-4356. 

Topics: quality control, Xiris, High Dynamic Range, laser additive manufacturing, additive manufacturing, productivity tools

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

The South Dakota School of Mines & Technology Relies on XVC 1000

Posted by Catherine Cline on Tuesday, April 12, 2016 @ 01:00 AM

Recently, Xiris had the pleasure of working with the Additive Manufacturing Laboratory (AML) team at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology.   AML has been using the XVC 1000 camera to assist with its metal additive manufacturing automation process.  AML has used CCD cameras in the past, but according to Joshua Hammell, Research Scientist and AML Lab Manager, “the high dynamic range of the XVC-1000, provides orders of magnitude more information about the process, while removing the need for different optical filters during cold alignment and high temperature processing. This is a major advantage for process automation.” 

The XVC 1000 has been an essential tool for machine and process development, saving the team at AML a great deal of time and money.  The initial plan for the camera was for laboratory use only; however, AML has since decided that the cameras will be integrated into all of its metal additive manufacturing systems for process monitoring during production. 

Details of the current AML process are very confidential but AML has granted us permission to show an older process development video taken with the XVC 1000…

 

For more information on how Xiris Weld Cameras can help with your manufacturing processes, please visit Xiris.com 

Sign up to receive our Weld Video of the Month

Topics: weld camera, welding automation, Education, welding, laser additive manufacturing, additive manufacturing

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