The Xiris Blog

Post-Secondary Schools Increase Trade Resources and Improve Student Experience

Posted by Cornelius Sawatzky on Wednesday, July 02, 2014 @ 04:16 PM

Technical trade schools and welding education programs are not new to post-secondary institutions, but as organizations see an increase in admissions, there is also a noticable increase in demand for equipment. This is not only to appease the quantity of new students, but also to ensure safety and efficiency in the curriculums. The most appealing program to a student will have experienced and knowledgeable professors, interesting and extensive material, as well as modern equipment. However, even with all of these tools there are still some major factors that all of these institutions face:

  • The booths to demonstrate and instruct welding are too small for more than just a few students at a time
  • The instruction area has inadequate space for the number of students registered in the program
  • The welding consumables budget is insufficient and will not cover the cost for new equipment

When instructing such a unique trade, it is important that students not only understand what is being taught, but can see the demonstration. Being able to see and understand what is occurring with a weld tip and arc, as well as the environment around it (weld seam, weld pool, shielding gas, and wire feed) are all essential elements to understanding the welding process. Without a grasp on these elements and factors, there is little that can be retained by the student. This is all based on a visual demonstration that can be hard to provide in many welding institution settings.

As technology and equipment advance, the ability to record lessons and welds adds an immense benefit to both students and instructors. Students can learn more outside of the classroom, as well as retain and digest all of the important elements of the lesson using video playback. This can be provided through the addition of weld cameras.

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Not any camera can be placed in such a hostile environment, and expected to function normally. Therefore, more research and development has been contributed to constructing a small, clear, and functional camera that can withstand this environment, and provide the best image quality. Xiris Automation Inc. has created such a camera, called the XVC-O (Xiris View Camera for Open Arc Welding). This allows video recording, clear images, storing/saving capabilities, as well as better classroom visuals for welding programs. This live weld feed can be attached to a simple monitor (as demonstrated above), or even a full size projector, and still provide a clear, comprehensive view of all elements. Xiris has also developed a version for submerged arc welding.

Local colleges, such as Conestoga College, have added this kind of technology to their budding trades programs. As the Government of Canada announced this May, they are investing $2.3 million over the next five years towards Conestoga College’s new Centre for Smart Manufacturing establishment. Already using the XVC-O, these improvements have allowed Conestoga to become an extremely competitive College in the area, and one of the most competitive for the welding trade school industry. Other institutions, such as NAIT (Northern Alberta Institute of Technology) have also added systems to their curriculum and have noticed great improvements. NAIT’s Chair of Welding Programs, Chris Manning says “by displaying the captured welding video on a remote screen, the instructors can vastly improve the learning experience of their students, with improved learning success, which is always the instructor’s goal”.

For more information about how welding cameras can assist welding education please visit www.xiris.com.

 

Topics: quality control, weld camera, weld camera, weld inspection, Machine Vision, camera placement, field of view, welding instruction, Education, Welding Process, weld video, Xiris, welding, Conestoga College, NAIT

Using a Weld Camera to Monitor Tandem MIG Welding

Posted by Cameron Serles on Monday, February 24, 2014 @ 02:01 PM

Tandem MIG/MAG welding is a beneficial material processing application for many fabricators because it can weld at higher speed with higher deposition rates than traditional single wire MIG/MAG processes, while reducing heat input and improving weld penetration on thicker materials.  But it also demands a level of precision that necessitates detailed, real-time monitoring of the weld process.

Advanced Weld Cameras can provide this level of monitoring, allowing fabricators to gain the advantages of the Tandem MIG/MAG process without any sacrifice in productivity or quality. In fact, Weld Cameras with High Dynamic Range imaging can improve output and quality control.

The Tandem (or Twin) MIG/MAG Welding Process

In a Tandem MIG/MAG welding process, two wires are continuously fed through a special welding torch and are consumed to form a single weld puddle.  The first or leading wire controls the deposition rate and penetration.  The second or trailing wire controls the weld bead appearance.  The wires are controlled independently through separate power supplies and/or waveforms to achieve different results. 

Typical applications of tandem MIG/MAG welding include automotive, construction, shipbuilding, pressure vessel welding aluminum, steel and other materials. Weld overlays have also been deposited using this technique.

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Tandem MIG/MAG Weld Process

(courtesy Fronius AG)

 

Why use a Weld Camera?

Tandem MIG/MAG welding can only be used for automated welding processes because of the accuracy required in positioning the bulky torch and the limited accessibility for direct viewing of the weld process that it offers.  A weld camera is therefore an essential productivity aid to allow operators to monitor the quality of the weld process and its surrounding environment, including:

 - Ensuring that the welding torch is suitably rigid and following the seam properly

 - Ensure that safe and consistent wire feed does not compromise the high speed advantages of the tandem process

 - Ensure that consistent welding conditions are maintained to obtain a smooth weld bead.

 - Ensure that a minimum weld pool size is maintained to provide proper wetting of the bead

 - Ensure that the power supplies of the two different wires are functioning correctly to create the best quality molten weld pool.

 - Monitor the completed weld bead for indications of a good tandem weld process:  clean seam surfaces, flush weld toes, and minimal welding spatter

 

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View of a Tandem MIG Process Using a Xiris Weld Camera

 

Conclusion:

Integrating Weld Cameras into a Tandem MIG/MAG welding process is essential to creating a high-quality, high-speed, state-of-the-art welding cell.  Fabricators can gain a competitive advantage by being able to better monitor the high speed welding process, providing better process control.  The net result is that they can leverage their investment in a Tandem MIG/MAG process to achieve better results.

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Topics: quality control, weld camera, field of view, Education, Welding Process, High Dynamic Range, MIG/MAG

Better Images, Better Instruction, Better Welding Students!

Posted by Cameron Serles on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 @ 03:50 PM

Training a new group of welding students can have a number of challenges for even the best instructors: getting all the students around the weld head to be able to see what is going on; a limited number of hours the instructor has available for actually performing the welding; how to see all the features of the weld arc as well as the background information, and how to make sure that all students are marked fairly and objectively. 

When educating welding students, providing them with the ability to view the detail of the weld tip as well as the environment around the weld tip (such as the weld seam and weld pool) is important for them to learn all the parameters of the welding process.  To overcome the visual monitoring challenges created by the presence of a very bright light source (the weld arc), as well as dark areas in the image (the background around the weld tip), a camera with a wide dynamic range of imaging is required.  Reliable visualization of the environment around the weld tip is necessary to control and adjust the welding process found on most modern welding processes.  In addition, the ability to record video and play it back to the students can provide multiple benefits for teaching and correcting welding techniques.

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Image courtesy of Casper College

They Can’t All See the Details…. 

New developments in electronics has led to the creation of a new type of camera that is able to accommodate the full range of light present at a weld head during welding, allowing welding to be taught in a way it has never been taught before!

By providing a good quality image of the weld tip and background, welding instructors and their students can remotely monitor a weld demonstration and record the results for off-line feedback.  By using a camera to view the weld demonstration, the students can verify that the tip is in position and that all the welding inputs (welding wire, shielding gas, etc.) are being properly fed.  Because the area around the weld demonstration is typically quite congested for class sizes more than a few students, using a camera mounted at the welding tip allows the students to clearly view the welding process remotely.  The video can also be replayed back, off-line in the classroom for instruction, marking or review purposes. 

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The Solution: a Xiris XVC-O View Camera for Teaching Welding

 Conclusion

Using a View Cameras in the classroom to teach welding results in:

  • —  A more Enjoyable Learning Experience for the Students
  • —  Less Time Required to Achieve Results
  • —  Reduced Material Consumption
  • —  A Video Library of Standard Applications for Review / Consulting / Analysis
  • —  Easier to Explain New Welding Techniques
  • —  Better Support for Students’ Technical Projects
  • —  Research Tool

Join the growing number of Welding Educational Institutions who have added a Xiris XVC-O View Camera to their classrooms. Improve welding instruction and achieve the numerous benefits!

To read educator's personal testimonials below

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For more information on how Xiris Weld Cameras can augment your welding education program, please visit Xiris.com 

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Topics: remote monitoring, weld camera, weld inspection, Laser welding, Machine Vision, image processing, field of view, welding instruction, Education, High Dynamic Range, laser-based monitoring, image contrast

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