The Xiris Blog

Using Cameras When Welding Spiral Pipe Part 3: Post Weld Inspection

Posted by Cornelius Sawatzky on Monday, December 04, 2017 @ 03:16 PM

Following sub arc welding on the inside and outside of a helically welded pipe, the pipe must undergo inspection to be prepared for further processing or service in the field. This preparation step includes rigorous inspection and testing procedures, repair of defects, and application of anti-corrosion coatings before the pipe enters service.

 

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Post-weld Scarfing in helical sub arc welding

Traditionally, post-weld inspection is done manually by an operator who walks around the exterior of the pipe or crawls through it as part of an offline process. The operator is responsible for identifying any weld undercut, incorrect weld wetting angles, or insufficient or excessive weld bead material from the process.  It is not only time consuming, but it relies on the operator to be consistent to be able to catch all defects in the product.

A better solution is to use automatic inspection equipment such as the Xiris WI3000 weld inspection system, which can profile the entire weld bead after the flux has been removed or fallen away to detect problems sooner in the process.  Usually used as an inline inspection tool post-weld, the WI3000 can also be used to provide the operator with feedback to make corrections reducing additional defects while marking the location of a defect to expedite the repair process.

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Laser Bead Profile of a Weld Bead with a Too Steep Slope on the Right Side of the Bead

Information from the laser sensor is transmitted to a single image-processing system, allowing the operator to identify and control the welding parameters.   The end result is a better, more objective measurement of the weld bead inspection process in advance of use of the pipe in the field.

Xiris Automation offers a full suite of products for your helical sub arc welding (HSAW) process. From the control and quality assurance of the initial forming and tacking stage by the XVC-1000, through the remote monitoring of process parameters during full-seam sub arc welding by the XVC-S, and the post-welding and post-scarfing inspection by the WI-3000, Xiris provides operators with the tools they need to prepare the highest-quality products they can.

To learn more about how Xiris Automation’s full suite of turnkey solutions can improve the quality and yield of your HSAW manufacturing process, contact one of our technical specialists today.

 

Topics: High Dynamic Range, Tube and Pipe welding, submerged arc welding

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

Using Cameras When Welding Spiral Pipe Part 2: Helical Sub Arc Welding

Posted by Peter Serles on Tuesday, October 03, 2017 @ 08:15 AM

One-step Helical (or Spiral) Submerged Arc Welding (HSAW) processes do not use GMAW/GTAW systems to tack the material into pipe form like two- step processes, but rather perform full inner welds using a sub arc welder during the initial forming stage.

This one-step process is advantageous in that it requires less equipment, and therefore less shop floor space, but it results in significantly lower processing speeds compared to the two-step process.

Both one- and two-step HSAW processes use dual-system submerged arc welding with flux recovery systems to perform the complete welds, with a preliminary weld on the inner diameter and a secondary weld on the outer diameter. Using two HSAW systems in parallel allows the weld penetration depths to meet, providing a strong weld in wall thicknesses as large as 1”.

cross-section-dual-sub-arc-welded-seam.pngCross section of Dual Sub Arc Welded Seam [1]

The quality of these welds is paramount to the success of the pipe. With applications in the transportation of oil, natural gas, water, and other flammable and nonflammable liquids, a small defect in the weld seam affects not only the density of the weld—causing higher risk of leaks—but also becomes a major point of corrosion-induced wear. Porosity, thermal cracking, undercut, and insufficient penetration are all critical defects caused by relatively common circumstances during the submerged arc welding process.

Detecting Defects Sooner With HDR Weld Cameras
Various standards organizations such as the American Society of Testing and Materials or the American Water Works Association prescribe hydrostatic testing to 2800 psi / 193 bar, as well as ultrasonic or radiography testing, to ensure the quality of the weld seam for its service life. But these tests determine the quality of the seam in a retroactive way, after the defects have already propagated throughout the tube.

The Xiris Weld Camera for Sub Arc applications, the XVC-S, is an affordable turnkey solution for monitoring the sub arc welding process. The XVC-S features an out-of-the box solution with integrated lighting, graphical-overlay-producing crosshairs, and a rugged housing suitable for the welding environment.

With on-screen monitoring tools, operators can easily identify and correct any deviations from standard operating procedures, including insufficient flux supply, misalignment of the torch or seam, and damage to the weld tip. The remote viewing monitor can display multiple processes, allowing a single operator to monitor the quality of the inner and outer sub arc welding processes simultaneously.

operator-remote-monitoring-sub-arc-welding-process.jpgOperator remotely monitoring a sub arc welding process

The small size of the XVC-S camera allows it to be easily integrated into an existing sub arc welding mount and the high-voltage and high-temperature resistant design, combined with the built-in solid-state lighting, allows high-quality images to be produced even in the harshest environments. By ensuring the quality of the weld during the sub arc welding process itself, defects can be caught sooner and corrected before the quality of the entire pipe length is compromised—saving time, money, and resources to provide an overall more-efficient process.

[1] RIBEIRO, Anderson Clayton Nascimento; HENEIN, Hani; IVEY, Douglas G. and BRANDI, Sergio Duarte. Evaluation of AH36 microalloyed steel welded joint by submerged arc welding process with one and two wires. Mat. Res. [online]. 2016, vol.19, n.1 [cited 2017-06-22], pp.143-152.

Topics: High Dynamic Range, Tube and Pipe welding, submerged arc welding

Video: The solar eclipse seen through a weld camera!

Posted by Mike Lundy on Thursday, August 31, 2017 @ 01:02 PM

The day of the recent solar eclipse was a fun one for us at Xiris. It was also a chance to show off the High Dynamic Range (HDR) capabilities of our weld cameras.

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One of the great advantages of state-of-the-art HDR cameras is their ability to capture both the super-bright light produced by a weld torch and the important detail in the surrounding dark background, and we realized that capability would give us an excellent view of the eclipse. All we had to do was take a camera out of the box and aim it—no special filters needed to view the breathtaking sight.

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We set up outside of our office and started watching high-contrast images (about 140 dB of signal range) of the event on a monitor hooked up to our XVC-1100 camera. We all enjoyed the show, and before long, so were folks from surrounding offices, who made their way over to view with us. We even had the pleasure of a visit from Pam Damoff, a Member of Parliament from the Oakville North - Burlington district, who appreciated the chance to see what a Xiris camera can do.

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It was a perfect opportunity to illustrate the power of High Dynamic Range imaging. It was also a nice break from the normal office routine!

To see for yourself how we set up and the high level of light/dark contrast we were able to capture, take a look at this short video.

 

Topics: weld camera, High Dynamic Range

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

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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

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