The Xiris Blog

Decrease Injuries, Increase Efficiency and Prioritize Workplace Safety!

Posted by Leanne Sinclair on Tuesday, September 09, 2014 @ 05:28 PM

The construction of large ship vessels is a very complex and hazardous trade. In order to fabricate these large structures, there are various positions and maintenance that needs to be completed for proper assembly. Unfortunately, this increases the risk of accidents. As many shipyards use sub-arc welding, this process involves operators to be suspended high in the air, or exposed to different gases and hazards.

In 2011, two workers were fatally injured on the site of a Singapore shipyard, when a powerful explosion was caused due to the build-up of pressurized air. Fortunately, other team members were inside the nearby building attending a safety briefing when the accident occurred. The explosion shook the entire stretch near Benoi Road, and the loss of the two workers was mourned by various media outlets.  

Sadly, these types of accidents are common in this area of work. The article of this accident is accompanied with a chart that demonstrates that in 2007 14.3% of accidents occurring at shipyards were due to fire and explosions, most commonly associated with welding. The graph below demonstrates a study conducted by the Ministry of Manpower in 2013 of the Workplace Injuries by Industry and Degree of Injury. You will see that Construction, Manufacturing and Marine trades have the highest amount of fatalities and are the most common trades using welding.

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These studies demonstrate the demand for increased safety in all of these trades, specifically shipbuilding. These huge constructions involve a variety of complex conditions and trades that need to be completed with efficiency and reliability. Risking a worker’s life by adding hazardous factors to an already dangerous trade is unnecessary and should be avoided. In order to complete reliable and quality welds, it is important that it is monitored, but this does not mean the operator must be where the weld occurs. With the development of welding cameras, injuries and fatalities in this industry can be largely reduced.

Systems such as the Xiris XVC-S Weld Camera for Sub Arc Welding can be added to conditions commonly seen in shipyards. This small addition could have large benefits, and large decreases in the high number of injuries and deaths seen in this prominent trade. It allows welds to be monitored consistently, from a safe distance, which would increase worker safety and efficiency.

 

Is your shipyard safe? Are your welds consistent and the best quality you can provide? Can you risk any more lost product, lost time, or employee safety?

To learn more about how Xiris Weld Cameras can benefit your business, please visit our website.

Topics: weld camera, weld inspection, weld environment, weld safety, Sub Arc welding, safety, camera, weld allignment, visibility, accident, fatal, death

Bring Welding Education into the 21st Century with Weld Cameras!

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, August 05, 2014 @ 04:28 PM

One of the biggest problems instructors face when teaching welding students is demonstrating proper welding techniques in a way that all students can see them.  The traditional solution has been to repeat the demonstration over and over to small groups of students so that everyone can see and understand what is going on.  This causes instructors to battle time pressure to perform all the required welding demonstrations within the limited number of class hours available.  Another problem with this solution is that students may not all see the same issues, or get the same level of explanation.  But that was with the traditional solution, and the 21st century brings better solutions for such issues.

NAIT Installed side

An example of the Xiris XVC-O View Camera, installed at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT)

Today, progressive welding educators do not need to face these century old issues.  By implementing a weld camera that can view the huge range of brightness present in an open arc welding environment (including the weld arc and its darker surrounding background), welding schools and colleges can provide their students with a clear view of the weld process. This allows instructors to explain and demonstrate what is really happening with the weld arc, as well as its immediate environment (such as the weld seam, weld pool, shielding gas, wire feed and other inputs).  Furthermore, this allows students to receive the same demonstrations and explanations of one weld, and provides a more consistent teaching method for welding educators.

By using a camera that can generate a clear view of the weld parameters, educators can get better use of their facilities as they can train more students in less time. They can also eliminate space restrictions of larger classes, enhance students’ basic understanding of the welding process, and enhance their school’s reputation amongst prospective students with the addition of small but evolutionary camera.

For the students, the implementation of a welding camera can create a more enjoyable learning experience, requiring less time to gain the skills needed, and raise the perception of welding as an advanced trade and skill. 

By using a weld camera, educators can create new ways to deliver education, such as recording videos of good quality welds for off-line review by students. These videos can also be used for marking or testing purposes, and the implementation of 21st century learning technique: online learning of welding processes!

For more information about our educator packages, prices and offers, please visit our website or contact us directly at sales@xiris.com

Topics: weld camera, weld environment, welding instruction, Education

How to Get the Best View of an Open Arc Weld

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, July 17, 2014 @ 06:00 PM

Attaining a good image of a weld and the surrounding background has been a struggle ever since video cameras for welding became available.  The problem has always been the range of brightness that occurs during welding: the ratio between the maximum and minimum light intensity is usually too great for a standard camera to measure properly.  Standard cameras on the market today can typically measure about 1,000 levels of brightness between the maximum and minimum light levels in an image.  However, in a typical open arc welding environment, there is a brightness range that can exceed 10,000,000 levels of brightness between the brightest portion of the welding arc, and the darker areas surrounding the weld.  Using a standard camera to image such a weld will create an image similar to the image below on the left, where the camera sensor will image the scene up to a point and then saturate when it gets too bright. This causes the bright areas of the image to appear as a white blur.

 

To solve this problem, Xiris Automation has developed the XVC-O View Camera that uses advanced electronics with logarithmic sensitivity to be able to see more than 10,000,000 levels of brightness in an image.  As a result, more image detail is visible than ever seen before. The detail of the weld arc, the shielding gas, weld pool, torch tip, and weld seam can all clearly be seen.  The image below on the right is an image taken from the XVC-O camera of an open arc welding process. The weld arc is no longer saturated and is clearly visible as is the detail of the background, providing better quality information for the weld operator.

 

GOOOOOOD resized 600       Standard Camera Image of a Weld                      Xiris XVC-O Camera Image of a Weld

With the ability to see more detail of the weld arc and the surrounding environment, welding technicians are able to use the XVC-O to better control their welding processes through better quality assurance and process feedback. 

To see examples of the video quality possible with the XVC-O across a variety of welding processes and materials, please see our Weld Video Library here.

 

Topics: weld camera, weld inspection, Laser welding, welding automation, weld environment, Machine Vision, image processing, Education, Welding Process, weld video, Xiris, image contrast

How System Integrators Use Xiris Weld Cameras in Automation

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 03:15 PM

Systems integrators who build automated welding processes are always searching for improved business models. There are thousands of small and medium sized automation system integrators around the world that are experts in the industry. This challenges each company to differentiate themselves from their competition, and do so by providing a unique value proposition to their customers.

One of the best ways to gain this competitive advantage is for system integrators to leverage rapidly evolving technology. By applying it to their customer’s welding automation solutions this allows companies to capitalize on an evolving technology, with the goal of improving profitability and efficiency.

An emerging technology that many systems integrators are considering is the use of cameras for monitoring the welding process.  While cameras have been used to monitor welding for years, it is only recently that cameras, such as the Xiris XVC-O Open Arc Weld Camera, have provided enough image clarity that system integrators have considered them a useful tool to provide to customers. 

welding line resized 600

 

Many system integrators face the same challenge:  how to build a system to keep operators from having to be in direct proximity of the automated cell in order to monitor the weld.  Most fabricator customers are increasingly dissatisfied with automated welding solutions that don’t permit operators to monitor the weld remotely.  By providing a camera to monitor the welding process, systems integrators can provide their customers with a valuable production tool.

Adding a camera system to a work cell can help increase welding automation business that might not otherwise be gained by a systems integrator. By removing the operator from the immediate work area of the welding environment there are immense benefits to the customer that would increase demand for a system integrator. For example, instead of multiple operators assigned to multiple production lines to manage rollers, material handling, and welding processes, customers benefit from having one operator per line at one control panel managing it all, increasing productivity, quality and reducing human error.

By introducing weld cameras into automated welding work cells, systems integrators can achieve an abundance of benefits. They will be able to differentiate themselves in the market, expand into new market sectors, improve technical competency, as well as improve the functional excellence of the overall product offering.

Topics: remote monitoring, quality control, weld camera, welding automation, weld environment, Machine Vision, camera placement, field of view, Welding Process, Xiris

How to Remotely View Your Weld Process

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 @ 10:06 AM

Ever since the development of automated welding, operators have needed to be able to monitor the welding process to ensure that all parameters are properly adjusted, that the welding head is properly aligned with the weld seam and work pieces, and that the weld pool, weld bead, and other features are all formed correctly. 

For this, fabricators have long relied on operators to directly view the process using welding helmets and protective screens, which contain a dark green filter to remove most of the harmful content of the radiation coming from a welding arc.

However, with recent advances in electronics, cameras such as the Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera have become equipped with High Dynamic Range imaging capability.  Such cameras can capture images from a weld process across a huge range of brightness, including the bright areas of the weld arc and the darker areas of the background areas around the weld.  With such clarity of image, operators are now able to monitor the cameras from afar rather than having to be close to the welding process.

 

There is Remote Imaging……

So, with such camera technology, how remote do the operators want to be to view their weld process?  Imagine some applications such as ship building, nuclear power plants or large pressure vessels where placing an operator near the welding process is both dangerous and difficult.  In such situations, the farther away the operator can be and still monitor the welding process, the better.

Properly designed electronics allow for a robust image to be transmitted from a camera on an automated welding cell to a display up to 40 m (132 ft) away from the camera.  That allows for the operator to be safely removed from the weld process while still being able to see what is going on.

 

Blog 140311 Remote monitoring resized 600 

Monitoring the Weld From Your Desk

 

….And Then There is Really, Really Remote Imaging….

Sometimes an automated welding cell has been installed in a location where all the stakeholders are not able to see it and monitor it.  Production managers, engineers and senior management may all want to occasionally monitor a critical welding process even though they are on the other side of the world! 

Blog 140311 Remote monitoring 2  

How to do it?  Camera cable lengths have their limits!  The solution is to make the camera system IP addressable so that the video images can be visible anywhere an internet connection can be found.  Xiris has implemented IP addressability on certain models of its XVC-O Weld Cameras so that customers can view the welding process very, very remotely!

 

Conclusion

Whether you want to be a short distance away from the welding process, or on the opposite side of the world, there is a way to be able to see what is going on with your welding process as long as you use the right type of camera equipment for monitoring the welding process, such as the Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera system.

  

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

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Topics: remote monitoring, quality control, weld camera, welding automation, weld environment, Machine Vision, image processing, Welding Process, High Dynamic Range

Using a Weld Camera for High-Temperature Pipe Cladding

Posted by Cameron Serles on Friday, November 29, 2013 @ 04:43 PM

For certain types of pipe cladding operations, fabricators have to preheat the parent metal in order to achieve better cohesion between the cladding and the base pipe material.

With inside-diameter (ID) cladding, this heating means that the inside of the pipe becomes too hot—often well over 500° F (260°C)—for direct monitoring of the cladding application by the operator. The space inside the pipe is also often limited, with pipes as small as 4 inches commonly requiring in ID cladding.

The XVC-O Weld Camera can provide remote weld monitoring in extremely hot weld environments.A Weld Camera is the ideal solution for monitoring ID cladding because it can fit in a narrow pipe and provide an image that can be viewed remotely by the operator. If the Weld Camera is equipped with High Dynamic Range imaging technology —an essential feature for advanced Weld Cameras—it can provide operators with real-time, high-quality images of the weld process characteristics.

But the extreme heat present in the pipe also presents a challenge for Weld Cameras. To withstand the high temperatures often found in ID cladding, Weld Cameras need special design considerations to prevent overheating.

To meet this challenge, Xiris has engineered a cooling kit that consists of a cool-air generator and a thermal blanket enclosing the camera and cables. We tested the Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera inside this kit, exposed to over 300° C  (approximately 600° F) for  the better part of a day—and the XVC-O kept its temperature at about 30° C  (86° F), well within safe operating range of the camera.

This cooling kit enables fabricators to use the XVC-O to view welding processes such as high-temperature ID cladding to make necessary in-process adjustments, when it would otherwise be impossible to sufficiently monitor the weld quality. In ID cladding, the cooling kit is key to unlocking the benefits of the XVC-O and its High Dynamic Range imaging technology.

Conclusion

Weld Cameras with High Dynamic Range imaging can provide operators with a clear, high-detail view of weld features so they can use their experience and judgment to make cost-saving, quality-enhancing adjustments. But in ID pipe cladding or any other welding application in a high-temperature environment (e.g., oil and gas operations, nuclear power plants), Weld Cameras need a special cooling solution to keep the camera within safe operating temperature.

Xiris has developed such a solution for its XVC-O Weld Camera, allowing it to be installed in a diverse range of welding applications. 

 

Image courtesy of Kilom691, Creative Commons.

Topics: camera selection, weld camera, weld environment, High Dynamic Range, Tube and Pipe welding