The Xiris Blog

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

Taking the Danger Out of Weld Monitoring

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, July 08, 2014 @ 06:10 PM

Xiris recently received a call from a prospective client asking about our XVC-S Submerged Arc View camera and how it worked. They had two main questions: Can two cameras be monitored simultaneously? And can their images be recorded?

After a short conversation with the customer, the reason for the request became clear. The customer was welding tanks with the Submerged Arc welding process, and they had a problem. They operate two sub arc welding heads, approximately 13’ apart, both of which need to be monitored for weld process quality.  Their present monitoring solution used an operator sitting in a chair mounted to a ladder.  The operator would move from one head to the other during the welding process in order to be able to see what was going on with both heads.  During one of these shifts, an operator fell, and was injured.  The customer’s initial solution was to replace the chair and ladder with a man lift to allow the operator to move between the weld heads, and welding controls when adjustments were required.  But it still was not an ideal situation.

Instead, the customer wanted the operator to remain on the floor with the welding controls, monitor both welding heads, and perform the adjustments from there.  The standard XVC-S View Camera system was designed for one primary camera, but has recently been updated.  

 

7720 062 resized 600

The updated XVC-S+ system with multiple camera heads.

The XVC-S+ system, which comes complete with computer and HMI console allows for two cameras to connect to the console, and be displayed on a single screen in a split screen view.  With this system, the operator is able to monitor both welding head images side by side on a single screen.  With features such as adjustable crosshairs and targets on the screen, the operator is able to make continuous adjustments to the weld heads from a safe, remote operating location.

The images can be saved to the hard drive on the computer for off line viewing, review and analysis, allowing the customer to use the video segments for training, off line quality audits, and process troubleshooting.

In conclusion, a previously unsafe and inefficient welding environment resulted in injury and poor productivity. These problems were resolved with the addition of on system, the XVC-S+ Sub Arc View camera system including two cameras and split screen display capability.  

Topics: weld camera, weld inspection, Welding Process, weld video, welding, weld safety

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.

teach paper resized 600

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

Labelling Your Weld Videos with Production Weld Data

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, May 06, 2014 @ 04:06 PM

A Weld Camera used for remotely viewing welding processes can become an even more powerful in-line monitoring tool with the addition of real-time annotation of production data into the recorded video.  

When connected to a welding power supply, a Weld Camera system such as the Xiris XVC-O can acquire production data and write it to the exact video frames when it is acquired.  By synchronizing the writing of the actual weld power supply data to the video frame with the physical image of what is happening with the weld, operating personnel are able to perform more detailed analyses of recorded welding parameters during welding or after the weld is completed.

Annotating Weld Videos

 

The integrity of every weld can be ensured when the weld video is recorded with annotated data, such as the following:

  • Weld power profiles (welding voltage, current, conductance)

  • Pulse Mode, Frequency

  • Type of Welding

  • Material

  • Travel Speed

  • Force and displacement profiles

  • Time and Date Stamp

When it is enabled, the XVC-O View Camera can automatically embed a label into the bottom of the recorded video with multiple sets of information sent to it from the welding power supply.  During the welding process, welding anomalies can be seen as they occur to stop and fix the process.  After the weld, any anomaly in the weld process can be reviewed in the recorded video to see exactly at what level the system parameters were set when an observed problem took place.  

The net result is that the operator is able to maximize the amount of information the recorded weld video provides with simultaneous image and data recording.

Benefits:

  • Make more informed quality control decisions.

  • Improve your welding processes by discovering what parameters make good and bad welds.

  • Rapidly determine the optimum power settings to use to get the best quality welds.

  • Troubleshoot set-up problems and machine malfunctions immediately.

  • Provides empirical information matched to a video log about the welding process.

 

Conclusion

If weld quality is of utmost importance, the use of recorded weld videos with labelling helps to ensure your welds are in-process, stable and repeatable.


Topics: remote monitoring, weld camera, image processing, Welding Process, weld video

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