The Xiris Blog

Monitoring Tube and Pipe Production to Find the TOE ANGLE

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, September 02, 2014 @ 04:30 PM

 Recent advancements in machine vision technology have made a new type of inspection, capable of finding defects related to the forming and welding area of a tube or pipe.  The result is improved quality assurance and process control on the production line.  The new inspection device is a laser-based triangulation system that measures the outside contour of a tube or pipe in the vicinity of its weld. 

Typically NDT (non-destructive testing) systems are placed at the end of a production as a final check.  However, the laser inspection system can be placed directly after the weld box.  This system can let operators know what is changing in their welding process, allowing them to perform corrective action before significant scrap occurs. This capacity is especially helpful for a closely monitored measurement on ERW/HFI production mills:  the Toe Angle.

The Bead Slop Angle

The Left and Right Bead Slope Angles are measured in degrees at either edge of the weld bead, and represent the angle subtended by a line that follows the contour of the weld bead on either side and a horizontal line.  Also referred to as the Toe Angle, it can indicate the strength of the weld, and the correct forming of the parent material during the creation of the weld, particularly on an ERW/HF process.  A forming problem could be detected because of a larger or smaller than normal slope angle.  It is important to measure both the left and right slope angles separately. This is because the forming of the parent material could be asymmetric on a pipe mill, causing the slope angles to be different on either side of the weld bead, and thereby indicating a forming problem.

als;kdgjdsa;lghfdag resized 600The Bead Slope Angle or Toe Angle, measured in degrees from the horizontal.

 

How the WI2000p System Measures the Bead Slope, or Toe Angle

Xiris Automation Inc. has developed a non-destructive inspection system called the WI2000p Weld Inspection System. The WI2000p includes a laser line, and a camera with an optical axis that is offset to the axis of the laser line by an “offset angle”.  The WI2000p creates a visible cross-section of the tube by projecting the laser line on to the tube, and capturing an image of the line using the camera.  The resulting image shows a profile of the tube surface as if it were cut in cross section.  If a tube is the ideal round, the laser image will represent a section of an ellipse and any anomaly such as the bead can be mathematically detected and the bead slope, measured. 

The WI2000p bases all of its measurements on the differences between the actual laser profile line (seen by the camera), and the ideal mathematical profile based on the tube parameters.  By knowing the position of the actual laser profile, the ideal profile, and the size of the pixels in the image, the WI2000p can detect weld bead profile defects that often escape detection by other quality tools such as Eddy Current testing, or Ultrasonic Testing techniques.

Conclusion

Overall, laser-based 3D imaging systems, such as the WI2000p from Xiris, offer an excellent measurement option for tube mill owners/operators who want additional, real-time monitoring of weld features. They can be used in a proactive manner, warning operators what is changing in their welding process so that they can perform corrective action before significant scrap occurs. Laser--based 3D imaging systems can operate on any type of material, regardless of its reflectance or magnetic properties, using a single head to perform the measurement.

Topics: camera placement, welding instruction, Tube and Pipe welding, bead height, bead roll

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 environment, welding instruction, weld camera, Education

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

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.

 Blog 141212 students resized 600

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. 

 Blog 141212 xiris resized 600

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

Using Technology to Recruit the Best Young Welders

Posted by Cameron Serles on Wednesday, July 17, 2013 @ 03:04 PM

The welding industry, like virtually all manufacturing industries, is facing a sweeping change in its workforce.

The oldest Baby Boomers turned 65 in 2011, and considering the huge size of this cohort (e.g., 26 percent of the U.S. population), the consequence is obvious—there’s going to be a large exodus of experienced welders and welding operators leaving to enjoy their retirement.

Baby Boomer welders will be retiring en masse.

Advances in automated welding technology can partially offset the loss of the Baby Boomers because fewer operators are needed per workload with automated equipment. But the problem for manufacturers is that welding is perceived among those preparing to enter the workforce as a dirty, dangerous, uncomfortable, low-tech, and relatively low-paying occupation. This perception is causing a shortage of young people entering into welding —even taking into account that some of the jobs are being replaced by automated processes.

This shortage poses a considerable risk for manufacturers, but also an opportunity. Being able to recruit the top talent from this limited labor pool can become a significant competitive advantage.

The Old-School Operator

For manufacturers, the first step in attracting new talent is realizing that they won’t be like the Baby Boomers.

“Old-school” operators probably don’t have a fancy degree or diploma in welding engineering or technology. When they entered the workforce, they were probably hoping to get on with a good company and work there until they retired. They likely picked up the trade as an apprentice, or perhaps in the military. There’s a good chance they started in manual welding and were trained on-the-job to operate and monitor automated welding robots.

The recruiting techniques that worked on these Baby Boomers aren’t the same approaches that will attract the best new talent.

The New Breed

The job of being a welder or welding operator is changing as technology progresses, but manufacturers need to be sure to highlight this change in their recruiting.

Young welders will place high value on learning new skills.

It’s true that your ability to attract good young talent will be tied to perceptions of the welding industry as a whole, but your company can distinguish itself by the type of equipment you have, how much technology is incorporated into your welding process, and how you use this technology. Your attractiveness to the best people who do decide to take up the occupation—meaning people who are smart, ambitious, hard-working, and eager to learn—will largely depend on how well they perceive your company in the following areas:

  • Prospect of career advancement.  Many people who are choosing to enter welding are receiving training at vocational schools, community colleges, and private welding schools. They are seeking a career that rewards them financially for learning specialized technical skills. By providing the latest automated welding technology—such as automated welding cells with Weld Cameras —your company will be seen as a place where they can continue to learn new skills and make themselves more marketable. Very few people entering the workforce now expect to work for the same company their entire career, so the opportunity to increase marketability of their skill set is a high priority.
  • The chance to work with exciting technology. Generation Y and Millennial workers have never experienced a world where computers weren’t part of their everyday life. To them, a job that doesn’t involve the use of technology is decidedly “un-modern.” Therefore, manufacturers that embrace cutting-edge automated welding technology, including computer applications such as Weld Cameras with image processing software, will be more appealing to the young workforce.
  • Working conditions. Advancements in Weld Camera technology have made it possible for operators to remotely monitor an automated welding process with better visibility than is typically possible any other way. This is an important way to free up the operators from the risky, unhealthy, and sometimes very uncomfortable working environment of welding that has traditionally been a daily drudgery.

Conclusion

Finding good welding operators is likely to become more challenging industry-wide, but progressive manufacturers can position themselves to get the best talent by changing the perception—and the reality—of the job from “old-school” to modern with the adoption of progressive automated welding technology such as Weld Cameras.

 

Top photo courtesy of Dave and Margie Hill/Kleerup, The Consortium. Lower photo courtesy of KOMUnews.

Topics: welding automation, welding instruction, labor market

Why Video Recording of Welding Processes Is Useful

Posted by Cameron Serles on Wednesday, July 03, 2013 @ 02:55 PM

With advanced camera design and image-processing technology, the latest Weld Cameras can provide manufacturers with a valuable video record of their automated welding processes.

Video image from Xiris XVC-O Weld CameraThe latest technology in camera design makes possible High Dynamic Range imaging, which means the displayed and recorded video will have good detail of both the super-bright region of the open arc and the darker area of the surrounding environment.

While the ability to display better quality images is key to improving productivity during set up and run time, the capability to record and play back high-quality video of live weld scenes is useful to fabricators in several important ways.

Troubleshooting

The video record is a time-based log of the welding process that can be used to quickly pinpoint the cause of defective welds, allowing the problem to be corrected before it becomes a costly, recurring issue.

Less Final-Inspection Cost

Because the video enables precise detection of where a process went wrong and is precisely timed, only that portion of the weld where a defect is detected in the reviewed video requires a final inspection.  

Continuous Improvement

Auditing the videos offline, fabricators can verify their welding processes and assure quality to both internal and external stakeholders, while identifying opportunities to improve quality and efficiency.

Training

Trainees can learn from videos of both successful and problematic welds by being able to see all the critical aspects of the process on a display screen away from the welding process. There’s no need to crowd around an actual weld to see crucial details such as the torch tip, material flow, melt pool, edge presentation, keyhole, seam, gas barrier, and weld undercut.

After class, trainees have the benefit of being able to watch the video at their own convenience to get the full lesson.

Using a Weld Camera with High Dynamic Range imaging for operator training also helps familiarize trainees with this important new technology—knowledge that will them maximize the value of its use.

Conclusion

Weld Cameras with High Dynamic Range imaging, such as the Xiris XVC-O, are capable of producing a video record of automated welding that can help fabricators lower costs, improve processes, and better train operators.

Topics: welding automation, welding instruction, quality control, weld camera

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