The Xiris Blog

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

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

Case Study: Cinter S.A. - Tube Weld Inspection

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, April 15, 2014 @ 02:36 PM

Selling over great distances is never easy.  Even if the customer knows about you, often equipment needs to be demonstrated to plant personnel before a decision can be made.

That was the case when Cinter S.A. of Montevideo, Uruguay contacted Xiris with a problem.  They had several stainless steel tube mills that were being laser welded and they had abnormally high scrap rates.  They had tried many different improvements on their mills to bring the scrap rate down, with limited success.  They searched the market for a solution, contacting Xiris to see if the WI2000p Weld Inspection system would help them solve some of their quality issues.

 

But first they wanted to see a demonstration……

 

So, we packed up a system and shipped it to Uruguay, following on a promise by the customer that if the system meets their needs, they will buy it outright.  A long flight to Montevideo was booked and the passage made.  A system was installed on a Laser tube mill that would normally make stainless steel tubing with 50-100 mm diameter tubes.  Within hours, the customer was able to notice a number of benefits:

 Weld Inspection on Laser Mill

 

Benefit #1: Faster Set Up

The first thing they noticed was how much faster it was to set up their mill after a changeover.  Once the mill had been set up for a new product and material started to run, the operator would monitor the WI2000 system for Mismatch, Roll and Bead Height, adjusting a number of parameters until the measurements fell within specification.  Set up time was cut down significantly, producing less scrap.

 

Benefit #2: Wear Detection on Roller Tools

The second thing they noticed was how certain measurements such as Deflection would vary on a cyclical basis.  The amount of deflection would rise and fall periodically, indicating an inconsistency in the tooling.  It was discovered that wear of the forming rollers would cause some of this variance.  By replacing the rollers when the deflection got really bad, scrap could be reduced or avoided entirely when the deflection went out of specification.

 

Benefit #3: Reduce Tube Twisting

The third thing they noticed was how the tube would roll back and forth based on how well adjusted the forming and handling equipment was.  If the tube rolled too far in one direction, the seam could move out of the path of the Bead Removal Tool (Scarf, or grinding process) downsteam of the tube mill, causing scrap material.

 

Conclusion

The resulting cost savings benefits derived from reduced final product scrap, faster product set up times and fewer customer returns allowed the customer a payback of less than one year.  They were so happy with the system that they are looking to equip a number of their other mills with the same equipment in the year ahead.

Topics: weld inspection, Laser welding, Welding Process, Tube and Pipe welding

Come Visit Us at Tube Düsseldof 2014!

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, April 01, 2014 @ 02:08 PM

 

April 01.14 Blog Tube logo

Xiris is in the final stages of preparation for next week’s Tube 2014 in Düsseldof, Germany, running from April 7 - 11.

Tube Düsseldorf is a leading trade fair for the global tube industry presenting a unique opportunity to meet with international visitors, decision makers and market leaders. And if the numbers from 2012 are any indication, we will be very busy! The 2012 Tube show saw over 4,659 visitors who came to investigate more than 1,178 exhibitors from 48 countries in 48,477 sq.m of exhibition space!

Xiris’ WI2000p, laser-based post weld inspection system, and our XVC-O, weld camera for Open Arc welding, will be on display in our partner’s booth - Magnetic Analysis Corporation, Hall 06, Stand G40.

We’re not only excited about demonstrating our products for the tube industry in this prestigious setting; we’re looking forward to meeting the innovative people and seeing the groundbreaking technology from other pioneering companies across the world.

If you’re going to be at Tube Düsseldorf, please visit booth Hall 6.0, Stand G40 there you’ll be able to see demonstrations the WI2000p as well as the XVC-O Weld Camera.

Better yet, please email us at sales@xiris.com to set up a personal product demonstration.

With over 2,400 of exhibitors registered, it’s a popular show, so there’s a good chance many of you are planning to attend, for the same good reasons we are. We know that it means you care about leading-edge technology.

Hope to see you in Düsseldorf, Germany!

Topics: weld camera, welding automation, Machine Vision, Welding Process, High Dynamic Range, Trade Show, Tube Dusseldorf

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.

 

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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 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.

 Blog 140224 Tandem MIG.MAG weld process resized 600

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

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