In making a business case for an investment in a Weld Camera, you need to be able to demonstrate specifically how the technology can lower costs and increase productivity. In the third installment of our series on How to Justify the Cost of a Weld Camera, we take a look at how technologically advanced Weld Cameras can lower the costs related to workplace injuries and operator health problems.
Having an operator directly monitor an automated welding process can be hazardous work. Operators face the risk of electrical shock and the constant threat of burns from spatter, sparks, flying particles, and exposure to the UV radiation of the welding arc. Exposure to the extremely bright light of the arc can damage the corneas in an operator’s eyes, resulting in “welder’s flash,” with symptoms of blurry vision and a burning sensation in the eyes for a week or so.
The welding environment also exposes workers to long-term health risks, including irreversible eye damage from constant exposure to the super-bright arc and permanent hearing loss from the high noise levels proximate to a weld arc.
Most troubling of all, the toxic chemicals released from welding rods, coatings, filler metals, and base materials during the welding process can damage the nervous system and lungs. One common malady is manganism, otherwise known as “welder’s Parkinson’s disease,” due to the presence of manganese in the welding fumes.
Beyond the moral imperative for safety, this high level of immediate and long-term risk to the health of operators has far-reaching costs, including:
- Higher workers compensation insurance rates.
- Higher employee health insurance rates.
- Lost productivity when injuries occur (e.g., less-skilled replacement; lost work time while getting a replacement).
- Recruiting and training operators to replace injured or disabled operators (likely made more difficult if your company has a reputation for poor safety).
- High operator turnover, including the loss of veteran operators due to the development of long-term health issues.
- Possible litigation.
Current Weld Camera Technology Enables a Remote Monitoring Solution
One reason many fabricators have turned to remote monitoring of automated welding processes is to decrease risks to operators and the associated costs described above. Safety precautions can of course be taken when directly monitoring a weld, including the use of protective gear, but these precautions are not as effective as implementing remote monitoring with a Weld Camera. And they also involve costs—the avoidance of which can be used to help justify a remote monitoring solution.
However, remote monitoring has traditionally suffered from image-quality issues, largely due to the imaging challenges posed by the extreme contrast between the super-bright light of the weld arc and the dark background.
The Xiris XVC-O has solved that problem. Its technical capabilities—at the cutting edge of the evolution of Weld Cameras—allow operators to “see” the weld better on remote display monitors than if they were directly monitoring it with their own eyes through a welding helmet. Special logarithmic sensors on the XVC-O, combined with advanced imaging software, produce High Dynamic Range images that show high-quality detail of both the arc and the surrounding background.
Using the XVC-O, you can now implement a Weld Camera remote monitoring system to gain the cost-savings that come from avoiding the many risks of direct monitoring—without sacrificing visibility into the weld process. These safety/health-related financial benefits can play a key role in articulating the potential return on investment.