Due to developments in electronics and camera-sensor technology, cameras now allow OCTG fabricators to see features of an automatic or semi-automatic welding process with better clarity than ever before.
This technological progress is particularly exciting for the OCTG industry, in which cameras are essential for common welding applications that are physically impossible and/or too hazardous for operators to directly monitor. OCTG fabricators that have to use cameras can now also achieve the productivity and quality gains that come with clear, easy visibility of the weld process and data.
Cameras can be used by OCTG fabricators in two ways:
- Cameras are a key component of Weld Inspection Systems that monitor weld features by measuring the output of a weld process in a tube or pipe mill.
- Weld Cameras with High Dynamic Range imaging are the heart of Weld Camera Systems that enable operators to view welds remotely as they occur.
Tomorrow at the Bakken Oil Product and Service Show in Williston, North Dakota, I’ll be making a presentation on how advanced camera technology can benefit OCTG fabricators. If you're going to the show, I'd love to see you there.
For everyone else, here’s a brief overview of what I’ll be discussing.
Weld Inspection Systems
In a Weld Inspection System, standard CCD or CMOS cameras are used with a laser stripe projector in a triangulation process that measures the detail about the weld features.
Using this triangulation method, Weld Inspection Systems can detect features on a tube and pipe mill such as:
- Weld undercut.
- Bead height / sunken weld.
- Bead roll.
- Freeze line.
- Scarf width.
Measurements can be made instantaneously, individual measurements can have tolerance controls for on-screen alerts, and the software can be integrated to audible alarms or spray markers when tolerance limits are exceeded.
Below is a screen shot from the Xiris WI2000p Weld Inspection System showing the on-screen guidance an operator receives:
Weld Camera Systems
Improvements in electronics and camera sensors have led to a new technology, High Dynamic Range imaging, that for the first time allows a Weld Camera to clearly image both the super-bright arc and its dark surrounding background—with no change of the camera aperture. This means operators can see the weld as it happens, without slowing down the process.
Two sample High Dynamic Range images, taken with the Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera, are shown below:
Orbital Welding Using MIG
Columan and Boom MIG Welding
Weld Cameras with High Dynamic Range imaging technology enable operators to use their experienced judgment to make quality-control decisions. Such a Weld Camera System is an essential tool for in-process monitoring of many quality-critical OCTG applications—such as pipe cladding, orbital welding, small-diameter tube welding, and column and boom welding—to assist operators in making the right decisions.
Using a Weld Camera System with High Dynamic Range imaging, operators can:
- Set up welding cells faster because they do not need to stop the equipment to make adjustments.
- Better detect weld features such as seam alignment, weld pool, weld bead, edge presentation, weld tip, and shielding gas presence.
- Quickly and effectively troubleshoot problems and conduct quality audits with a recorded video log of the entire weld scene generated by the system.
Advances in technology have made camera systems an ideal weld inspection and monitoring solution for OCTG fabricators, helping them to detect defects by better measuring output and allowing operators to remotely view the weld process in real time without having to stop the process to change lighting.