Once every four years, the Schweissen & Schneiden International Trade Show is held in Essen, Germany. It’s the premier trade show in the world for the joining, cutting, and surfacing industry—so we made sure we were there when it was held this year from Sept. 16-21!
Those of us from Xiris who attended had a great time—and we learned a lot.
The show had almost 1,000 exhibitors and about 40,000 attendees from all over the world. And almost 250 companies from more than 20 countries stopped by our booth to see our weld camera system and how it how it could be integrated into their equipment or process. So we were learning from the visitors to our booth, as well as from checking out all the other booths.
Xiris is committed to being at the cutting edge of weld camera technology, so we relished the opportunity to see firsthand—from many diverse perspectives—the latest developments in welding and to understand the needs for product development. Attending Schweissen & Schneiden motivates us to move forward in the improvement of Xiris’s products.
The overarching impression we got from the show is that globally the industry is changing and the pace of automation is likely to accelerate, increasing the need for advanced weld monitoring systems such as Weld Cameras. Automation was a key theme for most equipment exhibitors at the show, and it was obvious how important technology is becoming to the welding equipment of today. Advanced robotics, computerized control equipment, lasers, intelligent power supplies, motorized cross-slide mechanisms, welding tractors, and orbital welding equipment were just some of the items on display.
This focus on technology is largely a result of the need all over the world to automate welding processes because the number of new people entering the welding industry is declining. But it’s also due to recognition that technology can increase quality and productivity.
We noted a lot of specific technology-related developments at the show, including:
- A constant theme of the automatic machine builders at the show was the growing importance of sensors in the welding process (e.g. proximity sensors, temperature sensors, seam guidance systems, camera systems) and how that will continue to accelerate in the future.
- Numerous companies exhibited intriguing solutions for narrow groove welding systems for very thick walled pipe—walls that were sometimes over 400 mm thick, destined for the power generation industry.
- Some gas companies have developed welding cells that demonstrate how the welding process changes with a change in gas chemistry by using a camera to look at the weld pool. The camera would allow the observer to clearly see the difference in the weld quality as the gas chemistry changes.
- Many laser-based or laser hybrid welding technologies were displayed, showing welding systems that were capable of welding high volumes of material very quickly.
- Numerous orbital welding companies displayed systems that could perform a weld in pipe as small as 30 mm in diameter and as large as 5 m in diameter.
- Some companies displayed highly innovative small-scale ID pipe cladding equipment that would allow cladding on the inner diameter of some extremely small-diameter tube and pipe.
We returned from Schweissen & Schneiden more excited than ever about the possibilities for camera technology to transform automated and semi-automated welding systems for the better. We also were encouraged by the obvious recognition within the industry of the opportunities to improve welding processes with technology. Welding is moving toward automation—and we need to be ready for it!