Laser welding, tube, tubedefects, WI-3000

How Tube Manufacturers Benefit from Inline Laser Weld Inspection

Cameron Serles
Written by Cameron Serles on August 15, 2023

Inline laser weld inspection on tube mills provides numerous benefits for fabricators and tube mill operators. In this blog, we will explore 3 significant advantages that can be achieved by using an inline laser weld inspection system to measure the weld bead geometry of a Tube mill:

Safety of Staff

Workers on Tube Mills face numerous hazards when working around a tube mill. By implementing an inline laser weld inspection system, fabricators can improve the Health and Safety of their staff because such a system can automate measurement tasks that operators traditionally have to do. So installing the system can:

  • Remove operators from exposure to various hazards that exist in and around a tube mill, including hot or molten metal, hazardous materials and substances, moving heavy equipment, rotating machine parts or electrical hazards.
  • Reduce the need for operators to reach in to the tube mill to measure or adjust running equipment.
  • Avoid operators using their fingers to feel mismatch or step left on the scarfing bead, reducing common injuries to operators.
  • Provide magnified, real time visuals of the weld zone without operators having to enter the hazardous area or encroaching on the running tube mill.
3 benefits of inline laser weld monitoring imageThe Typical Harsh Environment of a Tube Mill: Automation Keeps Operators Out!


Productivity or Consistency (Quality) of Production

Productivity and Quality is on every fabricator’s mind as they try to reduce costs. By implementing an Inline Laser Weld Inspection system, fabricators can reap quick benefits:

  • Provide operators with an early warning when a change occurs in the weld zone.
  • Provide automated alerts for any changes in the forming or welding process
  • Provide earlier detection of potential quality issues in the weld right at weld box, rather than at end of line where operator may normally work.
  • Detect small variances in thin-walled tubing that are traditionally difficult to detect by operator.
  • Reduces mill downtime. When manufacturing processes get out of control, common trial and error solutions typically prolong the time needed to correct the process.
  • Reduces Cost of Lab Time because fewer line qualifications and therefore fewer tests (e.g. micrograph samples), will have to be made per year.
  • Measure geometrical features that are not possible to detect via NDT equipment.
  • Provides a more consistent approach to setting up a mill, allows experienced operators to better communicate mill parameters to new incoming operators.


Scrap Reduction

One of the biggest wastes of tube production, scrap generation can lead to significant costs for a tube fabricator. Sometimes, small changes in the scrap rate can result in a tube mill becoming much more profitable. By implementing an inline laser weld inspection system, fabricators can gain by:

  • Provides Instantaneous feedback to operators of potential defects, reducing time to respond to defects / issues and therefore scrap rate.
  • Improves changeover setup time – no need to run as much product to dial in the process.
  • Reduces Set Up Time because production equipment can be set up faster and operate more efficiently. By reducing the amount of set up time between production runs, there is more time for production.
  • Identify intermittent, hard to detect defects such as strip buckle in weld, scarf tool depth problems or identifying potential scarf tool chatter that cannot be seen unless 100% of the tube is inspected.
  • Catches defects earlier in the manufacturing process avoiding detection later in the process that could cause product returns or rework.

In these days of heightened competition, fabricators are always looking for a competitive edge. Inline Laser Weld Inspection systems such as the WI2200 from Xiris are able to deliver immediate benefits to the tube fabricator once installed.  

To learn more about how you can implement Xiris inspection systems, reach out to our product experts. 


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