The Xiris Blog

Triggering Weld Cameras from a MIG Process

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, February 07, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

MIG processes, particularly short circuit MIG, will generate a huge range in brightness during their metal transfer cycle:  when the arc is extinguished as the wire makes contact with the parent material prior to expulsion, the image can be quite dark. However, after an explusion occurs and the arc is re-established, the image may be very bright as the arc intensifies to its maximum.

Using a camera to acquire images of a MIG weld process in free running mode can be problematic when the amount of light present in the image varies considerably. The variation in light is based on when during the metal transfer process the image exposure takes place: when the arc is extinguished, the image will be dark; when there is a full arc, there will be a bright image. However, if the camera acquisition is triggered by an electrical pulse generated by the camera power supply, the result will be a consistent image of the weld process that is repeatable because it is at the same point of the weld cycle.

Image4

(courtesy ESAB Group, Inc.)

A few words about how Short Circuit MIG and certain other kinds of MIG welding function:

  • Wire is fed continuously and makes contact with the workpiece to complete the electrical circuit.
  • At the point of contact, a short circuit occurs, resulting in a huge spike of current moving through the wire between the torch and the workpiece.
  • At point of wire contacting the workpiece, arc gets extinguished.
  • Segment of wire rapidly vaporizes under high current and an arc gets re-established.
  • Current falls as there is no short circuit.
  • Process repeats.

In a constant voltage welding power supply, the current being fed to the torch can rise and fall based on the metal transfer process. When there is a gap between the wire and the workpiece, the conducting current is low, and increases as the wire begins to touch the workpiece and create a short circuit. Then, once the wire tip explodes, the current falls as there is no conducting circuit. The plot of the current levels look something like this:

 Image3

(courtesy ESAB Group, Inc.)

While capturing the welding process to see certain features, it is sometimes interesting to only take images at a certain point in the metal transfer cycle. Rather than using a weld camera in free running mode where image acquisition is based on the clock cycles inside the camera, an efficient alternative is to use an external trigger that is based on the current levels present in the welding power supply.  If a circuit can be designed to generate a trigger signal based on the rising edge of the current level, then the trigger could be used to initiate image acquisition, resulting in video with an increased consistentency in brightness and quality because each frame will be acquired at precisely the same point in the metal transfer process. 

Further enhancement to the performance of the imaging process is possible by tweaking exactly when the images are acquired through adding a delay.  A delay can be added after the trigger signal is generated so that the exact imaging characteristic can be seen.

For example, imagine wanting to see only images of the metal transfer process after the weld arc is extinguished.  To do this, a trigger signal should be generated based on the current pulses coming from the weld power supply.  It may not be possible to receive the trigger at the ideal point in the metal transfer process, so a programmable delay can be added to make sure that the image acquisition occurs at exactly the right point.

With Triggering:

Image2Image1

Successive Snapshots of a MIG Welding Process Triggered from the Rising Edge of Welding Power Supply’s Current Pulse

The above two successive images show a MiG process at roughly the same point of the metal transfer process over different cycles of the metal transfer.  In this case, the imaging was tuned to see exactly what the viewer wanted to see: the melt pool fully visible with the welding arc present.

In Summary

Imaging a MIG welding process can be fairly difficult if using a weld camera in free running mode.  However, if a circuit can be designed to clamp on the rising edge of the current pulse, it can provide an excellent trigger to use to acquire consistent images at similar points in the metal transfer cycle.  The result is much more uniform images with similar brightness levels, allowing for better analysis and increased efficiency of the welding process. 

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Topics: quality control, image processing, HDR, mig welding, reduced costs, weld camera system, consistent, MIG process

Customer Testimonial: Xiris Tube & Pipe Inspection Systems Transform Quality Control

Posted by Emily Blackborow on Thursday, January 24, 2019 @ 11:02 AM

Who doesn’t love an inspiring transformation story? Weld inspection systems truly are capable of transforming your quality assurance processes and one of our Spanish customers has quite the story to prove it.

Tubos de Legutiano Automoción (TLA) is a manufacturer of high-quality tubular products for the automotive market. By producing thin-walled exhaust pipes, TLA helps their customers reduce the weight of their parts, while maintaining high quality standards that are able to withstand the strict demands of the automotive industry.

TLA

TLA recently said that their most important customer, a large automotive parts supplier based in France, was both surprised and delighted to notice a sudden, significant improvement in TLA’s quality, so much so that they wanted to pay them a visit.

Once visiting TLA, the French automotive parts supplier realized that the improvement in quality was due to the introduction and implementation of the Xiris WI2000 Weld Inspection system used on their two tube lines.  By detecting defects that were previously not detectable using any other NDT test process, TLA was able to address the imperfections that were plaguing their production for years.

The management of TLA commended Xiris’ systems saying:

“Without precision tools that allow us to move forward and work under this precept, it would be difficult to be able to develop products according to the new demands. That is why the Xiris WI2000 has been the key for increasing the quality of our company, reducing set-up times, monitoring the quality of the product in real time and allowing to interact with accurate information in the production process.”

The result was that, once implemented, the WI2000 systems were able to catch defects and help perform better process monitoring to keep their tube product in control.  Consequently, fewer defects made their way to the end of the production line and shipped to their customer in France.

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Topics: quality control, tube, defects, WI-2000p, reduced costs, automotive, tubedefects, tube mill

Using Weld Cameras to Enable a Continuous Coil Joining Process

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, January 10, 2019 @ 01:00 PM

Xiris’ High Dynamic Range (HDR) welding cameras can be used in a multitude of ways, some of which our customers have discovered on their own.

For example, a manufacturer of thick-walled steel pipe recently figured out how to use our cameras in a way that has greatly improved the efficiency of their coil joining process.

Operators only have about 10 minutes to end-sheer, mate, and weld coils during the semi-automatic front-end part of the process. The cost of coil joint failure is high, so the manufacturer would stop the tube mill to check on the integrity of the coil joint before continuing.

Even though the stoppage prevented more-costly failures, it had its own cost. What our customer needed was a way to adequately monitor the end joining in the infeed buffer of the pipe mill without having to stop the process to assure correct coil matching.

They knew the capabilities of our cameras to enable real-time remote monitoring of weld processes with greater visibility than ever before possible. So they developed a plan to use Xiris XVC-110e50 cameras to monitor the coil joining during the front end of the process. This monitoring eliminates the need for routine stoppages.

This solution also keeps operators safer. Coil joining is performed using a MIG welding torch mounted onto a linear track with dual-axis torch position. Previously, operators had to be close enough to the torch to see what was happening with the weld. With the Xiris HDR cameras, they have a clear view of the coil joining process from a safe remote location.

With their creative use of our HDR camera technology, this manufacturer was able to significantly reduce the time and cost of coil joining, while increasing consistency.

For a video of the coil joining process taken by the XVC-1100e50 camera, please view the video below

Coil Joining Video 

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Topics: quality control, tube, reduced costs, weld camera system, coil joining, tube mill

How to Detect Scarf Tool Wear on a Tube Mill

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, December 13, 2018 @ 11:00 AM

During tube production, immediately after the tube has been welded and before any further in-line processing is done, the weld bead must be scarfed off the tube. Scarfing is the process whereby the weld bead is cut off with a knife, or scarfing tool.  Unfortunately, if the scarfing tool is not done properly, the tube may not meet end user customer specifications because of a rough surface left behind by the scarf tool.  The result can be the primary contributor to creating a leak path on a compression fitting.

Using a surface profiling tool such as the Xiris WI2000, the scarf defect measurement can be used to detect how well the scarfing tool is cutting the weld bead and indicate the amount of scarf tool wear. 

Scarf tool wear describes the gradual failure condition of a scarf cutting tool on a tube mill as a result of ongoing use.  It can occur either as flank wear in which the portion of the scarf tool in contact with the welded tube erodes over time sometimes causing a ridge to be left behind in the scarf zone; or as crater wear, in which contact with chips of weld bead erodes the rake face of the tool causing an uneven cut surface; or a cluster of weld bead material building up on the face of the tool causing it to dredge a groove in the scarf zone. These conditions are somewhat normal for tool wear, and they do not seriously degrade the use of the scarf tool until it becomes serious enough to cause a scarf tool cutting edge failure that may be a concern for a potential leak path for the tube in its final use.

The scarf defect measurement on the WI2000 looks for any significant deviations in surface height above or below the ideal scarf surface.  The Scarf Defect will detect the absolute value of the largest defect on the scarf surface.  Any significant amount of scarf tool wear could reduce the specifications and performance of the final tube, especially for some automotive applications where tight assembly requirements or a smooth, scratch free surface is required.

Scarf Defect_2017-01

The Definition of a Scarf Tool Wear: The scarf plane can be defined as the straight line drawn between the left and right scarf edges.  Any detected features above or below the scarf plane, are measured as a scarf defect.  The actual amount of wear is defined as the distance from the scarf plane measured perpendicularly to the scarf plane.

If you have any questions about our profile inspections for tube and pipe, please feel free to contact us. 

 

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Topics: quality control, Tube and Pipe welding, bead height, scarfing, pipe, tube, defects, WI-2000p, tubedefects, tube mill

The Quality Challenge in Metal Additive Manufacturing

Posted by Magda Paszko on Thursday, November 29, 2018 @ 10:30 AM

Product manufacturers in industries such as aerospace, defense, and healthcare have no room for error in their manufacturing processes—the product liability is too high with human lives at stake. The need for the strictest quality control and quality assurance poses substantial challenges for these manufacturers as they migrate some product manufacturing to use Metal Additive Manufacturing (AM).

Manufacturers of precision parts are attracted to metal AM because it allows the production of intricate, free-form components directly from CAD—making the production of these parts more feasible than with conventional machining. In addition, Metal AM parts often end up being lighter and stronger than parts made with traditional subtractive machining processes.

A primary obstacle to the widespread use of Metal AM is the difficulty of implementing effective quality control and qualifying parts for the end users. Because of the random nature of material deposition in AM processes, parts must be continually monitored during production rather than being tested after completion to ensure cost effective production.

However, a powerful tool for this quality control and quality assurance has been developed— High Dynamic Range ( HDR) cameras. These cameras can be used in-process to monitor multiple parameters and enable the real-time adjustments required for Metal AM to be successfully productive.

Metal AM-043399-edited
Image captured by a Xiris XVC 1000 HDR Camera

For manufacturers that want to adopt Metal AM, investing in HDR camera technology will be a major step in overcoming the challenges of consistent part quality. The technology is available now, and early adopters stand to gain a significant competitive advantage.

To learn more about HDR camera technology and how it can help your company achieve the quality control and quality assurance necessary to make Metal AM a winning solution, download our whitepaper, Ensuring Quality in Metal Additive Manufacturing.

 

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Topics: weld camera, XVC Weld Camera, additive manufacturing, Metal AM

Reflecting on Fall 2018 Trade Shows

Posted by Magda Paszko on Thursday, November 15, 2018 @ 08:35 AM

The experience of a trade show is quite difficult to put into words; regardless of whether you are an exhibitor or an attendee, the level of energy, engagement, and excitement associated with a show is indescribable. Here at Xiris Automation, we are quite familiar with the trade show process, but this doesn’t make the events any less exciting. The last couple of months have been no exception as we traveled the world to meet customers and faced the hustle and bustle of EuroBLECH and FABTECH.

EuroBLECH

EuroBLECH is the largest trade exhibition for the sheet metal working industry and it is valued by top industry professionals from all over the world.[i] This year, the show ran from October 23rd to the 26th in Hanover, Germany and highlighted the theme of Stepping into the Digital Reality. The show attracted over 56,000 visitors from all around the world[ii] and gave us the opportunity to connect with clients from new regions. We showcased our weld cameras and weld inspection systems and were very impressed with the level in interest in the XVC 1000e welding camera.

Xiris Team at Euroblech 2018

This show also doubled as our first opportunity to introduce Michael Staiger to our European market. As business in Europe continues to grow, Michael joined our team as the new European Service Technician in order to better meet the needs of our customers. Based out of the Xiris Automation GmbH office just outside of Duesseldorf, Germany, Michael will be responsible for installation, calibration, and training for all new Xiris customers, as well as servicing and repair work of Xiris equipment across Europe. Not only was EuroBLECH the perfect opportunity to introduce Michael to our connections worldwide, but it also conveniently demonstrated the scope of our business. 

Introducing Michael Staiger

FABTECH

About one week after coming back from Germany, we headed to Atlanta, Georgia for FABTECH 2018. FABTECH is North America’s largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event[iii] and our team was very excited to get in touch with our North American market. The show took place at the Georgia World Congress Center and was open to the public from November 6th to the 8th.

Xiris Booth at Fabtech 2018

This year, our booth was bigger and better than ever before as we showcased the capabilities of our HDR welding cameras through demo videos of numerous applications. We also had over 20 cameras on the floor with trusted industry partners including: Lincoln Electric, Hobart Brothers, Cloos Welding, Gullco, Abicor Binzel, Arcrite Automation and Bug-O, big thank you to those who participated! Seeing the cameras in action all around the show encouraged attendees to visit our team experts and ask their burning questions. If your company will be exhibiting at Fabtech 2019 or any other welding automation or fabrication show, and you feel you could benefit from displaying or operating a Xiris camera, please contact our sales team.

Xiris Team at Fabtech 2018

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, it has been a very successful trade show season for Xiris Automation. It was a pleasure meeting everyone who had the chance to stop by one of our booths and we are looking forward to connecting with you further. If you did not have the opportunity to visit us, or if you have any further questions about our equipment, please feel free to check out our website or contact us. A lot of work goes into one of these shows, so we would like to send out a big thank you to everyone who made them possible, it is so satisfying to see all that hard work pay off. The preparation for these shows begins many months, sometimes even years, in advance, so it is time to sign off and start planning for the future. Until next time!

 

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Sources:

[i] https://www.euroblech.com/2018/english/event/exhibition-profile/

[ii] https://www.euroblech.com/2018/english/event/about-euroblech/

[iii] https://www.fabtechexpo.com/about

Topics: weld camera, Trade Show, XVC Weld Camera

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