thermal camera, SWIR thermal imaging

Potential of SWIR Imaging: Insights for Applications in Metal AM R&D

Cameron Serles
Written by Cameron Serles on May 30, 2023

When it comes to measuring the temperature of hot metal, the Xiris XIR-1800 thermal camera stands out as a reliable and versatile camera. However, its capabilities go beyond temperature monitoring. 

This blog will explore the exciting imaging applications of the XIR-1800 camera and how it enhances visual monitoring and process control in welding and metal R&D additive manufacturing (AM) processes.  

With its Short-Wave Infrared (SWIR) spectral range, this camera offers unique advantages over traditional thermal cameras, providing operators with clearer insights into these industrial processes. 

These include: 


Robust Melt Pool Segmentation 


Accurate segmentation of the melt pool from the background in an image is crucial for comprehensive process characterization in welding and metal AM R&D. The XIR-1800 excels in this area, as it delivers a robust thermal image of the melt pool that can be effectively segmented from its surrounding environment.  

By accurately segmenting the melt pool from its background, important information about the welding process becomes readily available. Once segmented, Operators can apply standard machine vision techniques to analyze the shape, size and location of the segmented melt pool, precisely determining whether the input power applied is optimal, identifying if any impurities or contamination are present, and detect any irregularities that could occur during the solidification process.  


Thermal Segmentation of a Melt Pool 


High-Speed Monitoring 


The XIR-1800 not only offers exceptional thermal imaging capabilities but also possesses a hidden high-speed capability. With a regular frame rate of 180 frames per second for full frame sizes, this camera can achieve an impressive 700 frames per second by using shorter exposure times and reduced resolution.  

This high frame rate is particularly valuable for monitoring fast phenomena, such as powder flow in Laser Directed Energy Deposition (L-DED) or metal transfer in Gas Metal Arc Welding (GMAW).  

For instance, in short circuit processes, droplet detachment frequencies range from 75 to 200 Hz. With a frame rate of 500-700 fps, the XIR-1800 can capture each cycle with a level of detail that is sufficient for analysis, at a fraction of the cost of dedicated high-speed cameras. 


Video showing metal transfer in a Pulsed GMAW Process 


The XIR-1800 imaging camera offers remarkable capabilities beyond its primary function as a temperature measurement instrument. Its SWIR spectral range makes it an ideal visual monitoring camera for welding and metal AM R&D processes. The camera's ability to provide robust melt pool segmentation enables precise analysis and characterization of the welding process.  

Furthermore, the hidden high-speed capability of the XIR-1800 allows for the monitoring of fast phenomena at a significantly lower cost compared to dedicated high-speed cameras.  

With these advanced imaging applications, operators can gain enhanced visibility and valuable insights into the intricacies of welding and metal AM processes, ultimately leading to improved quality and efficiency in these industrial domains. 



Download the whitepaper A Guide for Using Thermal Cameras in Welding and Metal AM R&D to learn more about Temperature Measurements such as Cooling Rate Analysis, Peak Temperature Measurement, Monitoring AM Layers, Bead Temperature Measurements. Imaging Applications such as Melt Pool Segmentation, High Speed Monitoring 




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