weld camera, retrofitting

Retrofitting a Weld Camera into an Existing Manipulator Cell

Cameron Serles
Written by Cameron Serles on October 6, 2020

Recently, Xiris installed a weld camera into an existing welding manipulator used to weld end caps on to very large tanks.  The welding is done on the end of a manipulator arm, 15-20’ (4-6 m) up in the air.  During the initial visit, the customer stated that their main problem with their automated welding manipulator was the requirement of a person to see the welds during the weld process. 

As many have done in the past, their solution involved hoisting the operator up to the weld heads using a lift.  The operator was then tasked with monitoring and making adjustment to the weld.  While that provided a short term solution, the fabricator realized pretty quickly that they needed to keep the welding operators on the ground for a variety of reasons.

 manipulator cell

Xiris retrofit solution with existing cameras into a manipulator cell.  

As a result, the fabricator implemented some commercial cameras with image quality that increasingly degraded over time.  The images became such a concern that the fabricator contacted Xiris for a retrofit solution of their existing cameras.  As the camera mounts already existed, replacing the camera was very straight forward.  During the install, Xiris provided the customer with a selection of optical configurations for variable stand off and field of view, allowing a customized, yet simple, camera setup.  In addition, existing monitors and cabinetry were also used to display the images from the Xiris weld cameras, to save on additional costs.

The net result was that the Customer felt that our camera was much less complicated than their original camera for a number of reasons:

  • No camera control unit was required to be mounted near the camera.
  • I/O connections are optional on the Xiris weld camera as can operate in a free-running mode.
  • When I/O is required, the Xiris I/O module that interfaces to the camera can be mounted anywhere, such as with the PC or with other I/O, using easily provided mounting rails.
  • Less cabling is required than other cameras, requiring smaller cable trays and less payload on the manipulator.
  • The previous camera had remote, separately mounted lights, whereas the Xiris weld camera can be configured with integrated LED lights right into the camera body with light power and brightness controls available in software.


Overall, Xiris Weld cameras’ image quality was better than the incumbent camera, in part because the original camera used a mechanical iris that was closed down manually until a suitable image of the arc was present on the screen.  However in so doing, the arc was visible, but very little of the background was visible.  The Xiris weld camera is able to provide a clear view of the weld arc and the background at the same time.

For more information on how Xiris Weld Cameras can help monitor your weld processes, visit Xiris.com 

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