The Xiris Blog

How Weld Inspection Helps Tube Producers Meet Weight Reduction for Automotive Sector

Posted by Emily Blackborow on Tuesday, May 14, 2019 @ 01:00 PM

The Automotive Sector is constantly trying to reduce the weight of cars. Part of that effort is to approach their suppliers to see what they can do to reduce the weight of their components. Fabricators of tubes for the automotive sector are constantly being asked to meet more difficult weight limitations of their tubes.   

In order to achieve the desired weight reduction of a tube, tube fabricators need to use:

  • Lighter materials;
  • Thinner Wall Thicknesses; and
  • Higher Yield strength materials.

These are only possible if tighter manufacturing specifications and process tolerances are established.

Tubes fabricated from higher yield strength material are more susceptible to mismatch during fabrication. Traditionally; fabricators used a common practice of allowing mismatch on a longitudinal welded tubes of up to 5% of the wall thickness. 5% becomes a very small number very quickly when wall thickness is reduced. 

Experience has shown that for higher yield strength materials a mismatch of 5% will result in a higher weld split failure. In these applications tube producers need to maintain a mismatch tolerance in the 2% to 3% range, well below common practice on milder materials. These tight tolerances make it difficult for mill operators to see or detect using traditional means of looking at the scarf material, the finger nail scratch without stopping the mill interrupting production.

High resolution geometrical measurements are required in the weld zone making this an ideal application for laser based technologies such as Xiris’ Weld Inspection Solutions. The WI2000 or WI3000 makes continuous measurements providing the operator with a clear visual of the weld zone form process while also being able to set tolerance limits to alarm when an unexpected variation occurs.

WI2000 SystemWI2000

WI3000 System

 WI3000

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: quality control, weld inspection, High Dynamic Range, pipe, tube, HDR, weld seam, tubedefects, consistent, WI-2000, inspection system, WI-3000

Color or Not? Five Questions to Consider When Choosing a Weld Camera

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, May 02, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

Welding is not a very colorful operation. The metal, torch and other materials are usually varying shades of grey. The arc is bright white. The background is almost black. To accurately monitor and inspect welds, being able to see a massive tonal range, from the brightest to the darkest, is essential.

 Color and Monochrome images of a TIG Welding Proces

Standard cameras, and even the human eye, are incapable of distinguishing all features when faced with such a range of brightness. However, Xiris’ high dynamic range weld cameras can, either in color (the 1100 and 1100e) or black and white (the 1000 and 1000e).
As humans, we often think that color is better. But in weld cameras, that is not always the case. Determining whether a color or monochrome weld camera will work best depends on a company’s operations. Here are five questions to consider when choosing between color and monochrome weld camera:


1. What kind of welding process are you using?
TIG (GTAW) or Plasma welding benefit most from being viewed in color, simply because there is more color present in those welding processes. Evaluating the color of the torch tip, shielding gas, melt pool and even the Heat Affected Zone can help operators to assess the quality of the weld.

2. What do you want to monitor during welding?
For example, do you want to see certain features, such as the boundary between the end of the torch and the shielding gas and arc? That might help you closely monitor the integrity of the torch tip and avoid contamination.

Or, are you concerned about the amount or type of shielding gas in the process? The shielding gas can sometimes take on a unique color as it is consumed by the welding arc. Changes in the color can signify a change in the gas chemistry and alert operators to the possibility of impurities.

Or is the Heat Affected Zone (HAZ) of interest? The leading edge of the HAZ may become visible as the parent material colorizes at elevated temperatures. This can indicate the amount of heat penetration and energy transfer made during the welding process. Discoloration of the metal can signify the presence of excess heat.

3. Is color more important than resolution?
To generate a color image, the image sensor in the weld camera is “painted” with color filters. Each pixel becomes filtered with red, green or blue light in a standard pattern known as a Bayer pattern. The imaging software then mathematically recombines the pixels into a color image. One drawback of this process is that the resolution of a color image is decreased by approximately half compared to that of a monochrome image.

With higher resolution, monochrome cameras generate images with sharper detail than color cameras. In monochrome images, edges appear crisper and subtle details are more visible—important for assessing the texture of the melt pool, for example. However, the hues in a color image give the human eye the ability to better evaluate boundaries between various weld components, like the melt pool, torch tip and shielding gas.

4. Is camera speed important for your operation?
Despite being lower resolution, color image files are larger than monochrome because each pixel is described by 3 bytes of data, whereas in monochrome images, only 1 byte of data is required. As a result, a color camera often will transmit data slightly slower than a monochrome camera to its output device.

5. Does color provide additional information that can help your welding process?
Everyone’s welding operation is unique. You may have additional features such as guiding markers on your parent material, or wire being fed into the welding process that might be best suited to monochrome or color cameras. Our team can help you to assess your needs and advise whether color or monochrome will work best for your application.

Whatever the operational needs, Xiris’ weld cameras, in either monochrome or color, provide high contrast, clear images of the welding process, allowing manufacturers to quickly and easily monitor their welds for better process control.

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: weld inspection, manufacturing, defects, weld monitoring, XVC Weld Camera, HDR, color weld camera, color imaging, weld camera system, welding education, consistent

Using the Photodiode with an XVC-1000 Weld Camera

Posted by Emily Blackborow on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 @ 01:00 PM

A photodiode is an electronic which, when exposed to light, generates a change in its electrical resistance. When incorporated into an electronics circuit, it can generate a signal when exposed to the right amount of light. The Xiris Weld Cameras are equipped with photodiodes to detect the presence of a weld arc. 

Using Xiris  WeldStudio software, the photodiode circuit can be used to toggle the operating mode of a weld camera from “NO WELD” mode to “WELD” mode or vice versa, based on the amount of light present in the weld environment.  As a result, two sets of parameters can be defined, each associated with one of the two camera modes. Of the many parameters that can be defined, there is the shutter mode, which can be set typically for Rolling shutter in the NO WELD mode and Global shutter in the WELD mode. Toggling between the two modes can happen automatically by enabling the Auto Weld Mode option in the WeldStudio software.

The photodiode sensitivity threshold can be adjusted from within the WeldStudio software to ensure that the NO WELD/WELD triggers on the right amount of light coming from the weld process. When light is emitted from the welding process, the photodiode will activate, toggling the software from NO WELD to WELD mode. When the welding process ceases, the lack of light will have the opposite effect.

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: quality control, weld inspection, High Dynamic Range, XVC Weld Camera, weld camera system, consistent, trigger, photodiode

Why Recertification of Your Inspection System is Important

Posted by Emily Blackborow on Tuesday, April 02, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

In today's modern manufacturing environment, continuous improvement is needed to stay competitive. This means equipment up-time, speed and product quality must always be optimized to increase yield and profitability. Any downtime can be minimized by keeping all production and online inspection equipment well maintained and calibrated. 

Sensor HeadThe Xiris WI sensor head Recertification Program is designed to recertify WI sensors onsite at your facility by Xiris personnel with minimal interruption. This helps ensure optimal WI system performance by maximizing tube mill productivity and should be a part of your ongoing quality assurance and yearly preventive maintenance program.

Xiris Recertification Program is done by factory trained personnel and has been designed to ensure your investment in the WI2000/3000 pipe and tube inspection equipment is functioning optimally and in accordance with factory performance plans.   

Recertification takes less than 1 day onsite and we use our field certification kit to check all electronic and optical components to verify laser power is at recommended levels, camera optics are aligned and focused and within factory specifications, and that head measurement accuracy meets factory specifications.  We will also update sensor head firmware, if required, and apply a sticker with date of certification. We perform a generalized computer health check, install any software upgrades as applicable and backup system software and settings.

As a final step, Xiris will also provide you with a detailed report outlining the sensor certification and status, condition of the system and any recommendations to address potential system risks. 

NOTE: No internal adjustment can be done in the field due to laser safety requirements. Any internal repairs would have to be done at a Xiris facility under a separate quotation. 

A WI2000 or WI3000 system is a major investment that can continue to provide a significant productivity gain for your tube mill as long as it is properly maintained and recertified on a yearly basis.

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: quality control, weld inspection, weld camera system, consistent, WI-2000, inspection system, Recertification Program, WI-3000, recertification

Picture in a Picture from a Weld Camera!

Posted by Emily Blackborow on Tuesday, March 05, 2019 @ 01:00 PM

Xiris has recently added a powerful new feature to its WeldStudio™ software utility that controls and displays images from its weld cameras: the Picture in a Picture (“PIP”) feature. The PIP Feature allows for two-tone mapping algorithms to be used on different portions of the screen at the same time, one on the full screen and one on an adjustable inset window.  Each tone mapping algorithm will have its own settings to enhance key areas of interest in an associated view. 

The dual tone mapping is performed right in the camera view by using the camera’s onboard image processing capability and the image is streamed to an external device as one image. 

Screenshot of WeldStudio™ with Picture-in-Picture Mode


Window2 PIP

 

The image processing tools inside WeldStudio™ allow the operator to manipulate and measure different  features of the weld, to help make meaningful process decisions. The playback mode allows users to view and manage recorded video offline for further analysis, including the ability to slow and freeze frames, view frame by frame, or manage video transfer to an external device.

The PIP feature ensures that enhanced images can be created with better, localized contrast that improves the visibility of key regions of brighter or darker brightness in the image.  Being able to tone map two regions of interest separately allows the user to see higher contrast image details in a foreground and the background. For example, in welding applications where there is an extreme brightness range between the weld area and its background (such as in electron beam welding or high powered laser welding), a smaller inset foreground window can be placed over the welding arc or spot and be optimized for very bright light localized to that region, while the surrounding darker background can be brightened to see the weld seam, allowing heat affected zones and other darker features to be seen more clearly.

By performing the PIP feature inside the camera, fewer external PC processing resources are needed to process the resulting images. In addition, less data needs to be transmitted between the camera and a PC (lowering network traffic that can be beneficial when using multiple cameras), allowing full frame rate to be maintained with the camera at 55 fps.

Our users will have full control of the brightness settings, window size and location for the foreground inset window independently of the the settings for the background image. This feature has been implemented to work on both color and monochrome versions of the Xiris weld cameras. 

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: weld inspection, manufacturing, area of interest, color imaging, weld camera system, welding education, consistent, WeldStudio, PictureInaPicture, PIP

LASIMM project goes live with Xiris Automation

Posted by Emily Blackborow on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 @ 01:00 PM

Lasimm Machine

 

The Large Additive Subtractive Integrated Modular Machine (LASIMM) project is now live and ready to build large 3D printed metal structures for construction. The machine is the first of its kind and is predicted to keep Europe's manufacturing industry as a leading competitor in the global market. The project highlights a milling robot – the first for additive manufacturing of aluminum and steel - to integrate seamlessly additive, subtractive, metrology and cold work applications into a single machine. 

LASIMM will enable the creation of mixed-material structures by using similar and incompatible substances along with  software to generate tool paths and machine sequences. The machine will ensure the component's structural integrity by allowing in-process, non-destructive testing and restoration of defects. 

Xiris partnered with Cranfield University, a defining member of the project, and delivered the XVC-1000 HDR Weld Camera as an inspection solution for LASIMM. We are honoured to contribute to this project and are excited to see the results of the project and the impact LASIMM will have on Europe's additive manufacturing industry. 

Topics: weld camera, Education, High Dynamic Range, manufacturing, applications, XVC Weld Camera, HDR, weld camera system, consistent, inspection

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