The Xiris Blog

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

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

Inspecting Metal Sheath on High Voltage Cables

Posted by Cameron Serles on Wednesday, February 20, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

High Voltage Cable is a multi-layer cable used for running high voltages underground or underwater.  The integrity of the cable is very important – the insulation of the cable must not deteriorate due to the high voltage power being transmitted.

Often a high-voltage cable will have a metallic shield layered over the insulation, connected to the ground and designed to equalize the dielectric stress on the insulation layer.  This metallic shield is effectively a welded tube, wrapped around the conducting cores and insulating layers of the cable and welded together as the cable is made.

 

Various High Voltage Cable Samples (courtesy: KEI Industries)

 

If the fabrication process of forming and welding the metal sheath tube is not done properly, the cable may fail its final quality specification and may require to be destroyed, a very costly prospect for the manufacturer. Using a weld inspection system such as the WI2000 system from Xiris, measurements can be made on the production line of the final welded sheath of various attributes such as Mismatch, weld Bead Height and Freezeline to help determine if the metal sheath tube is being welded correctly.

If any of those measurements begin to drift out of tolerance, an operator can be alerted to make adjustments in the input parameters to bring the process back in control avoiding any scrap production.  The result is a better quality welded sheath tube on the cable that has a better chance of meeting the final end user’s specifications.

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: quality control, weld inspection, Tube and Pipe welding, manufacturing, tube, WI-2000p, weld camera system, consistent

Xiris Exhibits at IMTS 2014

Posted by Leanne Sinclair on Thursday, September 18, 2014 @ 05:10 PM

Xiris Automation participates in many international trade shows. Our products have immense value across a number of markets, including welding, where we present our XVC-O Weld Camera to the Weld industry. With video demonstrations and expert explanations about how our weld camera can improve weld monitoring, trade shows are hugely beneficial to customer understanding of this technology.

Partnering with one of our large OEMs, ESAB Welding & Cutting Products, Xiris was privileged to exhibit the XVC-O Weld Camera for Open Arc welding processes. ESAB was one of only two major welding automation companies exhibiting at the International Manufacturing Technology Show. IMTS is one of the largest industrial trade shows in the world, featuring more than 2,000 exhibiting companies and 114,140 registrants.

ESAB IMTS

ESAB showcased their pre-engineered robotic welding cell using a new tandem MIG welding process called Swift Arc LS. Xiris assisted with the ESAB exhibit by providing the Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera to demonstrate how the operator could view the welding process remotely. The weld camera was mounted on the robot and travelled with the weld torch to provide visitors a clear, live view of the weld arc. Xiris also demonstrated a live weld feed for visitors to see the software and dashboard view of the system (demonstrated above).

This is one of the many trade shows Xiris has attended this year, and will be attending many more! Watch for us at the Sheet Metal Welding Conference in Michigan, US, FabTech in Atlanta, Ga, US and the 5th Welding Busan Exhibition in Korea this November.

To learn about all of our events and tradeshows please visit our website and be sure to subscribe to our blog.

Topics: weld camera, Trade Show, manufacturing, IMTS, distributors, weld monitoring, integrated

If You Can’t See It, Should You Sell It?

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, August 28, 2014 @ 03:06 PM

Xiris Automation specializes in “machines that can see”. We provide some of the world’s most dynamic manufacturers with the ability to detect, recognize, and interpret quality defects in their manufactured goods. As quality standards continue to rise, the expectation of quality fabricated products also increases.  Reducing scrap rates and increasing productivity, while providing consistent quality welds are high expectations with no room for compromise.

So, this raises the question: if you can’t see what you’re welding, are you confident selling it?

Today there are tools that allow metal fabricators to ensure that what they are providing their customers is at the best possible quality level.  One of the most effective tools for monitoring the weld quality is a weld camera.  A weld camera, such as the Xiris XVC-O camera, provides the ability for the welding process to be monitored remotely by an operator. This allows the operator to monitor the process and make adjustments to ensure the welding process has the best quality possible, while increasing the health and safety of their work environment.  

What the XVCO shows

The image above is an example of what the XVC-O system can provide.  As you can see, most features in the welding environment are clearly visible: the weld tip, weld pool, filler wire feed, seam alignment as well as the surrounding background.  This gives the operator enough information to make an informed decision about how to control the weld quality before problems develop.  It also allows for reduced welding process set up time, as any errors in the welding process will be detected right away by the operator, minimizing down time and scrap. The XVC-O Weld Camera provides clear detail of the welding process, allowing for consistent, high quality welded products to be fabricated.

 

Information on the XVC-O and all other Xiris products is available on our website www.xiris.com, including a library of recorded weld videos for your review.

Topics: safety, camera, weld, operator, visible, weld pool, weld allignment, manufacturing, fabricator, metal

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