The Xiris Blog

Better Images, Better Instruction, Better Welding Students!

Posted by Cameron Serles on Wednesday, February 12, 2014 @ 03:50 PM

Training a new group of welding students can have a number of challenges for even the best instructors: getting all the students around the weld head to be able to see what is going on; a limited number of hours the instructor has available for actually performing the welding; how to see all the features of the weld arc as well as the background information, and how to make sure that all students are marked fairly and objectively. 

When educating welding students, providing them with the ability to view the detail of the weld tip as well as the environment around the weld tip (such as the weld seam and weld pool) is important for them to learn all the parameters of the welding process.  To overcome the visual monitoring challenges created by the presence of a very bright light source (the weld arc), as well as dark areas in the image (the background around the weld tip), a camera with a wide dynamic range of imaging is required.  Reliable visualization of the environment around the weld tip is necessary to control and adjust the welding process found on most modern welding processes.  In addition, the ability to record video and play it back to the students can provide multiple benefits for teaching and correcting welding techniques.

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Image courtesy of Casper College

They Can’t All See the Details…. 

New developments in electronics has led to the creation of a new type of camera that is able to accommodate the full range of light present at a weld head during welding, allowing welding to be taught in a way it has never been taught before!

By providing a good quality image of the weld tip and background, welding instructors and their students can remotely monitor a weld demonstration and record the results for off-line feedback.  By using a camera to view the weld demonstration, the students can verify that the tip is in position and that all the welding inputs (welding wire, shielding gas, etc.) are being properly fed.  Because the area around the weld demonstration is typically quite congested for class sizes more than a few students, using a camera mounted at the welding tip allows the students to clearly view the welding process remotely.  The video can also be replayed back, off-line in the classroom for instruction, marking or review purposes. 

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The Solution: a Xiris XVC-O View Camera for Teaching Welding

 Conclusion

Using a View Cameras in the classroom to teach welding results in:

  • —  A more Enjoyable Learning Experience for the Students
  • —  Less Time Required to Achieve Results
  • —  Reduced Material Consumption
  • —  A Video Library of Standard Applications for Review / Consulting / Analysis
  • —  Easier to Explain New Welding Techniques
  • —  Better Support for Students’ Technical Projects
  • —  Research Tool

Join the growing number of Welding Educational Institutions who have added a Xiris XVC-O View Camera to their classrooms. Improve welding instruction and achieve the numerous benefits!

To read educator's personal testimonials below

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For more information on how Xiris Weld Cameras can augment your welding education program, please visit Xiris.com 

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Topics: remote monitoring, weld camera, weld inspection, Laser welding, Machine Vision, image processing, field of view, welding instruction, Education, High Dynamic Range, laser-based monitoring, image contrast

Xiris at ABB Robotics Technology Days: March 13-14, 2014

Posted by Cornelius Sawatzky on Thursday, February 06, 2014 @ 11:44 AM

Our team at Xiris is looking forward to the upcoming ABB Robotics Technology Days, held on March 13th and 14th, 2014 in Auburn Hills, Michigan. We invite you to join us at the Technology Days and Open House to learn more about developments in the field of Robotics.

The Technology Days event will give individuals the chance to learn about the industry through a variety of seminars and training sessions. Over 80 products demonstrations will be on site throughout the two day event, Xiris’ XVC-O Weld Camera being one of them. The event will also be an excellent opportunity to meet other industry professionals and explore how new technology is being used in a variety of applications, such as Metal Fabrication.

Our team will be presenting during the event, discussing the use of a new camera that is able to accommodate the full range of light present at a weld head during welding. Using a logarithmic HDR camera to monitor the welding or cutting process remotely allows the process to be monitored live while keeping the user out of harm’s way. By providing a good quality image of the weld point, pool and background, the operator can remotely monitor the welding process, verify that the point is in position and monitor that the process is performing well.  Because the area around the Laser or Laser Hybrid weld point is typically quite congested or too dangerous to have an operator directly monitor while under operation, a camera mounted at the welding point allows the operator to view the welding process remotely in a safe environment. Video can also be recorded and stored for auditing, troubleshooting and/or training purposes making the camera system an effective tool in production as well as engineering departments.

Take a look at ABB Robotics Technology Days 2013 in the following video.

 

We hope you will have the chance to join us, and look forward to seeing what this year’s event has in store! To register for the event or learn more, click here for more information. 

Topics: remote monitoring, quality control, weld camera, field of view, High Dynamic Range

The Technology Behind Every Xiris System

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, January 21, 2014 @ 03:42 PM

Every machine vision system developed by Xiris is based upon an internal image processing library developed by Xiris over a 20 year period including thousands of hours of coding and testing.  The library has been built up to include a number of key algorithms to perform specific imaging tasks, and includes a number of tools created for maximum specification.

 Pattern Match Tool

Figure 1: This image demonstrates the capabilities of the Pattern match tool

The Edge Tools are used to very precisely locate single edges or edge pairs in a straight line or along an arc.  Best used for precisely gauging the distance between two edges or object location (finding one or two edges precisely to locate a corner, or feature), the software has been scientifically proven in a lab environment to be accurate to better than 1/20th of a pixel.

The Blob Tool is used to perform shape analysis of randomly oriented objects in an image with over 60 different measured features.  It can be used to determine if object meets specific criteria with individual thresholds available for each parameter to quickly select the features of interest, including: Area, Perimeter, Equivalent Diameter, Centroid, Orientation, Second Moments, Bounding Box, Circularity, Eccentricity and many others.

The Pattern Match (or Search) Tool, as shown above, is used to perform pattern matching by locating two dimensional objects in a very accurate manner (1/4 pixel or better).  The Pattern Match Tool is very useful when trying to find an object in a complex scene. Additionally, this tool can be used to determine how well an object matches its ideal, or golden part. 

Used to identify lighting variations, the Light Meter (or Histogram) Tool monitors overall intensity changes or simple part presence. Another important application of this tool is the modification of the Brightness or Contrast of the overall image.

Print Inspection uses a golden template pattern, built over a series of taught images, to compare with the image under inspection.  The Euclidean distance between each overlaid pixel is analyzed to determine if the image under inspection meets with predefined defect criteria.  During the teaching phase, the tool automatically determines appropriate inspection thresholds for each pixel.

Color Tools can be used to verify or recognize a region of color on a component by comparing the candidate color to a series of pre-taught, or known colors.  The color processing can be done inRGB (Red, Green, Blue), HLS (Hue, Luminance, Saturation), CMYK (Cyan, Magenta, Yellow, Black), XYZ or other color spaces.  These tools are often used for product identification, print image quality, feature analysis.

Symbology Tools help read or verify various types of symbols, including multi-format 1-D and two-D bar codes, as well as Optical Character Verification and Recognition.  Characters can be verified or recognized down to 24x24 pixels in size.

Other tools in our software package include Temporal Tools, which can track position over time, a number of Surface Inspection tools, which range from feature detection to defect classification, and 3D Imaging with the use of Laser Triangulation, used to extract the 3-dimensional shape of a surface

Our other Image Processing Tools are used to enhance an image for the benefit of an operator, including morphology (shape based processing such as erosion/dilation or opening/closing), and neighborhood processing using convolutions, including: Sobel, Averaging, Sharpening, Low Pass, Median, Watershed, and others.

All of these tools were created to help the operator make better decisions based upon what they are able to monitor. By using its own software imaging library in its machine vision systems, Xiris is able to provide custom algorithms to suit some very specific market requirements, achieving greater speed and performance benefits that would be otherwise unavailable were a general purpose imaging library to be used. The customizable nature of this software toolkit makes a Xiris system essential for a variety of applications. 

 

Have an application that could benefit from these tools? Contact us, we always welcome the opportunity to discuss new initiatives! 

 

Topics: remote monitoring, camera selection, quality control, weld camera, weld camera, weld inspection, Machine Vision, image processing, field of view, High Dynamic Range, laser-based monitoring, image contrast

The Anatomy of a Weld: MIG on Carbon Steel

Posted by Cornelius Sawatzky on Tuesday, January 14, 2014 @ 10:20 AM

As the result of recent improvements in electronics, Weld Cameras with High Dynamic Range (HDR) imaging are now able to overcome many of the traditional limitations of weld monitoring. HDR imaging allows operators to remotely monitor clear detail of the brightest weld tip and its dark surrounding background, with a range of brightness that greatly exceeds 1,000,000:1. This brightness range ensures the clarity of images displaying an entire weld scene.

The image below demonstrates the increased brightness range provided by HDR Imaging. It has been taken from a Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera viewing a MIG welding process on carbon steel. Note that with the use of a weld camera, operators are able to see clear images of those elements of the MIG process which are critical to controlling and maintaining a high quality weld.

 MIG on Carbon Steel

A high quality weld relies on a number of variables, including penetration, position, arc stability, speed, and bead configuration.

An integral part of arc stability is maintaining the stability of the wire feed.  An unstable wire feed results in an unstable arc, which causes both higher levels of spatter and uneven weld beads. In the image above, the wire stickout is in the desired position directly over the seam.  Spatter is kept to a minimum, resulting in a clean looking finished weld bead.  With the increased brightness range, the leading edge of the weld pool is clearly visible, and we see that good wetting is taking place.

The use of a weld camera and monitoring software can assist operators in seam positioning by overlaying crosshairs on the view screen. These crosshairs can also be used as a reference point when monitoring the wire stickout and weld pool size.

HDR Imaging also allows operators to easily monitor:

  • Shape, position, and orientation of the torch relative to the parent material and seam.
  • Extent and shape of the shielding gas around the weld arc.  An asymmetrical shape indicates a problem with gas flow.
  • Shape and size of the weld arc. This indicates if the weld head is close enough and if the arc is functioning correctly. A non-symmetric shape or change in shape indicates a change in part alignment.
  • Melt and solidification of the weld pool. Proper melt and solidification indicates the weld is occurring free of impurities
  • Consistency of the weld bead. If the weld bead is free of undercut and there are no sunken welds, it indicates correct parent material melt and alignment to the weld head.
  • Presence of dross or porosity. Impurities indicate metallurgical or gas input problems.

 

Conclusion

A Weld Camera with HDR imagining allows operators to monitor the entire anatomy of a weld, providing clear definition of both the bright region of the arc and the darker background.  Without this capability, the crucial details that influence weld quality and productivity may not be visible to the operator.

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Topics: remote monitoring, quality control, weld camera, High Dynamic Range

Using Weld Cameras to Monitor Pipe Cladding

Posted by Cameron Serles on Friday, December 27, 2013 @ 02:57 PM

New developments in electronics and sensor technology offer fabricators the ability to use specially designed Weld Cameras to monitor the Pipe or Pressure Vessel Cladding process with better clarity than ever before.  A better quality image of the cladding process can provide numerous productivity, quality, and health and safety benefits to the Fabricator. 

A Xiris Weld Camera Configured to Monitor a Pipe Cladding Process

A Xiris Weld Camera Configured to Monitor a Pipe Cladding Process

(Courtesy LJ Automation Ltd.)

While there are many applications where a Weld Camera is an important component of an automated welding process, Pipe or Pressure Vessel Cladding stands out as an application where a Weld Camera is essential.  Often performed in difficult or dangerous working conditions, the cladding process greatly benefits from an operator being able to remotely monitor the process using a Weld Camera.  The environment of the cladding process is often complicated by restricted operating sizes (such as small diameter pipe or pressure vessels), elevated working temperatures (that could reach as high as 700°F) and the need to not only see the definition of the welding arc, but also the detail, position and quality of the weld bead that is generated during the cladding process.

By using a Weld Camera that is equipped with High Dynamic Range capability, the operator can improve the time to setup the welding equipment because adjustments to the welding process can be done while the camera is live.  In the same manner, troubleshooting of the weld process can be done faster as small tweaks in welding parameters can be monitored immediately using a camera.

In certain high value Pressure Vessel applications where precise cladding is essential (e.g. power generation), the ability to record video of the welding process using a Weld Camera helps the fabricator to perform a quality audit and review of their processes

In some inner diameter pipe cladding applications, a Weld Camera is the only way to see the function of the components of the weld process, namely the Weld Tip condition and position relative to the seam, the previous clad layer, the spacing between solidification waves, shielding gas, filler wire and other parameters.  Being able to see all these parameters provides the main benefit of using a Weld Camera:  as an early indicator of defects in the welding process that would not be visible to the operator otherwise.

A Welded Bead Viewed from a Xiris Weld Camera

A Welded Bead Viewed from a Xiris Weld Camera

Conclusion

Using a Weld Camera for Pipe Cladding applications provides fabricators a faster way to setup and troubleshoot their cladding process, as well as maximizes the arc “On-Time” during welding and provides the ability to adjust the weld parameters “on the fly”.  With the ability to record video, the welding operators can also monitor the recorded video of the cladding process offline for quality audits.

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

Sign up to receive our Weld Video of the Month 

Topics: remote monitoring, weld camera, High Dynamic Range, Pipe Cladding

Notes from Fabtech 2013

Posted by Lisa Colling on Thursday, December 12, 2013 @ 04:32 PM

The Fabtech show, held this year at McCormick Place in Chicago, Illinois, is the largest metal forming, fabricating, welding and finishing event in North America and we were pleased to be an exhibitor!

The show had 1,573 exhibitors and a total of 40,667 attendees from all over the world visiting the 650,000 square feet of exhibits.  Xiris had more than 180 companies from 22 countries stop by our booth to see our weld camera system and learn how it could be integrated into their equipment or processes.  In addition we were fortunate to have our cameras demonstrated in a variety of other exhibitor booths including: Airgas/Red-D-Arc, Koike, Praxair and Magnetic Analysis Corporation.

A predominate opinion from the Xiris staff attending the show was the high number of decision makers in attendance this year, which meant concrete conversations took place sounding advancement in the welding industry, including that of weld camera tecXiris Booth at Fabtech 2013hnology and the need for automated weld monitoring systems in their welding processes.

Similar to our experience at the Schweissen & Schneiden show in Essen, a main theme discussed was the trend of the industry towards automating welding processes and in particular ways the inclusion of weld cameras in an automated process can improve safety and productivity. 

 

Observations from the show:

  • New more powerful laser systems growing their market share of the welding and cutting markets by being able to match more and more traditional welding processes’ performance.

  • An increased number, from previous years, of discussions with people who have a definite interest in including weld camera technology in forthcoming projects.

  • Strengthened optimism and excitement about future opportunities and technologies for manufacturing and welding activities.

  • Attendees appreciated being able to experience firsthand any demonstrations of new technologies.  There were numerous automation displays throughout the show demonstrating process enhancement ideas. Automation seems to be one of the major developments in welding with more choices for manufacturers than ever before.

  • Considerable interest in automation’s role in enhancing health and safety conditions in the welding environment.  Particular interest in using cameras to remotely monitor the welding process and thereby improving the work environment for the operators.

  • Fabricators are more aware of, and committed to, improving productivity and safety in the welding environment and are actively seeking new technologies to support these initiatives.

 

Conclusion

We returned from Fabtech encouraged by the quality of attendees and size of the show and reassured that our role as a camera technology provider for automated and semi-automated welding systems is gaining widespread and positive acceptance.  We are excited to see that the welding industry is accelerating its move towards automation and that we are well positioned to meet the new requirements.

Topics: remote monitoring, weld camera, welding automation, Machine Vision

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