The Xiris Blog

Inspecting Metal Sheath on High Voltage Cables

Posted by Emily Blackborow 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, consistent, weld camera system, tube, Tube and Pipe welding, WI-2000p, manufacturing, weld inspection

Triggering Weld Cameras from a MIG Process

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, February 07, 2019 @ 11:00 AM

MIG processes, particularly short circuit MIG, will generate a huge range in brightness during their metal transfer cycle:  when the arc is extinguished as the wire makes contact with the parent material prior to expulsion, the image can be quite dark. However, after an explusion occurs and the arc is re-established, the image may be very bright as the arc intensifies to its maximum.

Using a camera to acquire images of a MIG weld process in free running mode can be problematic when the amount of light present in the image varies considerably. The variation in light is based on when during the metal transfer process the image exposure takes place: when the arc is extinguished, the image will be dark; when there is a full arc, there will be a bright image. However, if the camera acquisition is triggered by an electrical pulse generated by the camera power supply, the result will be a consistent image of the weld process that is repeatable because it is at the same point of the weld cycle.

Image4

(courtesy ESAB Group, Inc.)

A few words about how Short Circuit MIG and certain other kinds of MIG welding function:

  • Wire is fed continuously and makes contact with the workpiece to complete the electrical circuit.
  • At the point of contact, a short circuit occurs, resulting in a huge spike of current moving through the wire between the torch and the workpiece.
  • At point of wire contacting the workpiece, arc gets extinguished.
  • Segment of wire rapidly vaporizes under high current and an arc gets re-established.
  • Current falls as there is no short circuit.
  • Process repeats.

In a constant voltage welding power supply, the current being fed to the torch can rise and fall based on the metal transfer process. When there is a gap between the wire and the workpiece, the conducting current is low, and increases as the wire begins to touch the workpiece and create a short circuit. Then, once the wire tip explodes, the current falls as there is no conducting circuit. The plot of the current levels look something like this:

 Image3

(courtesy ESAB Group, Inc.)

While capturing the welding process to see certain features, it is sometimes interesting to only take images at a certain point in the metal transfer cycle. Rather than using a weld camera in free running mode where image acquisition is based on the clock cycles inside the camera, an efficient alternative is to use an external trigger that is based on the current levels present in the welding power supply.  If a circuit can be designed to generate a trigger signal based on the rising edge of the current level, then the trigger could be used to initiate image acquisition, resulting in video with an increased consistentency in brightness and quality because each frame will be acquired at precisely the same point in the metal transfer process. 

Further enhancement to the performance of the imaging process is possible by tweaking exactly when the images are acquired through adding a delay.  A delay can be added after the trigger signal is generated so that the exact imaging characteristic can be seen.

For example, imagine wanting to see only images of the metal transfer process after the weld arc is extinguished.  To do this, a trigger signal should be generated based on the current pulses coming from the weld power supply.  It may not be possible to receive the trigger at the ideal point in the metal transfer process, so a programmable delay can be added to make sure that the image acquisition occurs at exactly the right point.

With Triggering:

Image2Image1

Successive Snapshots of a MIG Welding Process Triggered from the Rising Edge of Welding Power Supply’s Current Pulse

The above two successive images show a MiG process at roughly the same point of the metal transfer process over different cycles of the metal transfer.  In this case, the imaging was tuned to see exactly what the viewer wanted to see: the melt pool fully visible with the welding arc present.

In Summary

Imaging a MIG welding process can be fairly difficult if using a weld camera in free running mode.  However, if a circuit can be designed to clamp on the rising edge of the current pulse, it can provide an excellent trigger to use to acquire consistent images at similar points in the metal transfer cycle.  The result is much more uniform images with similar brightness levels, allowing for better analysis and increased efficiency of the welding process. 

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: quality control, weld camera system, reduced costs, mig welding, MIG process, consistent, HDR, image processing

Using Weld Cameras to Enable a Continuous Coil Joining Process

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, January 10, 2019 @ 01:00 PM

Xiris’ High Dynamic Range (HDR) welding cameras can be used in a multitude of ways, some of which our customers have discovered on their own.

For example, a manufacturer of thick-walled steel pipe recently figured out how to use our cameras in a way that has greatly improved the efficiency of their coil joining process.

Operators only have about 10 minutes to end-sheer, mate, and weld coils during the semi-automatic front-end part of the process. The cost of coil joint failure is high, so the manufacturer would stop the tube mill to check on the integrity of the coil joint before continuing.

Even though the stoppage prevented more-costly failures, it had its own cost. What our customer needed was a way to adequately monitor the end joining in the infeed buffer of the pipe mill without having to stop the process to assure correct coil matching.

They knew the capabilities of our cameras to enable real-time remote monitoring of weld processes with greater visibility than ever before possible. So they developed a plan to use Xiris XVC-110e50 cameras to monitor the coil joining during the front end of the process. This monitoring eliminates the need for routine stoppages.

This solution also keeps operators safer. Coil joining is performed using a MIG welding torch mounted onto a linear track with dual-axis torch position. Previously, operators had to be close enough to the torch to see what was happening with the weld. With the Xiris HDR cameras, they have a clear view of the coil joining process from a safe remote location.

With their creative use of our HDR camera technology, this manufacturer was able to significantly reduce the time and cost of coil joining, while increasing consistency.

For a video of the coil joining process taken by the XVC-1100e50 camera, please view the video below

Coil Joining Video 

Better Images. Better Decisions. Better Process Control.

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Topics: tube mill, tube, quality control, coil joining, weld camera system, reduced costs

Xiris Automation: Let Our Customers Do the Talking!

Posted by Margaret Montgomery on Thursday, September 13, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

Our weld camera and tube & pipe inspection systems are only part of the solution we provide to our customers. 

Xiris Automation also had an exceptional service team which supports the integration of our products into several different processes and applications around the world. 

Not only is our service team available to answer questions about product functionality, system operation and integration, but they have also proven to be crucial when helping in situations when cameras or equipment are damaged during the manufacturing process and require a quick repair. One customer recently recounted an incident "when a series of events on-and off-shift led to improper re-assembly of a damaged camera cable", and:

"Xiris' service team proved to be as exceptional in their response as their equipment has been in its welding process role."

                   - Brian Dobben, Flowserve Corporation

You can read Brian's blog on valuable new technologies in arc vision for welding here.

As Brian says, Xiris' technical support team travels worldwide to help customers onsite with installation and training issues after they have purchased a product from Xiris directly, in order to help make the application of our products smooth and painless. Our technical support team often deals with cases that are unique to the customers' particular welding environment, answering any inquiries often the same day of the inquiry, when received during regular working hours. When a service request comes in, Xiris employees simulate the customer's issue on in-house equipment, answering questions about how to set up the equipment to get the best view of the welding process. 

tech support

A Xiris tech support employee working on an industrial computer.

In short, Xiris Automation not only provides innovative products for the fabricating and steel production industries, it also backs up those products with a team of experienced service professionals who are determined to make every customer satisfied with their user experience!

 

Topics: weld camera system, color weld camera, productivity, Tube and Pipe welding

Using High Dynamic Range Cameras for Slip-Ring Applications

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, August 16, 2018 @ 12:00 PM

If you use slip rings and rotating torches in cladding, there now is a way that you can see the welding process much more clearly than ever before.

Xiris has successfully tested our XVC-1000 and XVC-1000e weld cameras on rotating welding machines using slip rings—and the cameras work perfectly!  Unlike other cameras with electrical noise interferences, the Xiris Weld Cameras are not affected by the electrical noise and interferences common with running video over a slip ring.

Even Over a Slip Ring Connection, Xiris Weld Camera Maintains a Noise Free Image

Slip rings are electromechanical devices that are designed to pass electrical signals from a rotary source (such as a weld camera mounted next to one or more torches that rotate around the inside of a part) to a stationary receiver (such as a computer which receives the video data from the cameras). They are devices that allow for the transmission of an electrical signal and power.  By employing a metal brush that rubs against a rotating metal ring, the video signal coming from the camera travels through the connection, avoiding the use of solid cables that could potentially twist indefinitely until damaged.

Weld cameras are making their way into a variety of cladding operations.  However, it is very difficult to monitor cladding on the inside of the pipe, especially when the pipe stays stationary and the torch rotates.  This can be a problem for a standard connection: as the torch rotates continuously, cables cannot withstand very many rotations before they break.  Therefore, the use of slip rings would be a natural solution.  However, slip rings typically are used for motor signals and power, applications that are a little more tolerant of electrical noise than video signals.  Typical industrial cameras haven’t worked well with slip rings because their analog signals are not resistant to electrical noise.

The problem is that cladding is typically done using a TIG welding process, which is notorious for generating lots of electrical noise that can kill standard electronics due to its high-frequency starts.

But the Xiris weld cameras don’t die or short-circuit from high-frequency welding noise, even with a slip ring.  Our cameras and the welding machine keep working together when used with a slip ring—allowing operators to remotely see high dynamic range (HDR) images of their cladding process, in real time, on a computer screen, remotely.  The Xiris weld cameras with HDR capability permit operators to see both the super-bright weld arc and its dark surrounding background, with no need to stop the process.

We’ve tested our HDR weld cameras on slip-ring applications numerous times, and the advanced electronics in the cameras have repeatedly been up to the task. We’d be glad to demonstrate on your set-up.

This is new technology, but it’s ready now to improve the efficiency of your rotating-torch cladding.

Topics: weld camera system, cladding, Pipe Cladding, pipe, Slip Ring, TIG, TIG welding, tig torch

An Eye Into the Future: Weld Cameras in the Classroom

Posted by Margaret Montgomery on Thursday, July 19, 2018 @ 10:00 AM

Xiris's XVC-1100 kit and XVC-1000e HDR weld cameras are transforming the way aspiring weld operators are taught. 

Xiris Cameras an Asset in the Classroom

The XVC-1100 weld camera kit, which is being used at the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT), enables students and instructors alike to capture and save videos of their welds. During instruction, the XVC-1100 allows students to see what the instructor is doing on a large, projected screen- rather than having to crowd around the instructor performing the weld. During practical work, students are able to perform a weld and save the recorded video so that they can review their weld and technique after they are finished.

 20180601_113704 enhanced

The Xiris XVC-1100 camera installation at SAIT Polytechnic enables students to film and review their welds.

The XVC-1000e weld camera is being used at Santa Anna College. The camera is mounted directly on a weld robot, similar to how welding occurs in many manufacturing environments today-thereby providing students with correct training in the welding techniques they'll use in the workplace once they graduate.  

The XVC-1100 and XVC-1000e cameras both feature adjustable optics. With a tightly focused view, students can see the interaction taking place between the wire fed metal and the parent material as well as a clear view of the weld arc and the resulting melt pool. When the camera is configured with a larger view of the welding process and its coupon, the student can see all the motion during the weld process so they can learn the hand and torch positioning techniques from the instructor. 

Both types of cameras allow welding instructors to demonstrate to their students good and bad welds- and what determines the difference between a good and bad weld.

As weld cameras increasingly become a standard tool in welding processes of all types, their use in welding education is becoming an important step in the training of the next generation of welders. Not only do the cameras help students learn the basics of welding, bringing cameras into the classroom provides another way for students to learn welding adopt new technologies in their future professions. 

This is why the use of the Xiris Weld Cameras in instructional settings will continue to grow.

Our XVC Evaluation Kit for educators includes everything instructors need to record and playback their welding processes, including cables, an assortment of lenses, and more. 

If you are interested in learning more about our company and products or using our weld cameras, please contact us here.

Topics: weld camera system, weld camera, welding education, welding course

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