The Xiris Blog

How System Integrators Use Xiris Weld Cameras in Automation

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, June 10, 2014 @ 03:15 PM

Systems integrators who build automated welding processes are always searching for improved business models. There are thousands of small and medium sized automation system integrators around the world that are experts in the industry. This challenges each company to differentiate themselves from their competition, and do so by providing a unique value proposition to their customers.

One of the best ways to gain this competitive advantage is for system integrators to leverage rapidly evolving technology. By applying it to their customer’s welding automation solutions this allows companies to capitalize on an evolving technology, with the goal of improving profitability and efficiency.

An emerging technology that many systems integrators are considering is the use of cameras for monitoring the welding process.  While cameras have been used to monitor welding for years, it is only recently that cameras, such as the Xiris XVC-O Open Arc Weld Camera, have provided enough image clarity that system integrators have considered them a useful tool to provide to customers. 

welding line resized 600

 

Many system integrators face the same challenge:  how to build a system to keep operators from having to be in direct proximity of the automated cell in order to monitor the weld.  Most fabricator customers are increasingly dissatisfied with automated welding solutions that don’t permit operators to monitor the weld remotely.  By providing a camera to monitor the welding process, systems integrators can provide their customers with a valuable production tool.

Adding a camera system to a work cell can help increase welding automation business that might not otherwise be gained by a systems integrator. By removing the operator from the immediate work area of the welding environment there are immense benefits to the customer that would increase demand for a system integrator. For example, instead of multiple operators assigned to multiple production lines to manage rollers, material handling, and welding processes, customers benefit from having one operator per line at one control panel managing it all, increasing productivity, quality and reducing human error.

By introducing weld cameras into automated welding work cells, systems integrators can achieve an abundance of benefits. They will be able to differentiate themselves in the market, expand into new market sectors, improve technical competency, as well as improve the functional excellence of the overall product offering.

Topics: remote monitoring, quality control, weld camera, welding automation, weld environment, Machine Vision, camera placement, field of view, Welding Process, Xiris

How to Remotely View Your Weld Process

Posted by Cameron Serles on Tuesday, March 11, 2014 @ 10:06 AM

Ever since the development of automated welding, operators have needed to be able to monitor the welding process to ensure that all parameters are properly adjusted, that the welding head is properly aligned with the weld seam and work pieces, and that the weld pool, weld bead, and other features are all formed correctly. 

For this, fabricators have long relied on operators to directly view the process using welding helmets and protective screens, which contain a dark green filter to remove most of the harmful content of the radiation coming from a welding arc.

However, with recent advances in electronics, cameras such as the Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera have become equipped with High Dynamic Range imaging capability.  Such cameras can capture images from a weld process across a huge range of brightness, including the bright areas of the weld arc and the darker areas of the background areas around the weld.  With such clarity of image, operators are now able to monitor the cameras from afar rather than having to be close to the welding process.

 

There is Remote Imaging……

So, with such camera technology, how remote do the operators want to be to view their weld process?  Imagine some applications such as ship building, nuclear power plants or large pressure vessels where placing an operator near the welding process is both dangerous and difficult.  In such situations, the farther away the operator can be and still monitor the welding process, the better.

Properly designed electronics allow for a robust image to be transmitted from a camera on an automated welding cell to a display up to 40 m (132 ft) away from the camera.  That allows for the operator to be safely removed from the weld process while still being able to see what is going on.

 

Blog 140311 Remote monitoring resized 600 

Monitoring the Weld From Your Desk

 

….And Then There is Really, Really Remote Imaging….

Sometimes an automated welding cell has been installed in a location where all the stakeholders are not able to see it and monitor it.  Production managers, engineers and senior management may all want to occasionally monitor a critical welding process even though they are on the other side of the world! 

Blog 140311 Remote monitoring 2  

How to do it?  Camera cable lengths have their limits!  The solution is to make the camera system IP addressable so that the video images can be visible anywhere an internet connection can be found.  Xiris has implemented IP addressability on certain models of its XVC-O Weld Cameras so that customers can view the welding process very, very remotely!

 

Conclusion

Whether you want to be a short distance away from the welding process, or on the opposite side of the world, there is a way to be able to see what is going on with your welding process as long as you use the right type of camera equipment for monitoring the welding process, such as the Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera system.

  

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

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Topics: remote monitoring, quality control, weld camera, welding automation, weld environment, Machine Vision, image processing, Welding Process, High Dynamic Range

Using a Weld Camera for High-Temperature Pipe Cladding

Posted by Cameron Serles on Friday, November 29, 2013 @ 04:43 PM

For certain types of pipe cladding operations, fabricators have to preheat the parent metal in order to achieve better cohesion between the cladding and the base pipe material.

With inside-diameter (ID) cladding, this heating means that the inside of the pipe becomes too hot—often well over 500° F (260°C)—for direct monitoring of the cladding application by the operator. The space inside the pipe is also often limited, with pipes as small as 4 inches commonly requiring in ID cladding.

The XVC-O Weld Camera can provide remote weld monitoring in extremely hot weld environments.A Weld Camera is the ideal solution for monitoring ID cladding because it can fit in a narrow pipe and provide an image that can be viewed remotely by the operator. If the Weld Camera is equipped with High Dynamic Range imaging technology —an essential feature for advanced Weld Cameras—it can provide operators with real-time, high-quality images of the weld process characteristics.

But the extreme heat present in the pipe also presents a challenge for Weld Cameras. To withstand the high temperatures often found in ID cladding, Weld Cameras need special design considerations to prevent overheating.

To meet this challenge, Xiris has engineered a cooling kit that consists of a cool-air generator and a thermal blanket enclosing the camera and cables. We tested the Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera inside this kit, exposed to over 300° C  (approximately 600° F) for  the better part of a day—and the XVC-O kept its temperature at about 30° C  (86° F), well within safe operating range of the camera.

This cooling kit enables fabricators to use the XVC-O to view welding processes such as high-temperature ID cladding to make necessary in-process adjustments, when it would otherwise be impossible to sufficiently monitor the weld quality. In ID cladding, the cooling kit is key to unlocking the benefits of the XVC-O and its High Dynamic Range imaging technology.

Conclusion

Weld Cameras with High Dynamic Range imaging can provide operators with a clear, high-detail view of weld features so they can use their experience and judgment to make cost-saving, quality-enhancing adjustments. But in ID pipe cladding or any other welding application in a high-temperature environment (e.g., oil and gas operations, nuclear power plants), Weld Cameras need a special cooling solution to keep the camera within safe operating temperature.

Xiris has developed such a solution for its XVC-O Weld Camera, allowing it to be installed in a diverse range of welding applications. 

 

Image courtesy of Kilom691, Creative Commons.

Topics: camera selection, weld camera, weld environment, High Dynamic Range, Tube and Pipe welding

Using a Weld Camera in High-Humidity Environments

Posted by Cameron Serles on Thursday, November 28, 2013 @ 07:35 PM

Some welding applications must be done in high-humidity conditions that can cause problems for Weld Cameras.

Because of the heat around the weld arc, a Weld Camera must be cooled during operation. In a high-humidity environment such as a jungle location, the high humidity results in condensation forming on the lines that flow cool air into the camera to accomplish the cooling. If the Weld Camera isn’t waterproof, the condensation can run along the air lines into the camera’s electrical components, causing shorting or oxidation.

Condensation on a Weld Camera's cooling lines can cause damage to the camera.Outdoor welding is a common reason for high humidity. In addition, other types of welding such as that done on Tube or Pipe mills, where a large amount of water/oil coolant is used, also create high humidity around the weld camera.

Whatever the cause, when using a Weld Camera in such an environment, a sealed housing to waterproof the camera is essential for ensuring long-term operation.

For the Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera—which features state-of-the-art High Dynamic Range imaging to help operates better see critical details of a weld—we designed a rugged, enclosed housing that’s IP67-rated and therefore able to resist water, smoke and other ambient particulates found in the immediate area of a weld process.

We recently visited a customer site where this sealed housing was desperately needed. The customer was welding in Southeast Asia—a jungle environment where the humidity was 100 percent and the ambient temperature was a steamy 35° C (95° F). Predictably, they had a problem with condensation running down the cooling lines used to cool their production equipment.

However, the Weld Cameras stayed completely dry and functioning properly despite the fact that they were covered in moisture. The water-resistant housing allowed the customer to gain the many advantages of XVC-O Weld Cameras, without putting the cameras at risk of damage in a high-humidity environment.

Conclusion

Welding in adverse environmental conditions such as high humidity does not mean that you can’t use a Weld Camera without subjecting it to harmful water exposure. Xiris’ XVC-O Weld Camera can safely and effectively operate in the most-humid environments in the world and has the experience to prove it! 

 

Image courtesy of Muffet, Creative Commons.

Topics: camera selection, weld camera, weld environment

Using Weld Cameras to Monitor Pipe Cladding

Posted by Lisa Colling on Friday, November 15, 2013 @ 10:10 AM

Thanks to new developments in electronics and sensor technology, fabricators can now use specially designed Weld Cameras to monitor the pipe or pressure-vessel cladding process with better clarity than ever before. 

The higher-quality images of these Weld Cameras can provide numerous productivity, quality, and health and safety benefits to fabricators—as Xiris’ president, Cameron Serles, will explain at Fabtech 2013 on Tuesday, Nov.19, 2013.

Serles and Rob Stewart of LJ Welding Automation will be discussing the use of Weld Cameras for pipe cladding as part of Fabtech’s “Inspecting and Troubleshooting Welded Tube” education session. Several images and video clips of challenging pipe cladding applications will be shown, highlighting features of interest in the welding process and how they were successfully monitored using Xiris’ advanced Weld Cameras, the Xiris XVC-O and XVC-S.

 

ID pipe cladding shown using Xiris Weld Camera with High Dynamic Range imaging.

XVC-O Image of TIG Pipe Cladding

 

While Weld Cameras are highly valuable in many applications, pipe cladding stands out as an application where a Weld Camera is essential. Often performed in difficult or hazardous working conditions, the cladding process benefits greatly from an operator being able to remotely monitor it 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.
  • 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, as well as its position relative to a previous clad layer.

However, Weld Cameras have traditionally produced poor-quality images that hampered their effectiveness. Fortunately, that technological limitation has been overcome with better technology so that the best Weld Cameras can now provide images with a degree of quality that enables operators to make in-process adjustments that enhance productivity and quality.

As to be discussed in a case study as part of the Fabtech presentation, LJ Automation has used both the XVC-O and XVC-S in creating a high-volume, heavy wall double-jointing pipe system for offshore riser pipe fabrication.

For the pulsed MIG root pass, LJ used the XVC-O Weld Camera, which features High Dynamic Range imaging. This technology allows operators to clearly see all the details of the weld scene, including both the extremely bright region of the open arc and the much-darker background region, without saturation.

 

LJ Automation system process shown in weld image captured by Xiris' XVC-O Weld Camera.

LJ System Seen Via XVC-O Weld Camera

 

For the Submerged Arc Weld fill, LJ used the XVC-S, a specially designed low-light Weld Camera that provides high-quality, color images of the dim environment of the SAW process.

LJ reports that its system tripled productivity on the case-study project, reducing cycle times from eight hours to less than three hours!

Conclusion

Weld Cameras with the latest technology can provide fabricators with numerous benefits in pipe cladding, including:

  • Greater visibility of the seam and other weld details.
  • Early detection of defects.
  • The capability for “on the fly” adjustments.
  • Increased arc “on-time.”
  • Faster weld head set-up.
  • Improved safety and health.
  • A video record for troubleshooting, training, and process improvement.  

Xiris is pleased to join LJ to discuss these benefits at Fabtech. If you’re attending, we hope you’ll attend the education session on Nov. 19 from 1:30 pm to 3:30 pm in room S405B, as well as stop by the Xiris exhibit at booth #N2217.

If you’re not going to be at Fabtech, please call 905.331.6660 ext. 258 or email us at sales@xiris.com to set up a personal demonstration of a Xiris Weld Camera.

Topics: remote monitoring, weld camera, weld environment, Tube and Pipe welding

High Temperatures? No Problem for the XVC-O Weld Camera

Posted by Dean Zhao on Friday, November 08, 2013 @ 02:49 PM

Some specialized welding processes, such as Orbital Welding processes used at nuclear power generation facilities, are done in a high-temperature environment where the base metal is often preheated to over 260° C (500° F) to ensure proper welding occurs. To be able to properly monitor the process, a Weld Camera should be used, but it has to be able to operate in the high-temperature environment.

To make sure the Xiris XVC-O Weld Camera could operate under such conditions, we put it to the test in our laboratory.

We placed the XVC-O in a high-temperature cooling kit that included a thermal blanket and air cooling, and then we subjected it to a temperature of 278° C (532° F) for four hours in a heat chamber.

 

The Xiris Weld Camera with High Dynamic Range imaging is placed in a heat chamber for testing.

Cooking the XVC-O!

 

By applying cooling air into the cooling unit, we kept the interior of the XVC-O within a comfortable operating temperature of less than 40°C (104°F) through the entire four hours using only 0.275 m3/minute (roughly 9 CFM) of airflow —more air could have kept the camera even cooler.

 

The Xiris XVC-O stays cool in extreme heat using a cooling kit.

Our Cooling Kit kept the XVC-O at below 40° C.

 

The result of our experiment proves what we expected— that an XVC-O equipped with such a cooling kit will be able to function effectively over long periods of time, even in the excessively high temperatures of nuclear power generation facilities.

This is good news for the nuclear power industry because the harsh environment inside nuclear facilities calls for Weld Cameras to be used to monitor the welding process, so that operators can monitor welds from a safe, remote location, away from higher levels of radiation. 

If the weld camera has High Dynamic Range imaging capability (such as the XVC-O), operators can clearly view in real time the entire visual range of the weld scene, including both the super-bright arc and the much darker background. This enhanced weld visibility can facilitate substantial productivity and quality assurance improvements to the welding process.

The high-temperature testing we did in preparation for the XVC-O’s use in nuclear facilities is just one example of Xiris’s commitment to continually testing our products to ensure they work in the most extreme of welding conditions. You can also read our blog on how the XVC-O performed when we tested it in extreme cold.

Topics: remote monitoring, camera selection, weld camera, weld environment

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