Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A special camera for welding

The idea of using machine vision to monitor and control arc welding is very attractive. If it was possible to see exactly what was going on in the melt pool the process could be automated and variability reduced. The problem though is that the weld arc is by definition, extremely bright. The conventional way of overcoming this is to use a heavy optical density filter, but that means only the arc and not the workpieces is visible.

PhotonFocus have some very high dynamic range cameras, but even they don’t have the range to see everything in the scene, and that’s created an opportunity for a team of entrepreneurial camera specialists.

Massachusetts-based Visible Welding lacks both a sexy name and a slick website, but maybe its better that they let the product do the talking. The product in question is the V2010-UDR Ultra-Dynamic Range Video System. It doesn’t look much but the videos on the website are really most impressive. (I had to download them and then use RealPlayer.)

I should in fairness mention that I only became aware of Visible Welding thanks to a newsletter from PixeLINK. PixeLINK offer a wide range of cameras, generally CMOS-based, so my assumption is that’s what’s at the heart of the V2010-UDR.

Currently the system is intended only for monitoring and review but my feeling is that it’s only a short step to use this to control an automated arc welding cell. If that comes to pass I hope Visible Welding have the intellectual property rights sewn up tight!


Anonymous said...

Other way to look welding is to have brighter light: http://www.cavitar.com/en/

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure if patenting are really appropriate for this problem as there are so many other techniques for videoing welding: