Project report. ESAB CUTTING SYSTEMS opts for the Solvido SLC-100P Boxed Camera for thermal cutting processes
Precision machining of different material thicknesses requires, for instance, accurate monitoring of individual production steps. This is the only way that high production quality can be guaranteed. However detailed observation of the cutting process is made more difficult when thermal cutting is used, such as in plasma cutting. The Solvido SLC-100P Boxed Camera delivers the necessary visualisation.
ESAB is one of the leading global producers of welding and cutting systems as well as welding consumables. The company has more than 8,400 employees worldwide with operations on four continents covering 80 sales and service centres and 26 production sites. ESAB CUTTING SYSTEMS is based in Karben near Frankfurt am Main. The company develops and produces cutting machines that efficiently link ultimate cutting quality and high cutting speeds to enable intelligent integration in automated manufacturing processes.
Quality assurance through dynamic observation “We offer different cutting processes according to the machined material and specific customer requirements. For example, one process is plasma cutting – a modern cutting process with an unbeatably low cost-benefit ratio and extremely precise cutting results which is used for plate thicknesses up to 150 millimetres”, explained the head of electrical engineering Marco Seum. This process utilises electrical ionisation of special gases to create a constricted arc that emits high thermal energy which melts the material and drives the melt out of the kerf. The focussed plasma beam enables high-precision processing of all conductible materials such as structural steel, stainless steel and aluminium. But the plasma beam prevents dynamic observation of the kerf during the cutting process. A special video camera is therefore required when the cutting process itself is to be observed. “The extreme lighting and ambient conditions place very high requirements on the camera system”, is how Seum described the situation. The system must compensate for the strong light from the focussed plasma beam to visualise the kerf during the cutting process, and on top of everything else it also has to withstand the high emissions. “After extensive testing we decided to use the SLC-100P from Solvido, as it meets our requirements perfectly.”
Extreme lighting situations – a case for SLC-100P Surrounded by a rugged aluminium housing, the SLC-100P has a Pixim DPS® sensor that delivers high image quality in environments with extremely bright light sources and strong contrasts. The patented “Digital Pixel System® technology (DPS®)” developed jointly by the US Company Pixim and Stanford University enables 388,800 pixels to act in the same way as continuously self-regulating single cameras. As opposed to conventional camera technology that digitalises pictures only after completion of a series of processes, the picture is digitalised immediately with DPS® technology. This is made possible by the integration of an A/D converter (analogue to digital). The chip can therefore assign an optimal illumination time to each individual pixel. This considerably extends the camera’s dynamic range. A further merit of this technology is the strongly reduced occurrence of bright pixels due to a charge overflow into the neighbour pixel. Additionally, there is no highlight effect. Marco Seum expressed satisfaction with the decision to opt for the Solvido boxed camera: “We have already installed the SLC-100P on a number of cutting systems.”