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Add-on software extends weld seam tracking capabilities
Add-on software extends weld seam tracking capabilitiesKeywords: Seam tracking, Machine vision
Suitable for all welding processes and seam types, Meta Vision Systems' Laser Probe vision-based seam tracking system senses and compensates for any deviation from a programmed weld path. To extend the system's capabilities further, the company has introduced a suite of new, Windows-based software options called Laser Probe Tools. They support a variety of functions, including performance evaluation, general system configuration and automatic process adjustments (see Plate 5).
If production line downtime is critical, the decision as to whether or not the sensor head needs replacing can be taken quickly, using a "diagnostics" module that allows sensor head status and information to be displayed.
"Load and save picture data" enables the user to save captured images to disc and recall them to the window, a useful feature when operators are resetting the system for a different, repeat component. Instead of going through a full set-up process, a saved image may be recalled and the system simply reset. Furthermore, when setting up to produce a component for the first time, the picture can be e-mailed to Meta where engineers are available to review the application and offer advice.
Designed to give users of vision-based weld seam tracking equipment a facility that tactile system users have traditionally enjoyed, "vertical search" software extends the capabilities of Laser Probe by driving the motorised slides towards the seam until the sensor is at a preset standoff distance. This is particularly useful if the height tolerance of the part is greater than the sensor's depth of field.
The measurement and display capability of the system may be expanded by adding an extra seam type, such as a butt joint, in which case the side gap and height mismatch is measured instead of the end to end gap. It is possible to display the values on the operator pendant with this "dimension measurement" module.
Finally, "auto start and retract" affords a user the ability to drive the system through its programmed sequence at the start or finish of the weld run, or in the event of an error. Examples of the use of this feature are to retract the slides on completion of the weld, or to home the slides to limit switch positions.
Contact: Dr Andrew Pryce, Sales and Marketing Director, Meta Vision Systems Ltd, Oakfield House, Oakfield Industrial Estate, Eynsham, Oxfordshire OX8 1TH. Tel: 01865 887900; Fax: 01865 887901; E-mail: email@example.com