METHOD FOR DETECTING SHAPE OF BUTT JOINT OF WELDED STEEL PIPE, AND QUALITY CONTROL METHOD AND APPARATUS FOR WELDED STEEL PIPES USING THE SHAPE DETECTING METHOD

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First Claim
1. A method for detecting a shape of a butt joint of a welded steel pipe based on geometric coordinate data of a specific detection range including the butt joint, the geometric coordinate data being obtained by scanning the specific detection range using a noncontact means and being projected on a twodimensional plane, the method comprising:
 selecting, from the geometric coordinate data, coordinates of a start point and an end point of the specific detection range, a first selected point located between the start point and the butt joint, and a second selected point located between the butt joint and the end point;
calculating a first approximate circle that includes the start point, the end point, and the first selected point, and a second approximate circle that includes the start point, the end point, and the second selected point; and
averaging the first approximate circle and the second approximate circle so as to calculate an imaginary circle, calculating, as a difference value, a maximum deviation of the first approximate circle or the second approximate circle from the imaginary circle in a thickness direction of the welded steel pipe within the specific detection range, and using the difference value as an index representing the shape of the butt joint.
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Abstract
The present invention provides a method for detecting a shape of a butt joint of a welded steel pipe. A specific detection range including a butt joint of a welded steel pipe is scanned with a noncontact means to obtain geometric coordinate data. Coordinates of a start point and an end point of the specific detection range, a first selected point located between the start point and the butt joint, and a second selected point located between the butt joint and the end point are selected from the geometric coordinate data. A first approximate circle including the start point, the end point, and the first selected point, and a second approximate circle including the start point, the end point, and the second selected point are calculated. A deviation between the first and the second approximate circles is used as an index representing the shape of the butt joint.
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9 Claims
 1. A method for detecting a shape of a butt joint of a welded steel pipe based on geometric coordinate data of a specific detection range including the butt joint, the geometric coordinate data being obtained by scanning the specific detection range using a noncontact means and being projected on a twodimensional plane, the method comprising:
selecting, from the geometric coordinate data, coordinates of a start point and an end point of the specific detection range, a first selected point located between the start point and the butt joint, and a second selected point located between the butt joint and the end point; calculating a first approximate circle that includes the start point, the end point, and the first selected point, and a second approximate circle that includes the start point, the end point, and the second selected point; and averaging the first approximate circle and the second approximate circle so as to calculate an imaginary circle, calculating, as a difference value, a maximum deviation of the first approximate circle or the second approximate circle from the imaginary circle in a thickness direction of the welded steel pipe within the specific detection range, and using the difference value as an index representing the shape of the butt joint.  View Dependent Claims (4)
 2. A method for detecting a shape of a butt joint of a welded steel pipe based on geometric coordinate data of a specific detection range including the butt joint, the geometric coordinate data being obtained by scanning the specific detection range using a noncontact means and being projected on a twodimensional plane, the method comprising:
selecting, from the geometric coordinate data, coordinates of a start point and an end point of the specific detection range, a first selected point located between the start point and the butt joint, and a second selected point located between the butt joint and the end point; calculating a first approximate circle that includes the start point, the end point, and the first selected point, and a second approximate circle that includes the start point, the end point, and the second selected point; and calculating a distance between a center of the first approximate circle and a center of the second approximate circle, and using the distance as an index representing the shape of the butt joint.  View Dependent Claims (3, 5, 6)
 7. A quality control apparatus for welded steel pipes, the apparatus comprising:
a noncontact means comprising; a light projecting unit configured to irradiate a specific detection range including a butt joint of a welded steel pipe with a fanshaped light beam or to scan the specific detection range with a spot light beam; and a data output unit configured to receive light reflected from the specific detection range irradiated or scanned with the light beam from the light projecting unit and to output, based on the reflected light, geometric coordinate data representing changes in position and shape of the butt joint; and an arithmetic processor comprising; an approximate circle calculating/processing unit configured to select, from the geometric coordinate data obtained by the noncontact means, coordinates of a start point and an end point of the specific detection range, a first selected point located between the start point and the butt joint, and a second selected point located between the butt joint and the end point, to calculate a first approximate circle that includes the start point, the end point, and the first selected point, and a second approximate circle that includes the start point, the end point, and the second selected point, and to average the first approximate circle and the second approximate circle so as to calculate an imaginary circle and calculate, as a difference value, a maximum deviation of the first approximate circle or the second approximate circle from the imaginary circle in a thickness direction of the welded steel pipe; and a judgment processing unit configured to compare the difference value calculated by the approximate circle calculating/processing unit, with a predetermined threshold value, so as to judge whether the shape of the butt joint of the welded steel pipe is acceptable or not.
 8. A quality control apparatus for welded steel pipes, the apparatus comprising:
a noncontact means comprising; a light projecting unit configured to irradiate a specific detection range including a butt joint of a welded steel pipe with a fanshaped light beam or to scan the specific detection range with a spot light beam; and a data output unit configured to receive light reflected from the specific detection range irradiated or scanned with the light beam from the light projecting unit and to output, based on the reflected light, geometric coordinate data representing changes in position and shape of the butt joint; and an arithmetic processor comprising; an approximate circle calculating/processing unit configured to select, from the geometric coordinate data obtained by the noncontact means, coordinates of a start point and an end point of the specific detection range, a first selected point located between the start point and the butt joint, and a second selected point located between the butt joint and the end point, to calculate a first approximate circle that includes the start point, the end point, and the first selected point, and a second approximate circle that includes the start point, the end point, and the second selected point, and to calculate a distance between a center of the first approximate circle and a center of the second approximate circle; and a judgment processing unit configured to compare the distance calculated by the approximate circle calculating/processing unit, with a predetermined threshold value, so as to judge whether the shape of the butt joint of the welded steel pipe is acceptable or not.  View Dependent Claims (9)
1 Specification
The present invention relates mainly to a method for detecting the shape of a butt joint of a welded steel pipe, and a quality control method and apparatus for welded steel pipes using the shape detecting method.
A welded steel pipe is produced by forming a steel sheet into an open pipe with abutting edges by roll forming and then welding the edges. If the abutting edges are not precisely aligned with each other before the welding, this misalignment results in a stepped surface of the welded “butt joint”. If the height of the step is greater than a predetermined value, the welded steel pipe is judged to be defective. For example, when the height of the step at the butt joint is 0.5% or more of the diameter of the steel pipe, the pipe is judged to be defective.
In a conventional method for detecting such a step, the surface profile of a steel pipe is measured using a noncontact optical sensor or the like, and the profile data is processed to detect a step at the butt joint. In this method, however, a profile data processing technique to be applied is chosen in the expectation that the shape of the step at the butt joint can be observed as a relatively sudden change in gradient from the smooth circular arc of the base material. On the other hand, due to recent advances in steel pipe production technology, the shape of steps at butt joints has changed and their profiles have become smoother. In some profiles, no particularly marked change in gradient from the rest of the base material is observed. In other words, even if a butt joint has a step, the conventional method cannot identify the step as a step and thus cannot judge such a defective pipe as defective.
For example, Patent Literature 1 below discloses the following method (socalled “reference matching”), as a technique capable of solving the abovementioned problem. In this method: the surface of a steel pipe is irradiated with a fanshaped light beam or scanned with a spot light beam while the steel pipe is rotated in a circumferential direction; the irradiating fanshaped sheet of light or the scanning light spot applied to the surface of the steel pipe is detected as an image signal; the detected image signal is subjected to image processing such as removal of noises, restoration of missing parts, and correction of inclination, to obtain imageprocessed data; thereafter, circular arc data is obtained by fitting a segment of a previously detected circle representing the outer peripheral surface of the steel pipe to the imageprocessed data and a difference between the imageprocessed data and the circular arc data is obtained; and when the resulting difference data exceeds a predetermined threshold value for bead detection, it is judged that a ridge corresponding to a weld bead is formed, the width of a range exceeding the threshold value is calculated, and when the width of the range is equal to a bead width within a predetermined tolerance, the ridge is judged to be a weld bead and the position of the ridge is calculated as a weld bead position (corresponding to a butt joint).
In this method, image data obtained using a light section method is not directly used, but this image data is subjected to preprocessing, such as removal of noises and restoration of missing parts, to obtain an accurate image, and it is judged, based on this image, whether a step is formed or not, by a circular arc fitting technique. Thus, even if the step at the butt joint has a smooth profile, it can be detected with high accuracy.
[PTL 1] Japanese Patent No. 3046530
However, the abovedescribed conventional technique has the following drawbacks.
More specifically, the reference matching method disclosed in Patent Literature 1 above requires a highspeed data processor or a complex mechanism because the previously detected circular arc data of the surface of a steel pipe must be stored as reference data, the image signal obtained by irradiating the surface of the steel pipe with a predetermined light beam need be subjected to image processing such as removal of noises, restoration of missing parts, and correction of inclination, and then a difference between a large amount of data generated by the image processing and the reference data need be calculated.
It is therefore a primary object of the present invention to provide a method for detecting the shape of a butt joint of a welded steel pipe, in which a step at the butt joint of the welded steel pipe can be detected with high accuracy even if the step has a smooth profile, without the need for a highspeed data processor or a complex mechanism. It is another object of the present invention to provide a quality control method and apparatus for welded steel pipes, in which a defective steel pipe having an unacceptable step at a butt joint beyond an acceptable level for quality control can be found without fail using the abovementioned shape detecting method.
In order to achieve the above objects, according to a first aspect of the present invention, a method for detecting a shape of a butt joint 12 of a welded steel pipe 10 is configured as follows, for example, as shown in
A shape of a butt joint 12 of a welded steel pipe 10 is detected based on geometric coordinate data L of a specific detection range including the butt joint 12. The geometric coordinate data L is obtained by scanning the specific detection range using a noncontact means 14 and is projected on a twodimensional plane.
Coordinates of a start point A and an end point D of the specific detection range, a first selected point B located between the start point A and the butt joint 12, and a second selected point C located between the butt joint 12 and the end point D are selected from the geometric coordinate data L.
A first approximate circle α1 that includes the start point A, the end point D, and the first selected point B, and a second approximate circle α2 that includes the start point A, the end point D, and the second selected point C are calculated.
The first approximate circle α1 and the second approximate circle α2 are averaged so as to calculate an imaginary circle V. A maximum deviation of the first approximate circle α1 or the second approximate circle α2 from the imaginary circle V in a thickness direction of the welded steel pipe 10 within the specific detection range is calculated as a difference value T1, and the difference value T1 is used as an index representing the shape of the butt joint 12.
According to a second aspect of the present invention, a method for detecting a shape of a butt joint 12 of a welded steel pipe 10 is configured as follows, for example, as shown in
A shape of a butt joint 12 of a welded steel pipe 10 is detected based on geometric coordinate data L of a specific detection range including the butt joint 12. The geometric coordinate data L is obtained by scanning the specific detection range using a noncontact means 14 and is projected on a twodimensional plane.
Coordinates of a start point A and an end point D of the specific detection range, a first selected point B located between the start point A and the butt joint 12, and a second selected point C located between the butt joint 12 and the end point D are selected from the geometric coordinate data L.
A first approximate circle α1 that includes the start point A, the end point D, and the first selected point B, and a second approximate circle α2 that includes the start point A, the end point D, and the second selected point C are calculated.
A distance T2 between a center O1 of the first approximate circle α1 and a center O2 of the second approximate circle α2 is calculated, and the distance T2 is used as an index representing the shape of the butt joint 12.
The second aspect of the present invention includes the following.
Instead of the distance T2 between the center O1 of the first approximate circle α1 and the center O2 of the second approximate circle α2, a differential distance T3 in an Xaxis direction between the center O1 of the first approximate circle α1 and the center O2 of the second approximate circle α2 and a differential distance T4 in a Zaxis direction between the center O1 and the center O2 are used as indices representing the shape of the butt joint 12.
The first and second aspects of the present invention have the following effects, for example.
When the geometric coordinate data L within the specific detection range is divided into two quadrants along the butt joint 12 as the boundary between the quadrants to calculate the first approximate circle α1 and the second approximate circle α2 corresponding, respectively, to these quadrants, an arithmetic operation is performed using only three coordinate points for each of the first and second approximate circles. Thus, the speed of the arithmetic operation can be increased.
In addition, unlike the conventional reference matching method, the present method neither requires reference data nor performs complex arithmetic operations such as image processing, but instead, uses the coordinate data of the first approximate circle α1 and that of the second approximate circle α2 calculated as described above, as data required for judging the shape of the butt joint 12. Thus, there is no need for a highspeed data processor or a complex mechanism.
A third aspect of the present invention is a quality control method for welded steel pipes 10 using the method for detecting a shape of a butt joint 12 of a welded steel pipe 10 according to the first aspect of the present invention. In this method, “the difference value T1 is compared with a predetermined threshold value so as to judge whether the shape of the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10 is acceptable or not”.
A fourth aspect of the present invention is a quality control method for welded steel pipes 10 using the method for detecting a shape of a butt joint 12 of a welded steel pipe 10 according to the second aspect of the present invention. In this method, “the distance T2 between the center O1 of the first approximate circle α1 and the center O2 of the second approximate circle α2, or the differential distance T3 in the Xaxis direction between the center O1 of the first approximate circle α1 and the center O2 of the second approximate circle α2 and the differential distance T4 in the Zaxis direction between the center O1 and the center O2 are compared with respective predetermined threshold values, so as to judge whether the shape of the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10 is acceptable or not”.
According to these aspects of the present invention, an inflection point that occurs at the edge of a step at the butt joint 12 is not used to judge whether the shape of the butt joint 12 is acceptable or not. Therefore, even if the profile of the step at the butt joint 12 is too smooth to identify the inflection point, the geometries of the step at the butt joint 12 can be detected with high accuracy.
“A quality control apparatus for welded steel pipes” according to a fifth aspect of the present invention is an apparatus for performing the method according to the third aspect of the present invention, that is, a quality control apparatus for welded steel pipes 10 configured as follows, for example, as shown in
The apparatus includes a noncontact means 14 including: a light projecting unit 14a configured to irradiate a specific detection range including a butt joint 12 of a welded steel pipe 10 with a fanshaped light beam or to scan the specific detection range with a spot light beam; and a data output unit 14b configured to receive light reflected from the specific detection range irradiated or scanned with the light beam from the light projecting unit 14a and to output, based on the reflected light, geometric coordinate data L representing changes in position and shape of the butt joint 12.
The apparatus further includes an arithmetic processor 16 including: an approximate circle calculating/processing unit 16b configured to select, from the geometric coordinate data L obtained by the noncontact means 14, coordinates of a start point A and an end point D of the specific detection range, a first selected point B located between the start point A and the butt joint 12, and a second selected point C located between the butt joint 12 and the end point D, to calculate a first approximate circle α1 that includes the start point A, the end point D, and the first selected point B, and a second approximate circle α2 that includes the start point A, the end point D, and the second selected point C, and to average the first approximate circle α1 and the second approximate circle α2 so as to calculate an imaginary circle V and calculate, as a difference value T1, a maximum deviation of the first approximate circle α1 or the second approximate circle α2 from the imaginary circle V in a thickness direction of the welded steel pipe 10; and a judgment processing unit 16c configured to compare the difference value T1 calculated by the approximate circle calculating/processing unit 16b, with a predetermined threshold value, so as to judge whether the shape of the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10 is acceptable or not.
A sixth aspect of the present invention is an apparatus for performing the method according to the fourth aspect of the present invention, that is, a quality control apparatus for welded steel pipes 10 configured as follows, for example, as shown in
The apparatus includes a noncontact means 14 including: a light projecting unit 14a configured to irradiate a specific detection range including a butt joint 12 of a welded steel pipe 10 with a fanshaped light beam or to scan the specific detection range with a spot light beam; and a data output unit 14b configured to receive light reflected from the specific detection range irradiated or scanned with the light beam from the light projecting unit 14a and to output, based on the reflected light, geometric coordinate data L representing changes in position and shape of the butt joint 12.
The apparatus further includes an arithmetic processor 16 including: an approximate circle calculating/processing unit 16b configured to select, from the geometric coordinate data L obtained by the noncontact means 14, coordinates of a start point A and an end point D of the specific detection range, a first selected point B located between the start point A and the butt joint 12, and a second selected point C located between the butt joint 12 and the end point D, to calculate a first approximate circle α1 that includes the start point A, the end point D, and the first selected point B, and a second approximate circle α2 that includes the start point A, the end point D, and the second selected point C, and to calculate a distance T2 between a center O1 of the first approximate circle α1 and a center O2 of the second approximate circle α2, or a differential distance T3 in an Xaxis direction between the center O1 of the first approximate circle α1 and the center O2 of the second approximate circle α2 and a differential distance T4 in a Zaxis direction between the center O1 and the center O2; and a judgment processing unit 16c configured to compare the distance T2 or the distances T3 and T4 calculated by the approximate circle calculating/processing unit 16b, with respective predetermined threshold values, so as to judge whether the shape of the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10 is acceptable or not.
According to the present invention, it is possible to provide a method for detecting the shape of a butt joint of a welded steel pipe, in which a step at the butt joint of the welded steel pipe can be detected with high accuracy even if the step has a smooth profile, without the need for a highspeed data processor or a complex mechanism, and a quality control method and apparatus for welded steel pipes, in which a defective steel pipe having an unacceptable step at a butt joint beyond an acceptable level for quality control can be found without fail using the above shape detecting method.
Hereinafter, an embodiment of the present invention will be described with reference to drawings.
The noncontact means 14 is a device for obtaining coordinate data of the surface profile (i.e., geometric coordinate data L) of the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10. In the present embodiment, the noncontact means 14 is a noncontact displacement meter including a light projecting unit 14a and a data output unit 14b.
The light projecting unit 14a is a device for irradiating a specific detection range including the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10 at its center, with a fanshaped light beam, or scanning the specific detection range with a spot light beam. Specific examples of the light projecting unit 14a include: a device having a slit light source for projecting a linear light beam obtained by focusing light emitted from a light emitter, such as a laser or a lamp, through a cylindrical lens or the like; and a device having a scanning spot light source for projecting a spot light beam to be focused on a target position to scan the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10 with the spot light beam in a direction approximately perpendicular to the butt joint 12 (i.e., in an Xaxis direction), using a mirror or the like. It should be noted that the Xaxis direction does not necessarily have to be exactly perpendicular to the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10, and it may be approximately perpendicular thereto. However, in order to detect a step at the butt joint 12 more clearly, it is preferable that the Xaxis direction be exactly perpendicular to the butt joint 12 as much as possible.
The data output unit 14b is a device for receiving light reflected from the specific detection range irradiated or scanned with the light beam from the light projecting unit 14a and outputting, based on the reflected light, geometric coordinate data L representing changes in position and shape of the butt joint 12. This geometric coordinate data L is projected on a twodimensional plane to represent the shape of the specific detection range including the butt joint 12 at its center. More specifically, the data output unit 14b is a device including a 2D Ernostar lens, a CMOS image sensor, and a microprocessor, and configured to form an image of light diffusely reflected from the surface of the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10, on photodetectors of the CMOS image sensor, to detect changes in the position and shape of the butt joint 12, and to generate the geometric coordinate data L representing the changes in the position and shape thereof. It should be noted that in the noncontact means 14 including this data output unit 14b, a plurality of geometric coordinate data L corresponding to the longitudinal direction (Yaxis direction) of the welded steel tube 10 are generated in series.
The series of geometric coordinate data L generated by the data output unit 14b is provided to the arithmetic processor 16 through a wire 15.
In the quality control apparatus for welded steel pipes according to the present invention, the Z axis direction is a direction perpendicular to both the X axis and the Y axis, as shown in
The arithmetic processor 16 is a device mounted in a computer (not shown) and configured to decode instructions and perform arithmetic operations. As shown in
The data buffer unit 16a is a memory for temporarily storing the geometric coordinate data L of the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10 provided in series from the noncontact means 14.
The approximate circle calculating/processing unit 16b performs the following arithmetic operations on the geometric coordinate data L provided from the data buffer unit 16a.
More specifically, the approximate circle calculating/processing unit 16b divides the geometric coordinate data L into two right and left quadrants along the butt joint 12 located in the center of the specific detection range as the boundary between the quadrants, and selects the coordinates of the start point A and the end point D of the specific detection range, the first selected point B arbitrarily selected from the geometric coordinate data L in the left quadrant, and the second selected point C arbitrarily selected from the geometric coordinate data L in the right quadrant.
Subsequently, the approximate circle calculating/processing unit 16b calculates a first approximate circle α1 that includes the start point A, the end point D, and the first selected point B in the left quadrant, and a second approximate circle α2 that includes the start point A, the end point D, and the second selected point C in the right quadrant. In calculating these approximate circles, an algorithm as shown in
By applying this process to the present embodiment, the first approximate circle α1 can be calculated using the three points, i.e., the start point A, the first selected point B, and the end point D, according to the algorithm shown in
Then, the approximate circle calculating/processing unit 16b averages these first and second approximate circles α1 and α2 to calculate an imaginary circle V. For example, the imaginary circle V may be calculated in such a manner that a midpoint between the center O1 of the first approximate circle α1 and the center O2 of the second approximate circle α2 is determined as the center of the imaginary circle V, and the average of the radius of the first approximate circle α1 and the radius of the second approximate circle α2 is determined as the radius of the imaginary circle V.
In this description, “selecting the coordinates of the point A” means that the x and z coordinates of the point A are determined on a twodimensional coordinate plane with x and z axes, as shown in
Likewise, in this description, “calculating the first approximate circle α1” means that the x and z coordinates of the center O1 of the first approximate circle α1 and the radius of the first approximate circle α1 are determined on a twodimensional coordinate plane with x and z axes, as shown in
Next, there are the following two main methods for obtaining a deviation between the first approximate circle α1 and the second approximate circle α2 on a twodimensional coordinate plane (see
In the first method, the first approximate circle α1 and the second approximate circle α2 are averaged to calculate the imaginary circle V, the maximum deviation of the first approximate circle α1 (or the second approximate circle α2) from the imaginary circle V in the thickness direction of the welded steel pipe 10 within the specific detection range is calculated as a difference value T1, and the difference value T1 is used as an index representing the shape of the butt joint 12.
In the second method, the distance T2 between the center O1 of the first approximate circle α1 and the center O2 of the second approximate circle α2 is calculated and the distance T2 is used as an index representing the shape of the butt joint 12. Alternatively, instead of the abovementioned distance T2, the differential distance T3 in the Xaxis direction between the center O1 of the first approximate circle α1 and the center O2 of the second approximate circle α2 and the differential distance T4 in the Zaxis direction between the center O1 and the center O2 are calculated, and these distances T3 and T4 are used as indices representing the shape of the butt joint 12 (see
Unlike the first method described above, the imaginary circle V is not calculated in the second method. In addition, instead of the difference value T1 as the maximum deviation in the thickness direction of the welded steel pipe 10, the distance T2 between the center O1 of the first approximate circle α1 and the center O2 of the second approximate circle α2 or the differential distance T3 in the Xaxis direction therebetween and the differential distance T4 in the Zaxis direction therebetween are used as indices representing the shape of the butt joint 12.
Then, the approximate circle calculating/processing unit 16b provides the difference value T1 between the imaginary circle V and the first approximate circle α1 or the second approximate circle α2, as an index representing the shape of the butt joint 12, to the judgment processing unit 16c and the display processing unit 16d. Alternatively, the approximate circle calculating/processing unit 16b provides the distance T2 between the center O1 of the first approximate circle α1 and the center O2 of the second approximate circle α2, or the differential distance T3 in the Xaxis direction therebetween and the differential distance T4 in the Zaxis direction therebetween, as indices representing the shape of the butt joint 12, to the judgment processing unit 16c and the display processing unit 16d.
The judgment processing unit 16c is configured to compare the deviations, such as the difference value T1 and the distance T2, calculated by the approximate circle calculating/processing unit 16b, with predetermined threshold values, to judge whether the shape of the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10 is acceptable or not.
For example, assume that a steel pipe with a diameter of 101.6 mm, having a butt joint step with a height of 0.5% or more of the outer diameter of the steel pipe, should be judged to be defective based on certain criteria. In this case, when the difference value T1 is used as an index representing the shape of the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10, a threshold value of 0.25 mm can be used. When the distance T2 is used as an index representing the shape of the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10, a threshold value of 0.72 mm can be used. Furthermore, when the distances T3 and T4 are used as indices representing the shape of the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10, a threshold value of 0.51 mm and a threshold value of 0.518 mm can be used for T3 and T4, respectively. It should be noted that the distance T3 and the distance T4 do not necessarily have to be used together. For example, only the distance T3 or only the distance T4 may be used for judgment.
This judgment processing unit 16c judges that the steel pipe is defective when the deviation exceeds the threshold value, and provides a signal indicating the judgment to the display processing unit 16d and the event occurrence signal output unit 16e.
The display processing unit 16d is connected to a display device 18 such as a monitor through a wire 17 and is configured to convert the data provided from the approximate circle calculating/processing unit 16b and the judgment processing unit 16c into a format that can be displayed on the display device 18.
The event occurrence signal output unit 16e is connected to an external system 20 such as a rotating warning lamp or a warning buzzer, through a wire 19, and is configured to provide a predetermined event occurrence signal to the external system based on the judgment of acceptance or rejection of the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10 made by the judgment processing unit 16c. For example, when the judgment processing unit 16c judges that the quality of the butt joint 12 is not acceptable, the event signal occurrence output unit 16e transmits an event occurrence signal to the external system 20 such as a rotating warning lamp or a warning buzzer to activate the external system 20, so as to inform the operator of the occurrence of a defective product.
Next, when quality control is performed for the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10 using the quality control apparatus configured as described above for the welded steel pipe 10, the shape detecting method for the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10 according to the present invention and the quality control method using the shape detecting method are performed in this order, as shown in the flow shown in
More specifically, in Step S1 in
Subsequently, in Step S2 in
Then, in Step S3 in
Here, welded steel pipes with a diameter of 50.8 mm (and a thickness of 1.2 mm) were produced on an actual welded steel pipe production line equipped with a laser welder. The welded steel pipes were produced under quality control using a commercially available highprecision 2D laser displacement meter as a quality control apparatus, and pipes having a step with a height of 0.25 mm or more were judged to be defective based on an acceptance/rejection criterion (or a threshold value). As a result, a total of 46,246 pipes were inspected and 6 defective pipes were not rejected due to inspection error, which means that the inspection error rate was 0.01%. In contrast, in producing welded steel pipes, the arithmetic processor in the quality control apparatus was replaced by the arithmetic processor 16 of the present embodiment, and a threshold value of 0.13 mm was used as the difference value T1, a threshold value of 0.36 mm was used as the distance T2, and threshold values of 0.25 mm and 0.25 mm were used as the distances T3 and T4, respectively. As a result, a total of 16,417 pipes were inspected and defective pipes were all rejected, which means that the inspection error rate was 0.00%.
In the above embodiment, a light projecting unit 14a was used as the noncontact means 14. However, this noncontact means 14 may be any type of means as long as the coordinate data of the surface profile (i.e., the geometric coordinate data L) of the butt joint 12 of the welded steel pipe 10 can be obtained using the means. The light projecting unit 14a may be replaced by an ultrasonic generator or a radar.
The welding method for the welded steel pipe 10 to which the method and apparatus according to the present invention is to be applied is not particularly limited. For example, various welding methods, such as highfrequency welding, arc welding, plasma welding, and laser beam welding, may be used.
Furthermore, in the above embodiment, the specific detection range including the butt joint 12 at its center is selected. However, this specific detection range may be any range as long as it includes the butt joint 12 (at a point other than the start point A and the end point D), and is not limited to that in the above embodiment.
10: Welded steel pipe
12: Butt joint
14: Noncontact means
14a: Light projecting unit
14b: Data output unit
16: Arithmetic processor
16b: Approximate circle calculating/processing unit
16c: Judgment processing unit
A: Start point (of specific detection range)
B: First selected point
C: Second selected point
D: End point (of specific detection range)
L: Geometric coordinate data
V: Imaginary circle
O1: Center (of first approximate circle)
O2: Center (of second approximate circle)
α1: First approximate circle
α2: Second approximate circle
T1: Difference value
T2: Distance (between O1 and O2)
T3: Differential distance (in Xaxis direction between O1 and O2)
T4: Differential distance (in Zaxis direction between O1 and O2)