Want a smarter production line? Machine Vision is the answer. Here’s why.

Machine Vision

Despite massive technological leaps over the last two decades, only 10% of UK businesses use machine vision. This is concerning for the UK economy as industry experts know machine vision is the answer for streamlined and more efficient production lines.

Computer vision is a complex form of Ai technology, as machines attempt to recognise and analyse the meaning of content at pixel level and then interpret results utilising bespoke software algorithms. In many ways, this technology effectively replicates the human vision system.

Typical machine vision systems are made up of components that can be grouped into five categories:

  • Illumination devices
  • Cameras
  • Specialised image processing equipment
  • Computers
  • Industrial machinery (robot, programmable logic controller [PLC])

These categories make it possible to materialise the five essential principles for the proper functioning of any industrial vision process:

  • Environmental control
  • Image acquisition
  • Image processing
  • Image analysis
  • Decision and action

Reducing machine and human errors

Most downtime occurs because of human errors, and faulty packaging often plays a significant part. Packaging is essential as damaged packaging could lead to rotting or contaminated food and unsaleable items.

Quality Control

Inspect production processes. Based on several visual characteristics, it is determined whether or not a product contains errors. Quality control occupies the largest share of applications in these areas. For example:

  • Checking the correct functioning of the display of dashboards in cars and planes Assessing the regular shape of biscuits and confectionary produced on the assembly line
  • Validating the correct dimensions of the holes in the furniture components
  • Evaluating the quality of boards created by a sawmill, detecting tears in pieces of fabric
  • Confirming that a label has been correctly applied to a food or pharmaceutical container.

High precision measurement

Digital vision also very often intervenes directly in the manufacturing or production process. For example, it is used in the automotive and aerospace fields in conjunction with robotics to manipulate and assemble mechanical components.

In sawmills, it can be used to model a log of wood to optimise its cutting. In the food industry, machine vision is used to check the cleanliness and filling of containers. Vision is also used for tracking (tracing) and product identification.

Finally, one application deserves special attention: ultra high-speed sorting of tiny objects. Indeed, there are systems which combine high-speed cameras with a set of air jets, which makes it possible to inspect grains of rice while still airborne and to direct air at those which do not meet the criteria. The same technique has been successfully applied for sorting blueberries.

Computer vision is the perfect solution for your business if you want to improve the reliability and consistency of your inspection processes, if you want to perform comprehensive quality control or if you are thinking of a way to shorten your cycle times. Not least, the improved efficiency and reduced errors also significantly decrease the likelihood of hugely damaging PR.

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