Sustaining and improving quality control remains at the heart of any manufacturer who wishes to build a long lasting relationship with their customer base. Quite simply, if your target market can depend on your ability to consistently produce products that meet their levels of expectation it is far more likely your business will continue to grow.
The methods employed by companies vary across the board but ultimately finding the most accurate and cost effective method of providing quality assurance is the goal. For a long time the manual inspection of the manufacturing process was seen as the most reliable way of maintaining standards. But even the most keen-eyed worker is prone to make mistakes and the repetitive nature of the work will eventually begin to show.
Even with the introduction of machine vision inspection systems there was some hesitation around implementing them into existing processes. Despite the opportunity to reduce wastage and increase data surrounding the production line, they were seen as limited, too expensive and difficult to integrate into existing systems.
Of course, the technology has moved on significantly over the past couple of decades with 2D, 3D and barcode reading systems becoming increasingly common place. There is still some hesitation from some companies unsure as to their value, but with the advances in technology, vision inspection can be carried out extremely fast on high speed production lines; more accurately than a human can do it and at a speed faster than the human eye can see.
Vision inspection is a generic term that covers a whole spectrum of automatic inspection systems, from digital standard 2D cameras to 3D laser line scanners and more. More recently 3D vision is being used in conjunction with a 6 axis robot for bin picking and other tasks that used to require human input. As AI becomes an increasing reality there is very little that can’t be achieved with automated vision inspection systems.
Using vision for quality control can cover a whole realm of tasks e.g. reading and checking the labels on products, measuring 3D objects to ensure they are manufactured correctly and within tolerance, sensing where products are on a conveyor so they can be picked up with a robot and orientated and placed accurately into a further process or packaging, ensuring products are not scratched marked, checking painting has been carried out correctly and much more.
A vision inspection system that has been properly installed and calibrated will be extremely accurate, fast and reliable. Automated quality control with vision inspection also has many additional benefits compared with people doing manual inspection, it can run 24 hours 7 days a week and it does not need tea breaks, it does not suffer fatigue like people do and will be a lot more accurate and fast. Typically the time saving from running 24/7 without breaks or shift handovers pays for the cost of automated vision inspection very quickly.
According to a 2016 report by Credence Research Inc, the machine vision inspection market is likely to be worth almost $15bn by 2022. The technology is improving year-on-year and making the investment sooner rather than later will give your business that crucial competitive edge. Find out how much a vision inspection system could potentially cost or get in contact with our automation consultants on 01223 499488, or email email@example.com.
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