Harel Boren explains why the advent of autonomous machine vision means that industrial manufacturing will never be the same
An architect, engineer and thinker who was passionate about inventing the future, Buckminster Fuller, once said, “You never change things by fighting the existing reality. To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.”
Fuller was not interested in challenging existing models, nor improving them by bringing incremental change, only in directly building new ones that rendered old ones obsolete. The introduction of autonomous machine vision to manufacturing will do just that: render traditional machine vision and all that comes with it, obsolete.
A need for change
It goes without saying that QA machine vision has traditionally been a deeply flawed industry. For manufacturers to reduce the risk of defective products, they must invest in an expensive, cumbersome, complex and time-consuming system. To make matters worse, the manufacturer cannot independently install it without a systems integrator delivering a project tailored to the product and location at hand. This means the manufacturer loses control of its own QA, becoming a slave to the systems integrator. If anything on the production line changes, the manufacturer must call the integrator back in for ongoing support, increasing the cost and time requirements.
the role of suppliers in the machine vision eco system
As the integrator is the linchpin in the process, machine vision suppliers are not “customer-centric”, but “integrator-centric”. So long as Machine Vision suppliers deliver components for the integrator to deliver solutions rather than for the manufacturer to install a QA system, the manufacturer will never be in control.
This entire ecosystem was created to compensate for the inexistence of autonomous machine vision. Previously, the technology was not available to challenge the current status quo. So it remained the same. However, in the past 20 years electro-optics, computer vision and artificial intelligence technologies have advanced in leaps and bounds.
This technology, in the hands of an aggressive technology team, means that now is the right time for the change that the machine vision market has long awaited.
Enter Autonomous Machine Vision
By definition, autonomous machine vision requires little cost, effort and time to install and run. More importantly, by sheer simplicity and immediacy, it requires no systems integrator. Using Plug and Inspect technology, an Inspekto autonomous machine vision system is potent enough to give the QA manager complete independence in setting and controlling QA in the facility. This means they can accurately, affordably and immediately inspect products at every point on the production line.
Because Plug & Inspect-driven systems are so easy to install and set up, straight out of the box, the systems integrator no longer has a role to play, and the manufacturer finally takes centre stage – exactly where it should be. Furthermore, autonomous machine vision enables Total QA, meaning that QA can be incorporated at every stage of the production line, using the very same QA system, with no need to tailor a new project for each location, using new lenses, lighting or cameras. Simply set the QA system in place, mark your areas of interest and go. This way, a production line enjoying Total QA can be set up in a few hours, at a fraction of the cost and effort of machine vision systems. Another added bonus is that the manufacturer can identify defective products much earlier in a process – so a faulty part can therefore be scrapped before energy is wasted completing it.
Change is coming
Behind the scenes, autonomous machine vision is already revolutionising the QA industry. Across Europe, leading industrial firms such as Mahle, commanding many hundreds of industrial plants in a variety of industries, are installing Plug and Inspect-driven QA systems to address many hundreds of types of products, materials, handling-methods and check millions of products every day. Autonomous machine vision is already here and proving its worth.
So, will you sit around and wait for change, accepting a slow, expensive and inflexible QA process at the peril of your systems integrator? Why would you? Instead, it’s a far better idea to embrace autonomous machine vision, make traditional machine vision obsolete and invent your own future.
Harel Boren is CEO of Inspekto