Many areas of our lives are becoming digitalized and automated. Whether you love it or loathe it, this is the future and it can offer many benefits to your workplace. Embracing new technology enhances efficiency and cuts wastage as well as ensuring that your forward thinking competitors don't gain a technological advantage over you.
What are machine vision systems and applications?
Machine vision systems are a way of automating an industrial process. The process requires the use of technology to inspect stock automatically using images. The hardware takes a picture, saves the image and then an appropriate application uses the image to extract specific information and make a decision as to what should happen next. This can then be used to guide robots, all without the need for human intervention.
What can machine vision applications be used for?
Applications can be used across a variety of industries including manufacturing, engineering, food and drinks productions and pharmaceuticals, to name a few.
Expiry date and lot number inspection is one use for Machine Vision Applications. The smart camera technology detects whether or not products contain the appropriate information by checking dates and batch codes. They can also be programmed to identify expiry dates on perishable items. Where the date is missing, incorrect or unreadable, an automatic process can be programmed in to reject the product, thus saving time and money.
Items can be quality controlled by capturing an image which is then examined using algorithms and checked against an agreed criteria to see whether products meet the predefined standard. This enables the machine to weed out the defective goods or identify any anomalies at an early stage of production. This tech is used widely in the food industry.
In the drinks industry, machine vision systems are used to inspect bottle tops on a production line to check that containers have been capped properly. Any bottles with incorrect capping are rejected from the line. The technology can also check whether the bottles are filled to the right levels. This automated checking system ensures that the job is done quickly and accurately to meet the demand of a busy production line.
In the pharmaceutical industry, standards for accuracy are understandably very high. Machine vision applications are able to verify barcodes to ensure that they are visible and contain the right data. It can also check capping and filling levels are correct as well as verifying accurate measurements, which is crucial in an industry where products are expected to be fault free.
How can machine vision applications help your business?
Machine vision systems help improve efficiency, which is a buzzword in every business. Eventually, entire production processes will be automated and eliminate the element of human error.
As a business, you have a choice of purchasing an off the shelf product or having a bespoke solution built for your specific needs. The one you choose depends very much on your processes and personal preference. If a product exists that fulfills your requirements then this may be sufficient for you. Alternatively, a bespoke solution can address your individual needs/objectives and have features unique to your company built in.
Whichever product you choose, you are sure to find that your processes will be vastly improved. Automated processes are faster than manual operation and imperfections are identified at an earlier stage. Throughout the process, data will be collected to allow for future improvement. Production delay will be reduced, keeping current customers happy and prospective clients will be given greater confidence in an organization that uses modern technology. You will become more efficient, reduce waste and ensure that you are keeping up with your competitors.