Industry 4.0 technologies, such as video analytics, are becoming increasingly accessible, allowing small businesses to begin reaping their benefits.
“Industry 4.0” technologies for digital transformation have traditionally required significant investments and have thus become the domain of large corporations. With the development of affordable technology solutions such as video analytics for quality control, this is changing. These solutions level the playing field and allow small businesses to benefit from efficiency improvements and the benefits associated with them.
Large companies are already investing in Industry 4.0 technologies — such as artificial intelligence (AI), industrial Internet of Things (IoT), machine learning (ML), and robotics — to transform digital manufacturing processes and build smart “businesses” of the future.
Unfortunately, for many small businesses, the level of investment in this type of technology has been elusive, causing them to struggle to stay competitive. But like the major players, these small businesses continue to focus on improving their production and other processes in order to:
- Increase efficiency by increasing automation,
- reduce the number of errors, errors and inconsistencies,
- reduce the number of outages,
- reduce its costs.
Kaj je industrija 4.0? Industrija 4.0, znana tudi kot četrta industrijska revolucija, je nenehno preoblikovanje in digitalizacija proizvodnih, industrijskih in dobavnih verig z uporabo velikih količin podatkov, podatkovne analitike, industrijskega interneta, naprav s podporo interneta stvari (kot so pametni senzorji) ter digitalnih orodij in tehnologij za spodbujanje: večje avtomatizacije, izboljšane povezljivosti in komunikacije, samonadzora, analize in diagnosticiranje težav brez človeškega posredovanja. Tovarna, proizvodno ali drugo podjetje, ki v svoje procese vključi tehnologije industrije 4.0, lahko na primer omogoči množično proizvodnjo izdelkov višje kakovosti z nižjimi stroški. Odpravljanje človeških napak z avtomatizacijo in pridobivanje uporabnih informacij iz podatkov proizvodne linije, sta ključnega pomena za povečanje produktivnosti in kakovosti v okviru industrije 4.0 - oboje podpirajo rešitve za video pregled kakovosti, obravnavane v tem članku.
Companies strive to ensure the highest level of quality at every stage of the production or assembly process. Irregularities – such as poorly made parts, damaged products, or the presence of foreign objects – can cause a number of problems, such as:
- slowdown in production,
- poor quality of finished products,
- Expensive and time consuming processing,
- environmental or safety hazards,
- Increased production costs.
In many cases, spotting irregularities before they cause problems depends on visual quality checks, which are usually performed by people. The nature of the process determines what they are looking for, they can review it, for example:
- paper, fabric or metal surfaces – whether smooth and free from defects,
- Complete parts or products – whether damaged, incomplete or contaminated,
- Bolts, nuts, latches – are all there and inserted correctly.
Of course, a person who performs visual checks, like someone who performs repetitive tasks, can feel tired, bored, or distracted, or can review only one out of ten or twenty items in a quick process.
However, as production and related processes become more complex and customer demand increases, companies urgently need to find a way to reduce the possibility of human error in quality checks and make sure nothing is missed from the inspection process.
In our previous article, we discussed how video analytics software that combines smart cameras with artificial intelligence can be used to monitor work environments and send alerts when workers’ health or safety is at risk.
You can now use similar video analytics solutions to automate visual quality checks. You will now implement this more efficiently and consistently than humans, thus embarking on the path to error-free production.
When you integrate video analytics into digital production and automated processes, you will have many additional benefits, including:
- higher productivity and lower production costs,
- More predictable production and higher quality standards,
- the possibility of continuous operation,
- Low personnel costs, as there is no need to hire and train people for visual inspection.
Visual quality control based on artificial intelligence
Konica Minolta has developed a smart visual quality assurance (VQI) solution based on artificial intelligence and smart video cameras, which includes machine vision and deep learning to automate key visual inspections. Our VQI solution:
- Allows identification and inclusion of irregularities such as defects, foreign bodies and contamination,
- Assess the severity of any identified abnormalities and direct appropriate action
- Recognizes different products by checking barcodes or labels,
- It is easy to monitor with a real-time dashboard that also provides long-term statistics.
In order to understand their processes and sore points, and to tailor our solution to a specific task, we work with our clients individually. Our VQI solution can be used in manufacturing, logistics, warehousing and other industries for purposes such as visual inventory checks, process inspections, quality checks and quality control.
You can read more about VQI in one of my previous posts.
Are you ready to join the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
An intelligent quality inspection solution – tailored to your company’s needs – can help you increase the quality, efficiency, and predictability of production, logistics or other industrial processes. In addition to providing more accurate and consistent survey results than people can achieve, it will guide you on the path to automating and digitizing your activities.