Introduction to Machine Vision

Machine Vision is the technology/method used to provide image-based inspection and analysis.

Machine Vision offers a fast, reliable way of inspecting parts inline. Machine Vision technology allows inspection on every part of the line moving over the high-speed range. In addition, it guarantees full safety. Machine Vision could be applied in many applications which check various inspections and test the results such as presence tests, type validations and measurement. In factory processes, machine vision can also be used to inspect appearance.

Machine vision has been used widely in all factories and is a critical process to ensure that correct parts with good quality are shipped out to their customers. Machine vision is no longer just an option to have; it is a definite choice that’ll help minimize job loads for most Quality Assurance engineers.

The benefits of automated inspection outweighs human labour in aspects of consistency & increased output. There are many instances whereby machine visions have been used. Some examples include code reading in the warehouse or production floor for traceability purposes, or acting as the “eyes” for the robots. Measurements or integrity check of the products and defects inspection are commonly used in different stages of production for the final product.

Machine vision technology has been progressing & changing significantly over the years. Many new solutions, including line scan, 3D and thermal imaging have been introduced to solve some of the challenging problems in the industry. Over recent years, AI deep learning has also been widely used for defects inspection, sorting & even OCR applications. Nonetheless, certain fundamentals must be understood in order to achieve successful implementation of any machine vision application.

Benefits of Machine Vision

      1. Erases Human Error
Human vision requires the synchronization of the eye and brain. Computer vision on the other hand, uses machine learning and algorithms to detect, identify and categorise objects based on size, colour and uncovering plus understanding patterns that emerges from visual data.

However, there have been many cases of certain defects being found on a products, but are invisible to the naked eye. They however, can be detected through the use of Machine Vision sensors. Additionally, it eliminates the possibility of irregularities due to fatigue from operators or having various standards of SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) among individuals. To summarise, computer vision simulates the way human vision works but is able to carry out tasks with more accuracy and efficiency.

      2. Increases Safety
Machine Vision offers a safer work environment by reducing human participation in the production line. Additionally, it can also be used to detect if any employees are in a hazardous zone and provide real-time warning.

      3. Reduce Costs
With the implementation of a Machine Vision system in the manufacturing process, the amount of manpower can be significantly reduced, decreasing labour costs. Furthermore, with more accurate product inspections, there will be lesser unsatisfactory products being dispatched to customers, which in turn, benefits the company in the long run.

      4. Wide range of applications
Machine Vision systems provide a variety of services, including but not limited to, Colour Checking, Alignment, Defect Detection, OCR and Code Inspection. With so many applications, Machine Vision systems can be implemented in almost any industry.