Worried about what a defect found in your product could do to your brands’ image? Consumer voices are more powerful than ever – especially on social media – which means every defect poses a serious risk to your brand image. Vision systems can make sure defective products never leave your plant, but not all vision systems are created equally.
Accurate, repeatable vision inspections that last for many years and are affordable can be harder to come across than you may think. The determining factor in the ultimate quality of your vision system usually comes down to the experience and expertise of the integrator designing it. Below, an EPIC vision expert walks us through why experience matters so much and what’s on the horizon in vision technologies.
What is your take on the current state of the machine vision market?
The industry has become more saturated, but what I’ve also noticed is that they still have a long way to go in experience. Project experience in machine vision is a huge added benefit to the finish product. Ultimately that knowledge base is a huge value add to the client.
Vision systems are more than just installing a camera on your line. Lighting, angles, dust prevention, and other physical features have to be considered and designed for. Additionally, each inspection is unique, so taking the time to make sure programs are calibrated to your labels, bottles, etc. is important. This is where experience is a big boost. Instead of starting from scratch, an experienced integrator will have a basis for what’s important when designing these systems and how to quickly get them designed and calibrated for your manufacturing environment.
Can you provide one example of a relatively new technology that you are utilizing?
We have been developing new applications for machine learning systems and figuring out more ways to improve the algorithm for clients that have many products and complex patterns. This could potentially save design time in the future because it would allow the inspection software to learn on its own instead of our team having to program for every possible angle or view of a defect across all the products on the line.
What is one type of technological advancement or invention that you would like to see and that would benefit you, in terms of vision systems design/integration?
I’ve seen lighting design software examples, but I’d like to see lighting simulators become more readily available.
What camera type do you think will be most popular in two years and why?
I believe that the area camera will still be the most popular camera. That said, I do think there will be more color applications as computer processing gets better and people are looking for more features and flexibility. This might lead to a camera that doesn’t even exist right now.
How have market changes and customer demands changed the way that you’ve approached business?
I think that what we are seeing now, more than ever, is the impact that the consumer’s voice is having on Machine Vision systems and their importance to the clients’ brand. Before, the fallout of a defect in a product wouldn’t necessarily cause an uproar. Now, with the power of social media and the consumer voice, a defect in a product can seriously effect brand image.
As a result of this pressure, we are starting to see an increase in companies’ recognition of machine vision technologies and solutions as relevant and necessary. We are seeing more clients who are asking for specific technology for an application due to increased output regardless of fit. To account for this we focus on helping clients reconcile the technologies they are requesting with their systems’ needs. Our focus is always on delivering top-grade defect detection systems that are going to perform for many years to come.