Introduction to Machine Vision
Machine Vision has become quite a buzzword these days, and not without reason. Eliminating all the technological terms, machine vision is the technology that empowers smart cameras to process information, extract relevant facts and deliver services accordingly. The wide spectrum of its benefits ranges from automating workflows to eliminating erroneous employees, from augmenting the net throughput manifold to drastically reducing costs.
These benefits have been acknowledged as potential opportunities by the IT giants and industry leaders. According to Vision Online, in 2017, the global machine vision market was valued at $7.91 billion. According to the latest numbers in a report by Grand View Research, its global market is poised to reach $ 18.24 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 7.7%. These numbers are statistical evidence that backs Machine Vision.
Features of Machine Vision
Some salient features of Machine Vision systems are as follows:
By leveraging ML and IoT devices, machine vision systems can automatically determine the equipment’s operational status and alert the user regarding any imminent maintenance needs. The stakeholders can thus repair the equipment in time and prevent any future breakdowns. Unprecedented machine failures can disturb operations and incur huge costs and a lot of time.
In a factory, a humongous number of products are churned out every day. Even with handheld scanners, scanning all these products is practically redundant and wastage of time and resources. Machine vision systems, on the other hand, can accomplish the same task quicker and more accurately.
Inspection is a broad category that encompasses detecting defects, verifying the count of products, checking the absence/ presence, packaging quality, and alignment of products and other necessary components. Needless to say, relying on manual labor for such erroneous and time-consuming tasks is impractical. Machine vision can help you identify and remove defects as the products pass through all the stages. Only, all these inspections can occur at a fraction of the original time and cost.
3-D vision inspection has found a special space in the automotive industry. Some machine vision systems can create full 3-D models of components by capturing high-resolution images from various angles.
Applications of Machine Vision Across Various Industries
Since machine vision finds extensive application in manufacturing and inspection related industries, it has been proactively adopted by industries such as automotive, agriculture, F&B, healthcare and many more. Some of such prominent industries are as follows:
An early and accurate diagnosis can often save patients’ lives. Going beyond the skin surface, machine vision devices can accurately identify tumors and diseases invisible to the doctors. Also, healthcare services often involve a lot of paperwork and manual labor. By automating such trivial tasks, the overall efficiency and job satisfaction of the practitioners will surely increase.
Image processing systems, equipped with machine vision technology, can help the farmers identify and accordingly, fulfill the nutritional needs of different crop varieties. It will also constantly monitor livestock growth and alert the farmers regarding weeds and crop diseases. Smart automation of such arduous and exhausting tasks in this labor-intensive industry is imperative to augment the bottom-line yield and the net throughput.
As the manufacturing of automobiles involves a huge number of tiny yet significant parts, it is paramount for inspection and assembling procedures to be quick and detail-oriented, simultaneously. Machine vision systems’ ability to process a massive amount of information in seconds, makes it ideal for the automotive industry. MV systems can be used to detect the presence/ absence of components and ensure compliance with standard regulations. Robots, guided by MV, are being extensively used to perform quick and accurate assembling, too.
F&B industry is one of those industries that demand strict compliance with regulations, and even a little deterioration in quality can have extreme repercussions. It is impossible to diligently inspect each product even for a large human workforce. On the other hand, MV systems can inspect even the smallest of details and ensure that only quality products reach the hands of your customers.
Product integrity and safety are the paramount priorities of the pharma industry. The stringent FDA standards demand compliance with the standard regulations. Defective drugs and tablets can tarnish the reputation of the involved enterprises forever. Machine vision systems can be installed for counting, proper packaging and diligent inspection. These systems can identify defective, missing and substandard products effectively and minimize the costs and turnaround time.
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As the world economies are gradually fighting and rising above the recession-like scenario caused due to COVID-19, the stakes and priorities for industry players are no longer the same. Maintaining and increasing the operational continuity in these uncertain circumstances demands eliminating dependence on manual labor. Machine Vision emerges as a feasible solution to present-day challenges.
Machine Vision is the foundation of smart, autonomous factories, which will be self-organized, have an extensive communication network, and accomplish operations without human intervention. Powered by AI, ML, and MV, devices will not only process massive information in seconds but also, trigger intelligent and accurate responses accordingly. All this means that you achieve your bottom-line dollars while delivering quality and value-for-money products to your customers.