Tom Lambert, Machine Vision Specialist EMEA, Zebra Technologies
The world of machine vision needs a new vision for how deep learning machine vision solutions can help manufacturers and machine builders like Bosch and MOSAIC increase and improve their operations, visual inspection, and quality and compliance processes. Globally, manufacturers are also seeking to address labour challenges and elevate the role of industrial imaging engineers to think and act more like data and AI specialists.
In the UK, car manufacturing is 32.5% below 2019 levels, says the SMMT, and could take five years to recover. The industry also faces various export and energy cost challenges, while also shifting to electric vehicle production. Recent developments in Italy’s manufacturing sector have been marked by a clear emphasis on sustainability, speed, safety, accuracy and efficiency requirements, such as a major automotive maker committing to fully electric vehicle production. Italy currently has 24 automotive assembly and production plants—among the highest in Europe. Meanwhile, food and beverage accounts for around one quarter of Italy’s GDP, with the food supply chain involving 60,000 companies. Everything from the visual inspection of fresh food to the compliance and quality of packaging could benefit from modern machine vision solutions. And recent data from Germany has shown a sharp decline in carmaking, fuelling a downturn in German industry as production fell for the third consecutive month in July. Some industry leaders have cited labour shortages as a challenge. These challenges are not confined to the UK or Europe—they’re global.
There are opportunities across the supply chain to address these hurdles with greater automation, speed, and quality. UK, European and global manufacturers and machine builders across the automotive, pharmaceutical, and food and beverage industries need to review and ramp up investments in automation technologies such as deep learning machine vision. Deep learning machine vision can take on important visual inspection tasks out-of-the-box, freeing up engineer time for other activities. Hard to use legacy machine vision that requires a lot of time to implement and train isn’t up to today’s challenges.
Manufacturers can also take full control of development and integration using modern a machine vision software suite, aimed at machine vision programmers. These software environments come with easy to use, drag and drop interfaces and the tools needed to create bespoke user interfaces and solutions quickly, with features including C++ and .NET code generators and portable API, 1,000+ functions for image analysis, software development kit, and advanced deep learning tools, depending on the option selected.
Manufacturers looking to accelerate out of today’s challenges can learn more about deep learning machine vision here.