A Vision System with Human-Like Sensitivity

The vision system from Omron automates human vision-based visual inspection. It is equipped with a defect detection AI technology that identifies defects without learning samples. It reproduces human sensibility and the techniques of skilled inspectors

Manufacturers are facing intense pressure to automate processes that rely on the senses of experienced human workers. Particularly when it comes to visual inspection, it’s important to reliably identify subtle defects even on flexible lines producing a wide range of items. Traditionally, the sensitivity and knowledge of technicians with long-term experience have been key. However, nowadays people may need to avoid working in the same space on the manufacturing sites in order to protect them from Covid-19, which leads to growing demand for labour-saving automated visual inspection. Artificial intelligence is an efficient solution: it is now reaching the stage where it can recognise object features as well as humans and automatically learn criteria. But a lot of AI solutions face challenges with large amounts of image data, specialised hardware and engineering expertise.

AI captures defects with human-like sensitivity.
AI captures defects with human-like sensitivity.

A defect detection AI technology

To solve these challenges, Omron developed a defect detection AI that reproduces the techniques of skilled inspectors, thanks to a new AI-based image filter. An AI Fine Matching tool learns from the image data of non-defective products to quickly acquire the expertise that inspectors develop over the course of many years. Scratches and blemishes that were once difficult to capture can now be identified even without the use of samples or adjustment.
This AI is now part of the FH Series Vision System. Decades of Omron’s knowledge of image processing have been built into this new product to maximise the inspection capability using AI without learning huge amounts of data. AI has traditionally required a special environment, but Omron’s lightweight solution has been integrated into a system component. No special hardware and no dedicated AI engineer are required for setup and adjustment at manufacturing sites.

A concept that is based on innovation

Omron is committed to bringing innovation to manufacturing sites by materialising its concept called “innovative-automation”. It consists of three “i’s”- “integrated” (control evolution), “intelligent” (development of intelligence by ICT), and “interactive” (new harmonisation between people and machines). It is based on the company’s reservoir of technologies and comprehensive range of devices. “As OMRON strives to get close to, and even beyond, the performance of the human eye, we continue to further accumulate data and conduct research for the development of the latest AI technology. By expanding the scope of what can be automated in visual quality inspection, we free people from simple and monotonous work, while improving the process quality and stability,” stated Jan Nieswandt, Product Marketing Manager for Vision and RFID at Omron Europe.