Automation has been an essential part of labour since the earliest days of mankind. From sticks, to fire, to the wheel, man has always needed tools. They have aided in the production of our essential needs. Over the past couple of centuries, automation, machinery, the dawn of the digital age, AI and machine vision has completely revolutionised business. Not only how we sustain an overpopulated planet, but how we approach all daily logistics.
One of the many branches of automation, Machine vision is now changing the way all businesses operate. Whether you’re breaking into a new market or ensuring your company stays relevant or ahead of the curve.
The evolution of manufacturing
Look around you. Manufactured items are all around you. The plant pot, the kitchen sink, your smartphone or your medicines. Not that long ago, manufacture was by physical, human labour; today we’re at an interesting crossroads. People and machinery have to coexist in order to expedite most industrial processes.
While it may be tempting to consider such changes through an Asimov lens; worrying about the philosophical implications, the reality of this marriage of resources has some pretty interesting pros and cons.
Human Vs Machine
The human factor is an essential part of many fields of industry. Despite impressive advances in AI technology, as yet there simply is no substitute for our creativity, emotions and problem-solving abilities. Working on an industrial level is hard. Our brains need different stimuli, for such tasks on a daily basis make them not best suited to menial or repetitive tasks. Whether you’re on the assembly line or oversee quality control, human error is unavoidable.
The effect monotony has on our perception of everyday things majorly impacts success rate. This is how mistakes are made. Faults are missed, products wind up being poorer quality at best or dangerous/needing to be recalled at worst. Machine Vision is the brilliant solution to this problem. Sensors don’t get tired, sensors don’t daydream of being a rockstar, sensors don’t care if their boss is a nightmare.
They operate within a set of parameters that eliminates a huge amount of issues. This not only gives you more confidence with product quality but significantly cuts down on running costs. Reduced staffing costs, subsidy and wastage, due to irreparable damage.
Health & Safety Considerations
Furthermore, from a health and safety standpoint, tools like Machine Vision eliminate the need for humans to have to work in dangerous environments or for unhealthy periods of time. Reducing the associated risks or possible industrial accidents is another major consideration when it comes to incorporating digital tools into your production line.
There are countless data to support the fact that machine vision brings both financial and social advantages to a manufacturer. Start-up and running costs are massively reduced, not to mention less downtime and more site surface area that can be used for productive purposes. After all – a robot doesn’t need a bathroom or a breakroom, and is highly unlikely to have issues with HR!
The evolution of technology, while inevitably leading to obsolescence in some areas, ultimately creates brand new job markets, fields of research, training and advancement. The hope is for countless new doors to open to not only proliferate successful business strategies, but enhance our education and learning into ever more innovative disciplines.