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3 Steps for Adding Automation

There are three critical steps for end users to follow when adding automated vision inspection technology (AVI) to their process.

Sebastien Parent’s Quality Magazine article, “From Human to Machine: How to be Prepared for Integration of Automated Visual Inspection” provides steps for an optimal framework to reduce installation time for a successful implementation.

Step One- Identify the Gain

According to Parent, “The first gain or benefit that comes up in automating human visual inspection is to avoid the well-known human flaws. One example being the lack of consistency when sustained attention is needed, leading to poor detection repeatability and reproducibility. Another flaw is the subjectivity in decision making. Human inspectors fall into a pattern and get used to a ‘regular’ ratio of anomalies in a specific manufacturing process.”

It is vital to precisely determine what needs to be automated by identifying undocumented tasks performed by human inspectors. By recording all tasks completed by inspectors (documented and undocumented), you can evaluate the pros and cons of automating. Automation is a “great tool to improve quality, limit escapes, add objectivity, and give new feedback on production” (Parent).

Step Two- Be Involved

Automation needs a champion so that it may be successful. Many people believe that automation replaces human jobs, but that is not the case. A champion is needed to “fully understand and be responsible for your facility to digest the technology. As the client, you need to be part of the adventure to handle and manage this technology leap in-house” (Parent).

Champions must be both competent in the technology, motivated to understand its function, and willing to share the information in such a way as to be a cheerleader for both human workers and automation working in conjunction. Champions must not only understand the end user, but must have a clear perception on how the system will be used by operators.

Step Three – Compare Automation Performance to Human Performance

Parent says that “once the AVI system is developed and configured, it’s time to evaluate its performance.” It is at this “performance analysis phase” that “you will clearly understand the level of human interpretation present in your visual inspection process and the subtleties of your manufacturing limits. This represents an opportunity for manufacturing improvement or to adapt the visual specifications to the reality of your new technology” (Parent).

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To read the original article, visit Quality Magazine here.