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Machine vision has many tangible economic benefits. Listed below are twenty-one justifications of machine vision for industrial inspection, provided courtesy of the UK Industrial Vision Association:

1. Saving labor directly concerned with inspection of products. Practically it is rare for there to be sufficient labor used to give the same degree of quality assurance that an untiring, unfailing vision system can provide.
2. Saving labor directly concerned with classifying or grading products (natural or manufactured) by quality, size, shape, or appearance.
3. Saving time used to identify products and components at different stages during processing.
4. Permitting full automation of processes which included 'incidental' inspection when performed manually, unaccounted for but necessary to avoid, e.g. jamming of automated operations by 'rogue' components.
5. Avoiding making scrap material with its associated raw material wastage and/or rework costs; vision-based statistical process control (SPC) can contribute to scrap elimination. Savings in this area can be huge, if only you can persuade people to account properly for scrap costs.
6. Better process understanding leading to process improvements with financial benefits; vision gives immediate and objective identification of problems, making it much easier to determine the cause(s).
7. Increasing throughput of saleable product per factory hour, hence improvement of return on investment (ROI). Throughput may appear to reduce when vision starts 'catching' defects previously ignored, but process improvement and SPC can quickly better the situation, ideally taking it to 100% of theoretical potential.
8. Faster checking of 'first off' dimensions, hence better ROI on capital equipment concerned, such as swaging mills and extrusion presses.
9. Avoiding 'giving away' material not contractually required to be supplied (baker's dozen syndrome); vision systems can count precisely and can accurately measure material sold by length.
10. Minimizing raw material usage by working consistently closer to minimum contractual dimensions rather than the middle of the tolerance zone, or maximizing permitted content of cheaper ingredient, e.g. fat in minced meat. (Think of that when buying hamburgers from a company which uses vision systems!)
11. Avoiding adding value to already-defective components; e.g. not glazing defective tiles inspected at 'biscuit' stage, not bonding defective 'lead frames' to good integrated circuits.
12. Optimizing usage of irregularly shaped and sized materials such as timber and leather.
13. Optimizing classification and grading to avoid 'downgrading for safety' syndrome.
14. Saving management time in disputes over grading and classification, whether internally or with customers; results from vision systems are objective and consistent.
15. Improved sales through quality perception of packaging by consumer; if the packaging is not perfect, the customer may think that perhaps the product is not carefully made.
16. Improved sales by quality perception by retailers leading to better promotion, e.g. allocation of more shelf space, or recommendation as a product which will cause no after sales problems.
17. Improved sales by product quality reputation leading to 'preferred supplier' status for industrial products.
18. Reduction of costs of warranty, which can far exceed value of defective item; a missing ball or roller bearing in a race can cause a car engine to fail after a few hundred miles.
19. Reduction of product recall costs, by tracking batch usage with serial numbers, so that the minimum number of products need to be recalled in the case of a faulty batch of components being discovered.
20. Reduction of risk of product liability claims, possibly quantifiable in insurance premium terms but claims can be catastrophic for product and company reputation even if fully covered by insurance.
21. Ability to sell in regulated markets - e.g. pharmaceutical, automotive, where 'best practice' is mandatory.


IT drives success for top-performing companies E-mail
Thursday, 13 September 2007, 11:25

Compared with their low-performing peers, high-performing mid-sized companies attach greater importance to investments in IT integration, outsourcing, sales and marketing, and plant and equipment, arguing that technology is a growth enabler. 

“Technology and growth at mid-sized companies: The next ten years,” a research study from the Economist Intelligence Unit sponsored by Oracle, focuses on technology as an enabler of growth at small and mid-sized companies (annual revenues of between $10-million and $500-million) throughout the world, both in terms of local technology infrastructure and the impact of specific investments.
“We found consistently more positive attitudes toward IT integration, as well as other aspects of IT, at companies with higher-than-average growth in revenue and profitability,” says Dan Armstrong, senior editor at the Economist Intelligence Unit. “This makes intuitive sense, since meeting additional demand requires strong ties among the customer support, sales, production and finance processes.”
Oracle Global SMB Business Unit senior vice-president Tony Kender, adds: “This research demonstrates the fundamental role technology plays in fuelling business growth among small and medium businesses.
"Not only does a high level of integration emerge as a common feature in top-performing companies, but the research also shows that small and medium companies face different challenges depending on their industry.
"Industry-specific functionality can help companies to address thesechallenges.”
Key findings of the 535-respondent survey include:
* High-performing companies have several traits in common. In the area of non-IT investments, they are more likely than lower-performing companies to engage in outsourcing; to invest in sales, marketing and distribution; and to invest in plant and equipment (particularly in the manufacturing sector). In the area of IT investments, they tend to believe investment in IT has better returns than investments in other areas; to have a high level of IT integration; and to buy integrated systems rather than disparate elements.
* Investment priorities vary among industries. The survey targeted executives in six industries: financial services; consumer goods; healthcare, pharmaceuticals and biotechnology; professional services; manufacturing; and the public sector.  The highest investment priorities in the public sector are knowledge management and data warehousing; in financial services and healthcare/pharmaceuticals, compliance; and in manufacturing, plant and equipment.
* The cost of software and skills poses a severe constraint on growth. Respondents said that the cost and effectiveness of the software applications needed to run today’s complex organisation represent a significant constraint on growth. Similarly, the cost and availability of talent (both IT staff and end-users) also represent a constraint, as does resistance of end-users to new technology. More than one-half of respondents say IT staff resources at their company are inadequate to meet demand.
* Software alone is not an enabler of growth. When probed as to the best single investment - IT or otherwise - for realising their key business objectives, more than two-thirds of the mid-sized businesses surveyed cite software applications. Yet, while leaders recognise the ability of software applications for helping to achieve business goals, they also acknowledge that software investments do not always realise their potential.
The area where executives of mid-sized firms believe technology investment would have the most positive impact on their businesses is in customer relationship management, according to survey data. This is also an area where large corporations have attempted to focus for some time in the quest to become more “customer-centric”.

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Container Recognition







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I-Cube.   All rights reserved.  Revised: February 18, 2008 .