1 Sep


EDITORIAL - Machine Vision and Automation: How To Work Smarter Not Harder

In the ever-changing world of manufacturing and processing, companies are always looking for new ways to improve efficiency and productivity, enhance quality, and reduce cost. More and more companies are looking for new technologies and innovations to be able to achieve these goals. This is resulting in a shift towards the adaptation of advanced digital technologies, automation, real-time data exchange, and artificial intelligence. Call it “Industry 4.0”, “Smart Factories” or whatever the latest buzzword may be, this “fourth industrial revolution” is reshaping the whole manufacturing process, from conceptualisation, to production, and finally delivery.

Conventional manufacturing methodologies are no longer sufficient, as machines, systems, and humans can now seamlessly collaborate to create unprecedented levels of efficiency, quality and productivity. With this new era comes a wide range of benefits, however it also raises a number of new challenges related to technology integration, cybersecurity, workforce skills, and organisational change. Despite these challenges, Manufacturing and Processing companies are compelled to embrace this revolution, otherwise they risk being left behind by this fast-moving technological wave. Two fundamental parts of this revolution are Machine Vision and Automation.


The Applications of Machine Vision and Automation


An Embedded Box PC from Interworld Electronics being used in a machine vision environment.


When companies incorporate machine vision into their process, they are able to use cameras and sensors that are attached to a machine (typically a computer) to collect images and data from the surrounding environment. The machine is then able to interpret this data and then perform complex algorithms and make real-time decisions to complete a specified task. This enables companies to perform a number of essential tasks, including:

  • Feature Identification: Different patterns, shapes, colours, textures and other characteristics can be identified and used to make decisions or classifications.
  • Object Recognition and Detection: Distinct objects within the image can be recognized and located. This enables the machine to identify the presence and location of specific objects or to identify what an object is.
  • Classification and Sorting: Based on certain defined features, machine vision systems can classify objects into different categories or groups, and then use this information to sort the objects.
  • Measurement and Dimensional Analysis: Machine Visions Systems can accurately measure dimensions, distances, angles and other quantitative attributes of objects.
  • Quality Control: Machine Vision Systems are able to identify defects, flaws, or deviations from expected standards in products or processes. Furthermore, the Machine Vision system is easily able to do this quality control in large quantities, and at a fast rate.
  • Robotic Guidance: Machine Vision systems are able to guide robots and other machines to perform precise tasks, such as picking and placing objects or assembling components.


An Embedded Box PC from Interworld Electronics being used in an automation system.


Manufacturing and Processing businesses can also use specialised systems to automate their control and monitoring processes. These specialised systems can be mounted directly onto machinery and equipment, enabling real-time data acquisition, analysis, and control. These systems are able to operate efficiently, adapt to changing conditions and optimise production processes. They can be used as part of a machine vision system, or can be used as a standalone system to perform such tasks as:

  • Data Collection: Collect data from the system, such as temperature, pressure, humidity, and machine performance metrics.
  • Real-time Monitoring: Monitor the status and health of machinery and processes, detecting any anomalies or deviations from expected parameters.
  • Process Control: Run control algorithms and logic that enable the system to regulate the manufacturing process. The system can adjust parameters like speed, temperature, and pressure to ensure optimal production conditions and consistent product quality.
  • Predictive Maintenance: Using advanced analytics and machine learning algorithms, these systems can predict equipment failures. Providing insights into when maintenance should be performed, they are able to reduce downtime and prevent unexpected breakdowns.
  • Remote Monitoring and Control: These specialised systems support remote access and management, enabling engineers and supervisors to monitor and control production processes from other locations. This allows for off-site troubleshooting and maintenance and can also improve safety with the reduced need for close interaction with dangerous machinery.


The Benefits of Machine Vision and Automation


The usage of Machine Vision and Automation systems in manufacturing and processing enables companies to perform a wide range of tasks, which results in a variety of benefits. These systems can streamline production processes, reduce human error and minimise downtime. They can also help reduce cost, by reducing human labour, limiting product defects and helping to prevent equipment breakdowns. These systems can run 24/7 which increases productivity, and improves overall production output. They also ensure enhanced quality control, which reduces the risk of faulty products reaching customers.

With the ability to monitor processes in real-time, issues can quickly be identified and resolved before they cause major problems. These systems can also perform dangerous or repetitive tasks which helps to reduce the risk of injuries to human workers. The data that they collect and analyse, can also be a valuable tool for decision-making and improving processes. These systems also help to reduce waste, can be easily scaled and customised and provide businesses with a competitive advantage over their competitors.

However, this raises the question, how do you choose the right machine for your Machine Vision and Automations applications?


The Solution for Machine Vision and Automation


The AVS Series of Embedded Box PCs available at Interworld Electronics includes a range of systems that are ideal for Machine Vision and Automation applications. The different systems within the AVS series include a variety of features that can be customised to suit different applications. The AVS series also has a range of rugged features that enable them to be durable and long-lasting even when exposed to the harsh conditions of processing and manufacturing environments.


Features of the AVS-520


One of the standout systems within the AVS series is the AVS-520 Series, purpose built for factory automation and machine vision applications. The AVS-520 comes with a 9th Gen. Intel Core i3/i5/i7 Processor, and supports up to 64GB So-DIMM DDR4 of RAM. It also supports up to four LAN ports, up to six USB ports, up to eight digital I/O, a VGA port, a HDMI port, as well as many other flexible I/O, making it ideal for both automation and machine vision applications.

It has also been designed with a rugged, fanless construction that is resistant to high levels of shock (15G) and vibrations (1G). It has an operational temperature range of -20°C to 60°C for the i3/i5 processors or -20°C to 50°C for the i7 processor. It also boasts a wide range of other features and customisable options making it an ideal solution for automation and machine vision. Furthermore, when high-powered graphics processing is required, the AVS-522 & AVS-524 systems also support a PCIe x16 expansion slot.   

In summary, it is essential for manufacturing and processing companies to integrate machine vision and automation systems into their process, so as to optimise their processes, reduce costs, ensure quality and sustain growth. Visit the Interworld Machine Vision page to learn more and to discuss with the Interworld team a solution that suits your needs.