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IBM brings cognition to the factory floor

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According to Business Insider Intelligence, the growth of the installed base of manufacturing IoT devices will expand to 923 million in 2020 – that’s 3x growth from 237 million in 2015. When faced with exponential growth and demand, the quality versus quantity conundrum is an unavoidable topic of conversation. Here’s why – manufacturing IoT devices requires high levels of quality inspection at every stage of factory production. More than half the overall quality checks involve visual confirmation to ensure that all parts are in the correct location, have the right shape or color or texture, and are free from scratches, holes or foreign particles. For this reason, automating visual quality checks is difficult due to volume and variety of products, as well as the fact that defects can be any size –from a tiny puncture to a cracked windshield on a vehicle.

Until now….

A cognitive assistant for manufacturers

Today, at Hannover Messe 2017, IBM launched a new IBM Watson Internet of Things (IoT) solution, Cognitive Visual Inspection. The new solution helps inspectors accelerate the sometimes tedious and expertise-based visual inspection process to quickly identify and classify defects in the manufacturing process – helping to increase production yield.

Reduce dependency on manual inspection

The IBM Cognitive Visual Inspection offering delivers reliable results with low escape rates to reduce the dependency on specialized labor and to improve throughput of quality processes across multiple industries. For manufacturing organizations, using a ‘cognitive assistant’ on the factory floor minimizes costly defects and increase product quality, while reducing inspection. Based on early testing by several global corporations producing electronics, automotive, and industrial products, the solution helped reduce inspection time and cut incidents of manufacturing defects by by 7-10 percent.

“By bringing cognition to the factory floor, IBM is helping usher in the fourth industrial revolution where entirely new levels of efficiency, flexibility and product excellence in manufacturing can become an everyday reality.” – Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson IoT, Customer Engagement and Education

Intelligent eyes on the factory floor

Designed to continuously learn based on human assessment of the defect classifications in the images, the solution can help manufacturers improve product excellence. Using an ultra-high definition (UHD) camera and cognitive capabilities from IBM Watson, the solution captures images of products as they move through production and assembly, and together with human inspectors, can detect defects in products, including scratches or pinhole-size punctures.

“With our new Cognitive Visual Inspection capabilities, we are bringing a new set of intelligent eyes to the manufacturing floor that have the potential to help manufacturers not only virtually eliminate product defects, but can also help businesses maintain product excellence, build brand reputation and increase revenue.”

– Harriet Green, General Manager, IBM Watson IoT, Customer Engagement and Education.

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