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Omron releases new FH vision system with industry’s first AI defect detection

02 September 2020

Omron has announced the global release of its new FH Series Vision system with the industry’s first defect detection AI technology that identifies defects without learning samples. This artificial intelligence technology, which reproduces human sensibility and the techniques of skilled inspectors, reliably detects defects that were once difficult to capture, automating human vision-based visual inspection.

Manufacturers are facing intense pressure to automate processes that rely on the senses of experienced human workers. Particularly when it comes to visual inspection, it's important to reliably identify subtle defects even on flexible lines producing a wide range of items. Traditionally, the sensitivity and knowledge of technicians with long-term experience have been key. However, nowadays people may need to avoid working in the same space on the manufacturing sites in order to protect them from COVID-19, which leads to growing demand for labour-saving automated visual inspection. 

Artificial intelligence is now reaching the stage where it can recognise object features as well as humans and automatically learn criteria. While a lot of AI solutions face challenges with large amounts of image data, specialised hardware and engineering expertise, Omron has made great progress in enabling its widespread use.

To solve these challenges, Omron developed the industry's first defect detection AI that reproduces the techniques of skilled inspectors. This AI is now part of the FH Series Vision System. Over 30 years of Omron’s knowledge of image processing and visual inspection have been built into this new product to maximise the inspection capability using AI without learning huge amounts of data. AI has traditionally required a special environment, but OMRON’s lightweight solution has been integrated into a system component. No dedicated AI engineer is required for setup and adjustment at manufacturing sites.

Omron is committed to bringing innovation to manufacturing sites by materialising its unique concept called “innovative-automation” to solve manufacturing site issues. “As Omron strives to get close to, and even beyond, the performance of the human eye, we continue to further accumulate data and conduct research for the development of the latest AI technology. By expanding the scope of what can be automated in visual quality inspection, we free people from simple and monotonous work, while improving the process quality and stability,” stated Jan Nieswandt, Product Marketing Manager for Vision and RFID at Omron Europe.

Key features

1. AI captures defects with human-like sensitivity

- A new AI-based image filter reproduces the technique that skilled inspectors use to identify a defect on any product background.

- Scratches and blemishes that were once difficult to capture can now be identified even without the use of samples or adjustment.

2. AI identifies good products like experienced inspectors

- The FH Series can determine acceptable variation tolerances.

- An AI Fine Matching tool learns from the image data of non-defective products to quickly acquire the "expertise" that inspectors develop over the course of many years. This reduces costs and boosts productivity through automation.

- AI reduces overdetection.

3. No special environment is required

- AI has traditionally required a high-end environment, but OMRON’s lightweight solution comes in the form of user-friendly processing items that have been integrated into its popular FH Series hardware.

- No special hardware for AI or AI engineer is required.

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