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Innovative Thinking

Why Inspection is Critical in Automation

Premier Template (5)-1The smartphone giant Samsung recently underwent a huge fiasco involving the batteries of its Note 7 mobile phone, primarily caused by lack of proper inspection apparatus within its plants. Incorrect assembly of a single battery component lead to multiple reports of fire and explosions by owners of the mobile phone, leading to a mass recall among with significant PR damage.
 Inspection within an automation plant is a simple concept; it is the comparison of a measurement to a specific baseline. It can be applied to incoming raw materials, interim processes and/or finished devices. Inspection can be both quantitative and qualitative.

The need for 100% inspection has become the need of the hour due to the massive scale at which automation is carried out, removing the sometimes-watchful eye of human workers from the processes. Medical and automotive industries have already invested on inspection to ensure their products’ quality is maintained and losses are avoided. Furthermore, cosmetics has become another major reason for stringent inspection standards since customers proudly view their investment, and at times show off each and every feature it has.

Inspection Selection

A system that inhibits 100% inspection starts off with basic understanding of the application, as well as knowledge of upstream & downstream processes. One major factor that influences vision inspection is understanding the surface treatment of the part to be imaged. Reliable identification technology, particularly machine vision sensors can help realize the level of quality of a product. This information can be passed on upstream/downstream or alert the plant personnel so that necessary steps can be carried out to prevent all products from having the same defect.


Machine vision may seem to be the safest bet when it comes to inspection, however, due to its complexity and expensive nature, it may not be suitable for simpler operations. Pressure sensors, light array fixtures and pattern detectors can be utilized in some processes. The 2D area camera is also a viable alternative that makes use of directional lighting technology providing a pseudo-3D result. Shadows cast by any irregularities are identified, after which necessary action can be carried out with respect to rectification of the processes.

Furthermore, laser-triangulation are used in several industries where an imager captures the laser line scanning the part. Information such as height is extracted, any deformations are identified.

There are several technologies available for automation inspection, however, the choice depends on the nature of application, especially the return on investment that is guaranteed by such an installation. Of course, prevention supersedes cure, therefore, all-out efforts should be made in the first place to ensure any flaws during the product lifecycle are avoided.

Interested in learning more? Visit our website www.premierautomation.com, or talk to one of our specialists today.

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