Visual inspection gets AI-powered boost

A UK digital transformation specialist has added an important feature to its augmented reality solution, Vuforia, which will support and simplify visual inspection on shop floors across the country.PTC’s Step Check will provide employees with a step-by-step guide through inspection tasks using context-sensitive work instructions. These instructions superimpose on the physical product during inspection, while artificial intelligence (AI) helps to detect improper assembly, missing or misaligned parts, and other errors.

Thanks to colour-coded graphics displayed in real time on the part or product in question, operatives can see at a glance whether it has passed the inspection step. In addition, Step Check automatically documents inspection results and creates dashboards to analyse the inspections performed.

“Step Check uses advanced computer vision to recognise parts or products requiring inspection using their 3D CAD models; it then utilises an AI model based on examples of passed and failed inspections,” explains JJ Lechleiter, general manager of Vuforia at PTC.“The AI models learn from the decisions made by the employees and, as a result, continuously improve the results. Vuforia’s computer vision capabilities also recognise things not included in 3D CAD models, such as stickers or labels.”

Step Check is part of PTC’s Vuforia Expert Capture SaaS augmented reality (AR) solution, a product for the quick and easy creation of step-by-step AR work instructions. The new feature focuses on one of the most important phases of the manufacturing process: visual inspection in quality control. Traditionally, these inspections are performed by the naked eye and paper-based documentation, putting pressure on employees to make decisions quickly and increasing the risk of errors and rework.
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