How industrial cameras propel IIoT forward

How industrial cameras propel IIoT forward

The term Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), also known as Industry 4.0, has now become a common term that denotes more automated and efficient production aided by data generated by various sensors. According to a recent whitepaper by Basler, image recording and processing, supported by industrial cameras that have become smaller yet greater in performance, can be a decisive element for capturing the information required for Industry 4.0.

For a long time, manufacturers resort to mass production to lower unit cost. In the context of garments manufacturing, this has resulted in the production of certain distinctive sizes of clothing, namely XS, S, M, L, and XL. However, the paper argues that what IIoT can do, supported with industrial cameras and imaging, is helping manufacturers transform from a mass production model to a “batch size 1” model.

“Once a customer decides on a model, their dimensions can be measured via an image processing (machine vision) system,” the paper said. “This might take the form of a small changing room with a camera in each wall to take a picture of each side of the body. Software handles the measurements and the subsequence cutting pattern for production. The remainder of production runs automatically right up through shipping. Fashion houses of the future will thus no longer sell their services based around full shelves with huge offerings, but rather through a large virtual selection and quick, reliable production.”

According to the paper, this approach is especially beneficial when a high degree of customization is needed. It uses as another example the production of individual metal workpieces customized to the customer‘s needs. “Industrial cameras can make precise measurements of the component on the spot, determining its individual shape and position and instructing the spray arms accordingly," it said. "At the same time, the painting results can also be controlled optically, either through assessment of the coloring or by measuring more complex reflective properties on the coating. This control data can flow in real time into the control unit. As such, a system for automated coating can become a self-learning system.”

On top of that, the paper said human efficiency can be enhanced through intelligent image processing systems integrated into helmets, garments and tools. “This is fully technically feasible, as cameras continue to become smaller and lighter: high-precision industrial cameras of the size of stamps, weighing less than 30 g including lens and casing, are already available today,” it said. “These vision systems record the activity and work status visually, audit results, identify reasonable follow-on steps or information. Subsequently they forward it to humans, for example as notifications on smart glasses working with ‘augmented reality.’ This promotes a further increase of productivity.”

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