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Role of cameras in smart factories

Role of cameras in smart factories
Smart factories can use a wide range of information inputs to feed their decision-making capabilities – video is one of many such sources, according to Andy Ward, CTO of Ubisense.
Smart factories can use a wide range of information inputs to feed their decision-making capabilities – video is one of many such sources, according to Andy Ward, CTO of Ubisense. “It’s used both in sensing and process control (ensuring, for example, that certain process areas are not obstructed by foreign objects) but also in test and QA (for example, making sure that all screws required to assemble a case are actually present in the finished article),” he said.  
“Video data needs a lot of interpretation, and works best where the process and illumination are well-constrained, allowing today’s image processing algorithms to operate at low error rates,” Ward continued. “In less well-constrained circumstances, direct methods of detecting and identifying objects, e.g. RFID systems, may be preferred.”
Andrea Sorri, Director of Business Development for Government, City Surveillance and Critical Infrastructures at Axis Communications gave some real-life examples of these applications. “Cameras inside smart factories are utilised for loss prevention, remote monitoring, operational processes, safety and security,” Sorri said. “For example, MARLENKA International, a facility producing honey cakes located in the Czech Republic, placed cameras above the production line to monitor the belt conveyor movement and the dough baking process as a result of the industrial standard requirements. Other areas cameras are being used in this facility include the product packing department as well as the dispatch department, for traffic monitoring. The camera system meets the demanding requirements for an extremely long-time (90 days) recording from cameras in the dispatch department with the possibility of finding a specific moment in the recording as fast as possible.”
For future development of the MARLENKA production facility, the company management will decide on installation of additional cameras for packing inspection or into cold shops with the temperature below the freezing point.
“Another example showcasing how cameras are used in smart facilities is with ZAMPRA spol. s.r.o., an international engineering company located in Czech Republic,” Sorri added. “They used cameras for mainly traditional security reasons, such as protection of the perimeter, theft prevention and monitoring. The cameras asserted themselves in monitoring observance of safety at work and specified work processes; the number of work injuries and unreported absences in the workplace has also decreased. However, very soon it turned out that the exceptional optical quality and software possibilities of the cameras, such as easy searching for records, made it possible to efficiently use the cameras for other activities that greatly optimize operations in production.”
“Since the launch of the camera system, there has been a demonstrable increase in production quality, growth in production and a reduction in work injuries and unreported absences in the workplace. So far, the camera system works independently, but for the future, connection with other systems is being considered”
Jerry Huang, Project Manager at IEI Integration, too gave two scenarios where cameras come into play in the smart factory. First is fault inspection. “The main work of the industrial camera is inspecting the degree of accuracy or tolerance needed.” Second would be the surveillance, which is a standard application for security.
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