Case studies for intelligent image recognition in different industries

References

The Smart Klaus is an intelligent assistance system that works reliable, time and cost efficient. The image processing solution is individually tailored to the needs of different customers in different industries.

Case Studies of Industrial Image Recognition

 

A selection of case studies and references in the field of image recognition can be found here (click here for more details):

 

Liebherr introduces intelligent assistance system for component

Fast and reliable identification increases productivity

Anyone who provides good ideas at Liebherr, such as saving costs or shorten through put times, will be rewarded. Andreas Just from the Liebherr location in Ettlingenn is a personality that acts directly. Since certain time the time consuming and cumbersome identification of individual engine parts, on the basis of drawings, has been a thorn in the side of Liebherr. Particularly since the company is growing dynamically, the time for identifying parts with the available personnel is becoming increasingly scarce and the quality of the result is thereby considerably affected.

AFTER ONE YEAR THE INVESTMENT PAYS FOR ITSELF

"There needs to be an easier and faster way” was Andreas Just thought before he started his research about optical recognition solutions. Through his Internet research, he became aware of the solution from Optimum datamangement solutions GmbH and the Smart Klaus. "I then went to Karlsruhe and tested how the assistance system works in combination with intelligent image processing. What I saw was exactly the solution I was looking forˮ he remembers. Andres Just was immediately aware of the fact, that the Smart Klaus” drastically shortens throughput times - by more than 50 percent -, increases productivity, provides security in identification and creates scope for highly qualified work. He submitted the solution as a suggestion for improvement and received management approval - along with a bonus. On the basis of his preliminary calculation, the investment pays for itself after just one year and saves the company almost five-figure annual savings.

MORE THAN 600 ENGINE VARIANTS TO IDENTIFY

Liebherr Ettlingen GmbH is a specialist in the reconditioning of drive components. "We recondition engines, gearboxes and hydraulic components, repair them or assemble exchange components or assemblies from stored parts. We are a remanufacturing company “, explains Andreas Just. In the diesel sector, the Ettlingen location supplies worldwide exchange engines. The delivery list includes more than 600 engine variations that have been developed over the decades. Spare parts must always be available for these, e.g. to be assembled into a replacement engine on request. The parts of disused engines form the reservoir - as well as for general overhaul and repair, also known as "Reman". The abbreviation stands for "Remanufacturing" and reconditioning of engines and other components. 2013 the ten thousandth Reman hydraulic component was delivered and 2016 the five thousandth Reman diesel engine. Planned deliveries for 2018 are in total 7,200 components, of which around 1,100 are engines, with an upward trend. On a daily basis, up to seven disused engines from excavators, wheel loaders, mobile cranes or other construction vehicles are delivered to the farm in Ettlingen. Those are dismantled by fitters, the individual parts are inspected, the reusable parts and components are washed, stripped of paint, rusted, preserved, provided with the correct identification number and then systematically stored in a high-bay warehouse. "Per engine there are up to 100 parts that need to be identifiedˮ explains Andreas Just. Although some parts can be recognized by the employees at first glance, many have to be compared in detail with the construction drawings. "This can take between four and five minutesˮ, according to Just. Especially in the case of pipes with different bends and lengths or complex parts with different bores. This requires a very precise look and measurement in order to not confuse anything, otherwise the part will not fit when it comes to the assembly of a replacement engine. This can be really stressful because any incorrect storage with a wrong identification number can lead to delays during assembly and jeopardize the delivery targets.

FEW PARAMETERS ARE SUFFICIENT FOR OPTICAL IDENTIFICATION

Since January of this year, Smart Klaus has been integrated into the work process in Ettlingen. Gradually the intelligent colleague is trained by highly qualified specialists. At the beginning of February, more than 1,500 parts had already been taught in, and by the summer of this year there had already been more than 5,000. Weight and contour are the main characteristics our Smart Klaus searches for. In the case it is insufficient to identify a part with a certainty over 90 percent, we can additionally teach in up to 100 special features - from the number and diameter of holes and gears to reflections, typefaces or surface finish”, explains Andreas Just. Even though every additional feature slows down the recognition process, the Smart Klaus is incredibly fast. Therefore, only a few number of parameters is sufficient.

A recognition with 90 percent security, is sufficient to assign the correct identification number. "He usually recognizes a part in 10 to 20 seconds” Sebastian Kurpiers says, team leader of the diesel department in Ettlingen. The speed of the Smart Klaus also increases productivity. The considerably faster throughput time increases the number of parts stored and thus offers capacities to accelerate the assembly of exchange engines and to handle more orders.

SAVING TIME FOR QUALIFIED WORK

For Sebastian Kurpiers, the decisive factor is not the faster throughput time, but the time freed up for the qualified specialists. They can now concentrate on using their high qualifications to further increase quality standards, measure parts more precisely and eliminate sources of error. There are many large parts that still have to be measured and identified manually. Once the Smart Klaus has been intensively "learnt", even an assistant can take over the diagnosis. But the time has not arrived yet. Still many small article details need to be taught in to the Smart Klaus. "Each equal part looks differently optically, says Andreas Just. "There are discolorations, traces of use, rust - this requires fine-tuning of the parameters".

Sometimes it is sufficient to turn the corresponding part or place it at a different angle so that it is illuminated differently and the Smart Klaus can then identify the part. In many cases it is sufficient to adjust the contrast or limit the weight. "We gain experience with each new part so that we can adjust the recognition software more specifically, explains Andreas Just. The reassuring thing about the Smart Klaus is that the detection with the intelligent image processing (once it has been optimally adjusted) provides one hundred percent security. Employees are more relaxed and don't have to check three times to see whether the correct identification number has really been assigned.

INTELLIGENT IMAGE PROCESSING ENSURES 100% CORRECT RECOGNITION

"Incorrect storages belongs to the past” says Wolfgang Mahanty, a graduate in business administration. The Optimum managing director developed the Smart Klaus together with its team and brought and made it ready for series production. As specialist for industrial image processing and intelligent data base systems Mr. Mahanty equipped the intelligent assistance system with interfaces in such a way that it enables the communication with other software systems of the customer. This allows a fast integration into the production process. Depending on the customer requirements, the system can be configured for the everyday use.

The spectrum ranges from the incoming and outgoing goods inspection to picking, final inspection, assembly and identification. In addition, the company offers extensions such as maintenance contracts, variant control, variant control and logging. For more specialized applications, it is furthermore possible to integrate various accessories: From barcode scanners and RFID readers to electrical measuring devices or torque wrenches.

The Smart Klaus consists of a high-resolution HD touch screen with 21.5 inch, one or several USB 3.0 industrial cameras with half-inch sensors and extremely high resolution (up to 18 megapixels). Energy-efficient LED panels with a luminous intensity of up to 8,000 lumens and a 4 GHz high-performance computer (including up to two integrated Gigabit network adapters) are also included.

The system has a modular structure. The identification module is equipped by defaulte with a scale, LED under light and if required, with a label printer, via which the identification numbers can be imprinted as a barcode on a label after identification. The key element of the Smart Klaus is the image processing software supported by an intelligent database. "Once the master data for each part has been captured, the Smart Klaus will ensure that the parts are 100% correctly identifiedˮ assures Wolfgang Mahanty.

The Smart Klaus also indicates whether an article has needs to be sorted out since it is no longer built in. "If, for example, a part has not been in demand for more than three years, we check whether it is still needed in stock" explains Sebastian Kurpiers. The high-bay warehouse is full and rarely requested parts are stored in external warehouses.

WIDE RANGE OF POSSIBLE FIELD OF APPLICATION

The Smart Klaus accelerates the work process enormously and creates capacities for future challenges. "We will increase our sales continously and significantly until 2020. This is on the one hand due to the fact that Liebherr's component portfolio is constantly being expanded, and on the other hand to the fact that Liebherr components are being used more and more in the company's own equipment as well as of third-party manufacturersˮ, says Christoph Ochs, Marketing Manager at Liebherr in Ettlingen. Consequently, the Smart Klaus needs to learn continually in the future.

The variety of parts will be doubled in the coming years. Each new generation of engines adds between 2,000 and 2,500 new parts that need to be teached in to the software. These can not be identified and documented without technical support such as offered by the Smart Klaus. Therefor the Ettlingen-based company is considering using the recognition system in other departments as well. "After the first experiences we have high confidence in the technology of the Smart Klaus and see possibilities for other fields of applicationˮ so Christoph Ochs.

  • The Smart Klaus shortens the throughput time of the diagnosis by more than 50%

  • Already af ew parameters are sufficient for optical identification

  • The reliable identification ensures relaxed employees

  • Spare parts for over 600 engine variants can be optically identified

  • Erroneous storage belongs to the past

ZERO-DEFECT-MANUFACTURING DURING ASSEMBLY AT ZIEHL-ABEGG

The intelligent "Smart Klaus" worktable ensures zero-defect production and increases productivity by 20 percent.

Miroslawa Schneider is completely relaxed. The employee in electronics production at ZIEHL-ABEGG SE in Künzelsau assembles circuit boards for EC motors and fans. Working with her colleague, she knows that she cannot make any mistakes. This relieves her of the pressure at work and the worry of making a mistake. The Smart Klaus is an attentive and reliable observer. The OPTIMUM datamanagement solutions GmbH work table in Karlsruhe, equipped with industrial cameras, is a co-thinking work table and will not miss a thing. And as soon as Miroslawa Schneider has done everything right, a big "O.K." and a sugar-sweet smiley appear on the screen. "The praise for one's own work is great. The system simply provides security. I work much more concentrated and also a lot faster", says the assembler and approaches motivated the next circuit board.

PROFITABLE SIDE EFFECT

Before the SmartKlaus was integrated into the production process of the fan specialist based in Hohenlohe, the work for the employees was much more demanding. "There remained a constant uncertainty, and after assembly we conscientiously checked each printed circuit board to see whether all the parts positioned correctly" explains Miroslawa Schneider. This is no longer necessary at all. As a result, line productivity has increased by around 20 percent. Production manager Hermann Mütsch initially did not expect this. "The idea of introducing an automated inspection system with direct feedback in the assembly process was primarily aimed at ensuring our high quality standard. The fact that the employees are now working faster is a nice side effect that brings a profit", the electrical engineer is pleased to report.

FLASH OF INSPIRATION

In order to expand PCB assembly in electronics production, he was looking for a system that could monitor manual assembly and immediately visualize errors at the workstation and report them back to the worker in real time. "The Smart Klaus was sort of a flash of inspiration in my brain" recalls Hermann Mütsch at the first demonstration of the system in Karlsruhe. He ordered six of the intelligent assistance systems and integrated them into a new production line. The line runs 15 different part numbers for three different sized engines. The capacity is designed for 400,000 circuit boards in a two-shift operation. Each work shift is staffed by one supervisor, six assemblers, three inspectors, one material stacker and an electronics technician for the repair of faulty assemblies. ZIEHL-ABEGG has invested a total of one million euros in the system.

The ensemble combines the previously separate work areas of assembly and conductor board testing. In addition, the work step panel separation is added. Here, the round PCBs are cut from the square panel. The uncomplicated integration of the Smart Klaus into the system surprised process planner Heiko Spohn. "Despite special requests the installation, connection to the production line control and our IT environment was trouble-free. A small, separate program for the connection to the central control system was quickly written. Optimum was very cooperative and integrated the requirements into the specifications," he says. 

INDUSTRY 4.0 SOLUTION

The smart Klaus now receives all necessary data from the company's internal database for PCB assembly via the order number. The intelligent worktable guides the employee via monitor, cheks, follows every step of the process according to the four-eyes principle and confirms when the process has been completed with zero errors. "There is communication between man and computer. The person acts and the computer gives the signal if the action was correct. Errors are recognized immediately and the employee is immediately asked to correct them. Only then the process can continue" explains Wolfgang Mahanty. The managing director of OPTIMUM datamanagement solutions developed the system in cooperation with the Optimum team and made it ready for series production. He sees in the Smart Klaus Klaus an industry 4.0 solution in its purest form. "The Smart Klaus knows what it is, knows the complex processes of a production, guides them and compares if they are executed correctly" he outlines the working method. As a specialist for industrial image processing and intelligent database systems, he has equipped the assistance system with interfaces that enable it to communicate with other customer software systems. These allow fast integration into the production process and simple data exchange with the systems.

The Smart Klaus consists of a high-resolution HD touch screen with 21.5 inch, one or several USB 3.0 industrial cameras with half-inch sensors and extremely high resolution (up to 18 megapixels). Energy-efficient LED panels with a luminous intensity of up to 8,000 lumens and a 4 GHz high-performance computer (including up to two integrated Gigabit network adapters) are also included.

THE KEY ELEMENT IS THE IMAGE PROCESSING SOFTWARE

The key component of the Smart Klaus is the image processing software supported by an intelligent database. It subdivides customer processes into sub-steps, checks their correct order and triggers acoustic and visual alarms if they are executed incorrectly. The software communicates with the customer's systems and is able to record and document every step without interruption. "Recall actions, expensive complaints or redirection of missing parts are a matter of the past" says Wolfgang Mahanty. Customers can use the collected data to further optimize processes or transfer them to other processes.

Schichtführer und Programmierer Stefan Weiß von ZIEHL-ABEGG ist vom Schlauen Klaus überzeugt. „Das System ist sehr bedienerfreundlich und lässt sich einfach programmieren“, versichert er. Er sieht vor allem drei Vorteile: Die Einarbeitungszeit hat sich extrem verkürzt, die Bestückungsqualität ist deutlich gestiegen und die Fehlerquote ist signifikant gesunken. Bei der Bestückung geht sie gegen Null. Wird ein Bauteil mit falscher Polarität eingesetzt oder ein Bauteil schräg eingebaut, meldet sich der wissende Kollege. Aus Sicht von Stefan Weiß wird dadurch ein hoher Standard festgelegt, der dem Anspruch des Unternehmens, der „Königsklasse“, gerecht wird.

GOOD FEELING AFTER THE WORK SHIFT

The employees get along very well with the Smart Klaus. The works council and the data protection officer also have no concerns about the assistance system. Currently, one assembler produces around 160 circuit boards per day. They are processed clockwise. Within the line, rotation takes place. "We always switch after one week to the next Smart Klaus. At one workstation the circuit boards are assembled according to the same pattern, at the other two workstations the designs change. This gives us a certain variety," says Sara Kiss. She appreciates the system because she can correct errors immediately and afterwards go home with a positive feeling. Now ZIEHL-ABEGG collects experiences in everyday life. "We want to find out whether there are still weak points. Ergonomics, for example, or lighting," says Hermann Mütsch.

The system is almost maintenance-free. Only cameras and screens have to be readjusted from time to time. How well the system works is demonstrated by Miroslawa Schneider with a smile on her face: She mounts a component the wrong way round on the printed circuit board - and the Smart Klaus immediately refuses the "O.K.". When the system was first introduced, assemblers with years of experience were strongly convinced that the Smart Klaus would become unemployed because he would not find anything to correct. Meanwhile they are happy and grateful to have the helpful digital colleagues at their side.

Hermann Mütsch
Wolfgang Mahanty

ECKARD MAUCH CREATES QUALITY AT ALL LEVELS

Lean production processes head Eckard Mauch GmbH towards industry 4.0. The company from Mühlacker has been asserting itself on the market for over 30 years by focusing on special machine construction and automation technology.

The family-owned company operates worldwide and focuses on quality and technical expertise. Therefore, the Baden-Württemberg company has added the innovative collegue "Smart Klaus", which supports in not one but two areas of application. By using the assistance system in assembly and end-of-line testing, they ensure 100 percent quality despite increasing complexity and additional product variants.

SMART IS NOT ALWAYS SMART

On a daily basis Eckard Mauch GmbH assembles and checks components on-site for customers. The component assembly, which usually consist of several components, was previously carried out with the aid of assembly instructions on paper. The acquiring of assembly knowledge was very time-consuming and errorneous. Furthermore the assembly process was not consistent, causing different quality results and process times. In addition, vision sensors or smart cameras were previously used for end-of-line testing, whereby a large number of sensors or smart cameras were required when components had to be highly variable.  The purchase of these cameras is very costly and also requires new configurations for future projects.

INTELLIGENT AND CLEVER: THE "SMART KLAUS" ENSURES A SLIM LINE

As from now, the assistance system accompanies the customer of Eckard Mauch GmbH via intelligent image processing during assembly and final inspection. In both areas, the employee is guided audio visually through the process.

The printed assembly instructions have been replaced by the digital assistant. Enormous time savings and an error rate of 0 ppm now ensure optimized conditions. The employee is indicated step by step via the touch screen which parts and protective capsules need to be installed where. The key word is : "Relaxed assembly".

In addition, the end-of-line testing has been significantly improved: the integration of the Smart Klaus system allows the reduction of type-specific devices and the avoidance of new purchases. The image processing system checks any number of features with a single camera. If process changes occur during feature inspection, this can be handled in the shortest possible time. The parts are reprogrammed once, and the process continues as usual. The knowledge about the most different articles is collected in a system and made available at the respective place, a new kind of knowledge management is created.

The outstanding feature of the "knowing" colleague is the process flexibility with 100% quality and meanwhile relaxed employees. Managing Director Oliver Mauch is convinced: "We were able to significantly improve our customer's processes in the direction of Industry 4.0. The Smart Klaus guarantees an error rate close to zero, no more overloads and less effort of time".

 

INDUSTRY 4. 0 STARTS BY THE RECEIPT OF GOODS : THE SMART KLAUS RELIEVES EMPLOYEES FROM PRESSURE AT ALFONS MARKERT

Entering his father’s technical trade in 1930, Alfons Markert had no idea of the revolution of industry 4.0 and the networked processes of a Smart Factory in the 21st century.

The four-generation company with a long tradition is now regarded as an expert in the manufacture of tube and filter technology. The latest addition to Alfons Markert + Co. GmbH is an intelligent assistance system for incoming goods that relieves the pressure and prevents errors.

Until now, the image processing system "Smart Klaus" was mainly used in assembly and order picking. Now the software is enhanced by one variant and navigates the employee beginning from the incoming goods along the entire supply chain.

THE OUTGOING SITUATION IN GOODS RECEIPT

On arrival of ordered goods at Alfons Markert, an employee had to identify the product (which challenged new employees or new items) and check the quality based on the defined data in the QA system.

Therefore, the employees had to be familiar with many different products and the associated test specifications, recall them within the shortest possible time and apply the associated process steps:

  • Which articles are involved?
  • Is the delivered quantity of goods the same as ordered?
  • Which are the parameters that have to be checked and what are the tolerances?

Time pressure and psychological stress were the result. The filter manufacturer was confronted with an enormous time-consuming process, which led to unnecessary additional costs and high error rates.

LEAN PROCESSES: DIGITAL GOODS RECEIPT 4.0

With the application of the intelligent assistance system from Optimum GmbH in Karlsruhe, the manufacturer of filters, tubesand couplings is now breaking new ground in the area of Smart Factory.

 

The "Smart Klaus" digitally retrieves the corresponding delivery notes and guides the employees " consciously" through the process at goods receipt:

 

  1. Identify and guide:
    The "Smart Klaus" shows via the touch monitor which article is involved.
  2. Check:
    The assistance system recognizes defective goods immediately on the basis of previously specified article characteristics that need to be checked optically.
  3. Confirm:
    The digital colleague provides the employees audio-visual feedback on the test result.
  4. Documenting:
    The image processing system logs all results of the inspection process, generates a complaint report in real time and transmits this as quality feedback to the supplier by e-mail.

The special feature of the incoming goods solution is its accurate measurement up to a tenth of a millimetre. This precision of detail is ensured by additional telecentric hardware, an industrial scale and the integration of a Bluetooth caliper gauge. The zero-defect strategy ensures a completely safe, simple and efficient process with 100% quality. The employees are actively relieved and the psychological pressure is replaced by a feeling of security. The "Smart Klaus" brings Alfons Markert closer to digital transformation.

AUDI SMART FACTORY - THE SMART KLAUS SUPPORTS THE ASSEMBLY OF THE NEW AUDI A4

The Smart Factory project at Audi AG in Ingolstadt prepares its production for the future.

At "Audi TechDay", every year current trends are presented and a look behind the scenes of the Smart Factory is given. The "Smart Klaus" has already overcome the stage of development and is currently used in the series production of door assembly of the of Audi A4.

At the Audi plant in Ingolstadt, Germany, the belts for the Audi A3, A4, A5 and Q2 models now run at 88-second intervals. Every 30 seconds, a car is completed on one of the three lines and leaves the factory. This makes Ingolstadt the second largest automobile factory in Europe. Ingolstadt, too, is increasingly relying on disruptive change. Production is moving away from the assembly line and towards modular assembly using intelligent assistance systems. The "Smart Klaus" is such a system and a welcome colleague in Ingolstadt. Ultimately, it not only prevents errors, but also reduces the stress on workers.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO RELIEVE STRESS AND AVOID ERRORS IN REAL TIME

The "Smart Klaus" supports the workers in the Audi A4 door pre-assembly with the very demanding and complex wiring. The range is several hundred different variants. Previously these had to be selected manually and installed in the right place. In the top versions of the A4 up to 14 plug connections are incorporated in the door panels (for window regulators, loudspeakers, central locking, mirror adjustment and other Audi optional extras).

 

EMPLOYEES RELY ON THE SMART KLAUS

By combining industrial image recognition with an intelligent database, the assistance system recognizes every step and accompanies the employee in real time throughout the entire assembly process. According to the simple principle: Guidance - Verification - Confirmation - Documentation, even complex processes become manageable. The Smart Klaus always intervenes when errors occur. Correct actions are confirmed.

Above an ergonomically designed work table, two high-resolution 2D cameras check whether all plugs are properly inserted. The working order is irrelevant. Incorrect or missing connections belong to the past when assembling the doors of the new Audi A4. Audi is enthusiastic about the solution. For one, the door assembly works almost error-free, and for another, the employees feel supported and noticeably relieved.

Photos: Audi AG, Ingolstadt, Germany

BUSY LIZZIE THE YOUNGER SIBLING OF THE SMART KLAUS SORTS DISHES - FAST AND ACCURATE

With the Busy Lizzie, a further development of the Smart Klaus, we have broken new ground. Enabled by our intelligent assistance system it is possible for the first time to automatically sort the dishes of multiple airlines.

The system automatically recognizes the dishes of different airlines in the catering kitchen itself and assigns each part the correct place in the high-bay warehouse of the flight kitchen.

We collaborated with Unitechnik Systems GmbH to realize this project. In the future, we will be pursuing joint marketing strategies and benefit from synergies.

Nowadays every second counts in the logistics of profitable, high-performance airlines. Process optimization is demanded in many areas, and mistakes can hardly be tolerated. Our database-supported image recognition software is currently causing a sensation in the industry. With the help of our assistance system "Busy Lizzie", an adaptation of the "Smart Klaus", the dishes of various airlines in a catering facility are recognized error-free, sorted and stored in the right place in the high-bay warehouse.

ZERO-ERROR PROTOCOLS IN SORTING

Neither its position nor the sequence of the individual pieces of dishes play a role, because the system is based on a sophisticated algorithm and reliably recognizes previously taught-in parts by means of the built-in industrial cameras. The employees on the lines, who previously identified and assigned the dishes manually, are now permanently relieved and guided throughout the entire process. Errors are detected in real time and can be corrected immediately.

SIMPLE INTEGRATION INTO EXISTING PROCESSES - FOR MORE THAN JUST CATERING

The "Busy Lizzie" system is not only easy to integrate into existing airline catering facilities. It can be easily adapted to many similar processes. In this particular case, we additionally profit from the know-how of Unitechnik Systems GmbH. As a general contractor, we dispose of international experience, including the implementation of intralogistics projects. The "Busy Lizzie" shows that digitization and work 4.0 are very close to each other. Workers and computers complement each other, efficiency is significantly improved and at the same time the workload is reduced.

INHERITED ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE FROM THE BIG BROTHER

The "Busy Lizzie" has proven to be an extremely reliable crew colleague shorty after being deployed in airline catering. Her big, award-winning brother - "Smart Klaus" - has been awarded a total of five awards for innovation and artificial intelligence and is considered today to be a trend-setting development in the automation of manual workstations.

Photos: Unitechnik Systems GmbH

OPTIMUM PREPARES YOUR MANUAL WORKSTATIONS FOR THE FUTURE

The Smart Klaus supports employees and helps to enable a more relaxed and productive workflow. This intelligent form of manual and highly flexible work conserves the employees resources by avoiding rejects and prevents additional costs and returns.

Further information can be found in the download PDF for handwork places fit for the future.

INTELLIGENT IMAGE PROCESSING USED IN ASSEMBLY

Household appliance manufacturer Miele is uses the Smart Klaus in order to support the pre-assembly of switch panels for dishwashers.

Miele produces household appliances for over 90 countries worldwide in a wide variety of designs. Many components are pre-assembled and then combined with the actual appliance during final assembly, including switch panels with which the end customer operates his dishwasher.

During manual assembly, the employee finds the information on the panel to be assembled. He then must correctly associate the assembly parts, based on the given article number and country code. The complexity of switch panels is so high because there are so many variations (wide, narrow, with large or small handle, with display or illuminated LEDs). In addition, there are 22 different language variants. Miele is aware of the complexity and cognitive strain of its employees and is working hard to relieve them.

IMAGE RECOGNITION ENABLES HANDLING OF COMPLEXITY

The challenge for Optimum was to adapt the "Smart Klaus" to the assembly concept without altering the existing processes. Only a few hardware components were added to the workstation: a powerful computer, a camera suitable for industrial use and a touch monitor allowing interaction with the employee. The entire complexity of the different components is defined in the system and can be handled by the employee.

Using the production companion label, the system obtains the information as which blend in which design is being used. The associated assembly steps are defined in the product data. The employee is guided through the assembly process via a monitor. The camera checks whether the correct part has been mounted and the system confirms with a visual and acoustic signal. If errors should occur, the employee receives an audio-visual message. The next assembly step is only possible once the fault has been rectified. Today, only correctly mounted blends are transferred to the downstream processes. Assembly at Miele has become more relaxed and, at the same time, safer.

Dieses Video bei Youtube ansehen.

The camera-based assembly assistant "Smart Klaus" at Miele offers the following advantages:

  • Elimination of downstream quality assurance
  • No more returns due to incorrectly assembled items
  • More relaxed employees, since " the "Smart Klaus" virtually "looks over their shoulder" and draws their attention to potential mistakes directly.
  • Secured process with subsequent documentation

INTELLIGENT IMAGE PROCESSING FOR QUALITY ASSURANCE IN THE AVIATION INDUSTRY

HOSA Aircraftcompletions GmbH inserts the Smart Klaus as controlling instance for complex interior linings of helicopters.

The company from Beverungen is a manufacturer and development company for interior aviation components, supplying VIP and standard components for helicopters and aircraft (seat covers, carpeting and interior trim) for more than 25 years. Through optical inspection and the support of "Smart Klaus", HOSA reduced the testing time of its complex components by 70 percent.

In order to check interior linings for completeness and product quality before dispatch, HOSA previously required around 60 working hours. Cause for this are the 170 complex large parts, whose dimensions range up to one and a half times three and a half meters. The associated inspection characteristics are correspondingly extensive and range from the correct shape, size and colour to buttons, flaps and lettering. The desired goal is to reduce the testing time and increase the accuracy in order to guarantee a higher output with the same level of quality.

INTELLIGENT IMAGE PROCESSING AUTOMATICALLY CHECKS AND DOCUMENTS VARIOUS FEATURES

With the "Smart Klaus" OPTIMUM has installed a quality control before shipping. In HOSA's case, the "Smart Klaus" consists of seven cameras checking the total requiredarea , a touch monitor and database-driven image recognition software. The monitor shows all steps of the inspection and reports possible malfunctions of the product. This ensures that even unskilled personnel can operate the system.

The solution is programmed in such a way that it recognises the various interior lining products in the shortest possible time and checks them for accuracy and the presence of the features. By interfacing with the database, inspections can be automatically logged, which considerably facilitates proof of quality and accelerates the entire inspection process. Even new products with predefined parameters can be teached in.

Dieses Video bei Youtube ansehen.

The advantages of the OPTIMUM system for HOSA are following: The "Smart Klaus" ...

  • ... saves time and expenses.
  • ... increases the precision of quality control.
  • ... liberates personnel for other tasks.
  • ... increases customer satisfaction through faster delivery and consistent quality.
  •  ... reduces the dispatch of defective products.

 

The "Smart Klaus" is exactly what we want. In a reliable way, the system has enormously reduced the testing time per set of interior cladding and increased customer satisfaction through consistent quality".

(Uwe Sander, Managing Director)

INTELLIGENT IMAGE PROCESSING IN THE INCOMING GOODS DEPARTMENT

In order to manage the record of returns and the incoming good inspection, Optimum developed an assistance system for the jewellery manufacturer Fossil.

The jewellery manufacturer Fossil handles returns processing at four different locations. In order to be able to offer the jewellery on the widest possible area, the company sends the goods to its traders, who have the opportunity to return them if they are not sellable. Some of these are articles with missing barcodes or jewellery from the previous year.

Employees in the goods receiving department cannot always identify and assign the returned goods immediately. Only a time-consuming catalogue search can determine which part is involved and where it must be sorted. More than 10,000 articles can be differentiated, which is the reason why employees work under enormous pressure. Nobody can handle this complexity on his own!

In order to ensure that Fossil is able to handle returns properly and facilitate incoming goods inspection, Optimum has developed a feasibility study with the "Smart Klaus" for the identification of jeweller pieces.  The system uses two cameras to identify the ring, bracelet or pendant. It also records the different ring sizes and distinguishes between red gold and yellow gold as well as silver and white gold in terms of color. The "Smart Klaus" secures the processes and manages the complexity.

IMAGE PROCESSING REDUCES THE STRESS OF EMPLOYEES AT GOODS RECEIPT

Jewellery identification is therefore so important because it offers completely new paths and processes. Instead of illustrating the price, article number and other information on paper, the "Smart Klaus" can display the information on a screen. This method even enables to play in a daily price, returns information or the storage location. In the salesroom, it is even possible to diplay information videos on the respective items as soon as they have been captured by the camera.

The Smart Klaus brings the following advantages to jewellery identification:

  • Smooth returns processing
  • Enormous time savings, because the system shows the employee which product is involved
  • Elimination of catalogue research
  • Relaxed employees

INTELLIGENT IMAGE PROCESSING WHILE SORTING

For a logistics service provider, the "Smart Klaus" is deployed in order to support employees in sorting complex products.

One of the world's leading logistics service providers in Germany sorts and stores so-called trays, which serve as carriers of computer chips during production, for one of its customers. The number of different computer chips is as large as the variety of specific carriers. These are collected after use and must be re-sorted for reuse. With the approx. 1,800 different trays, the differences are often in the millimetre range.

The original idea of assigning six employees to sort the trays was rapidly discarded as too complex. No employee can tell the difference between this large number of variants and assign the carriers to the matching trays from memory. Therefore, Optimum's "Smart Klaus" assistance system was to be used in order to identify the trays. The semi-automatic sorting system, customized to the client's requirements, supports the employees and makes the complexity manageable.

REDUCED PRESSURE ON TEAM MEMBERS DUE TO THE VISUAL ASSISTANCE SYSTEM

If a tray is recognized, the information stored in the database appears on the monitor and the employee knows exactly what type is involved. The "Smart Klaus" informs the employee about the appropriate storage compartment via display and voice message and the trays can be sorted ready for the next use. The system recognizes individual trays in the shortest possible time and secures the process 100 percent.

Since the "Smart Klaus" supports the employees, the logistics service provider benefits from the following advantages:

  • The essential task of sorting has in fact only been possible by using the "Smart Klaus" due to a very high variety of variants.
  • The parts show minimal differences, for whose recognition would take a long time.
  • The camera-based assistance system identifies in a very short time.
  • The employees are relieved and are safely assisted through the sorting process.

 

INTELLIGENT IMAGE PROCESSING FOR INCREASED QUALITY

Introduction of a special label tool at BOSCH, developed in order to ensure the software quality of driver assistance systems.

The Bosch Group is a leading international technology and service company. In the fields of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, approximately 375,000 associates generated sales of 70.6 billion euros in fiscal year 2015.

The Labeltool is a special image recognition software that catalogues target value specifications, allowing a later target/actual comparison. The software is constantly upgraded and further developed by Optimum.

The Labeltool operates using optical pattern recognition and offers numerous advantages:

  • Semi-automatic tracing
  • Time saving
  • Increased accuracy
  • Reproducible driving situations
  • Possibility of processing a larger quantity of film in a reduced time

IT solutions for named companies

Over the years Optimum datamanagement solutions GmbH has developed a variety of software solutions for well-known companies, public institutions and corporations in German-speaking countries.

How can we help?

What challenges shall we master? How can we support you in incoming and outgoing goods, production, assembly, quality assurance and picking?

 

Contact us for a personal consultation and put us to the test - using our intelligent image recognition or individual software development, we will find the solution "optimally" tailored to your company.

 

 
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