Industry 4.0 – product quality inspection element


The First (1.0): Mechanical production, instigated by water and steam power
The Second (2.0): Mass production, instigated by assembly line and electric power
The Third (3.0): Automated production, instigated by electronics and information technology
The Fourth (4.0): Intelligent production, instigated by internet of things, big data, cloud and artificial intelligence

The third industrial era, Industry 3.0, heralds automated production.  Automated optical inspection (AOI) is an automated visual inspection system found in printed circuit board (PCB) manufacturing for product quality inspections.  Based on the same principles but uses X-rays to see inside the product is automated X-ray inspection (AXI), with a much wider range of applications such as electronics, automotive, food processing and welding are some examples.  Both are non-destructive testing (NDT) methods that captured an image of the product in a set orientation for inspection.  The basic principle is to compare a reference image, deviation from the set specifications is either rejected or to be inspected by an inspector.  It is a valued system especially for mass production products.

Still, there are many classes of challenges where the feature of interests (e.g. defects) that are not intrinsically regular (static) but irregular (dynamic) such as scratches on a product to wrinkles in composite materials that are out of scope for automation.  With other production stages automated and digitalised, the inspection stages could reach 50% plus of the whole production time.

Artificial intelligence (AI), an instigated element for Industry 4.0 is driving NDT automation in these challenges.  In this presentation, we will describe an AI for NDT solution in product quality inspection with use cases and results.