I have witnessed the evolution of Optical Character Recognition (OCR) over the past 35 years. This is an automated system of taking a picture in a digital vision system of some text, doing some magic processing, and outputting machine understandable text that can be used directly in your software application.

Neurala discovered this website’s reach and has been sending me a stream of updates. This is a company moving forward rapidly. Today’s announcement pushes the state-of-the-art.

Today, Neurala announced a partnership with IHI Logistics & Machinery. Neurala’s vision AI software will be deployed to increase the effectiveness of optical character recognition (OCR) reading of package information by automatically identifying expiration dates, to ultimately reduce waste and relieve workers from mundane, repetitive tasks.

IHI Logistics & Machinery is a leading global provider of material handling and factory automation solutions, with a focus on the management of food packaging information and logistics process improvement specifically. Traditionally, food and perishable items come into the warehouse with a production and an expiration date, with these important dates scanned by human workers with handheld OCR terminals upon arrival. It is a tedious job, and when an OCR terminal misreads an expiration date, it results in the need for inspection by humans. This also increases manufacturers’ costs and reduces profits. 

Neurala’s vision AI will improve OCR by automatically identifying a product’s expiration date, including validating where on the packaging the expiration date is located. It will also be able to verify that text on a box is the expiration date, as opposed to other numerical data such as the SKU or production date, if a series of dates is present. This reduces the need for manual intervention when errors or misreads occur and ensures that only accurate data is passed back to the ERP system.

“Introducing AI and automation into our workflow will be a game changer for our business,” said Takayuki Sado, general manager at IHI Logistics & Machinery. “By partnering with Neurala, we are able to bolster our value to our customers, by dramatically increasing the speed and efficiency of material handling. This level of automation is also extremely valuable, as it helps us do more with less – which is especially critical in a time when there are restrictions limiting the number of workers present on the warehouse floor.”

“Neurala is on a mission to help manufacturers realize the benefits of vision AI by partnering with companies around the world who are leaders in their industry,” said Max Versace, co-founder and CEO of Neurala. “We are excited to partner with IHI Logistics & Machinery to provide them with the technology needed to further their position as an innovator and leader in material handling.”

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