Vision Inspection Powered by AI

Vision Inspection Powered by AI

Artificial Intelligence, or AI, is not necessarily the dystopian technology portrayed in books and movies. Although neither artificial or intelligent, AI can be a powerful tool in the engineer’s kit.

Recently Carl Palme of Neurala chatted with me introducing the company and what it means by AI in its vision systems. We both have some sheet metal work in our backgrounds, so we found common cause with one of the powerful applications—finding small surface anomalies.

There is also company news. In short:

  • IHI Corporation Selects Neurala to Enable Industrial Visual Inspection and Analysis Powered by AI
  • One of the Largest Global Heavy-Industry Manufacturers Partners With Leader in Automated Visual Inspections to Build Vision AI-Powered Industrial Solutions

AI-powered visual inspection pioneer Neurala announced a partnership with IHI, one of the largest manufacturers in the world.

IHI is a leading producer of aircraft engines and turbochargers for vehicles and industrial machines, along with additional transport-related machinery and more. Neurala’s automated visual inspection platform will be deployed as a key component of IHI’s workflow, improving manufacturing optimization and enabling more efficient industrial inspections.

“Automation is an area of critical focus as we further strengthen our reputation as the leading manufacturer of transport-related machinery worldwide,” said Ms. Nobuko Mizumoto, Director of IHI Corporation. “Today, we are collecting data on our workflow that needs to be carefully analyzed. AI-assisted data analysis is the future of manufacturing processes, and Neurala has the industrial and manufacturing inspection expertise we require in an AI solution. As we lead IHI into Industry 4.0, we are proud to partner with Neurala to deploy a reliable AI that can function in settings that are subjective and change rapidly, without requiring any downtime on our production lines.”

IHI will leverage Neurala’s automated visual inspection platform to review product and workflow processes, cementing its reputation as a leader in safety and efficiency. AI-powered inspections allow manufacturers to accelerate new initiatives without sacrificing a gold standard of quality workmanship. IHI will use Neurala’s Brain Builder, the first cost-effective AI tool that allows users to build, deploy and analyze custom vision AI solutions with instant feedback on performance. Brain Builder simplifies the process and reduces the time to deployment in subjective settings, using on-the-fly learning to increase accuracy as the user adds data.

“We are thrilled to partner with IHI as we illustrate the critical role AI will play in manufacturing, improving efficiency in a field in which optimization is essential,” said Massimiliano Versace, co-founder and CEO of Neurala. “We look forward to building upon our strong presence in the APAC region through an industry leader like IHI. IHI selected Neurala to bolster its offerings as the industrial sector continues to evolve; our partnership will demonstrate the value of implementing AI to solve challenges of visual inspection on factory floors and to improve automation.”

Neurala is the company behind Brain Builder: a SaaS platform that dramatically reduces the time, cost and skills required to build and maintain production-quality custom vision AI solutions. Founded in 2006, Neurala’s research team invented Lifelong-DNN (L-DNN) technology, which reduces the data requirements for AI model development and enables continuous learning in the cloud or at the edge. Now, with customers in the industrial, drone, robotics, and smart devices verticals, Neurala’s technology has been deployed on 53 million devices globally.

Automation Company Acquisitions

Automation Company Acquisitions

Acquisitions are always interesting news. They always signify something about the industry. Sometimes it’s consolidation in a mature industry. Sometimes it’s larger companies growing, adding technology, or adding talent.

In today’s news, there is some of each.Remember when the robot and vision markets were thriving—especially the small SCARA robots? Those days are long over. The price of vision systems plummeted. Just look at the capabilities of the camera and software in your smart phone.

The first announcement is that Omron is acquiring Adept Technology. The second is Emerson Process Management adding some interesting technology to its portfolio.

The only thing surprising to me is the acquirer, not the fact that Adept is being acquired. Those cards have been played a long time ago. Omron Corporation and Adept Technology, Inc. announced that the two companies have entered into an agreement whereby Omron will acquire Adept.

Omron plans to acquire 100% of the outstanding shares of Adept common stock through an all cash tender offer followed by a second-step merger. It will offer Adept investors $13.00 per share of Adept common stock, which represents a 63% premium over the closing price for Adept’s common stock on September 15, 2015. This values Adept at approximately $200 million. It will fund the tender offer through cash on hand.

The tender offer is expected to commence on or about September 23, 2015, and the transaction is expected to close on or about October 23, 2015. The closing of the transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including at least a majority of shares of Adept common stock being tendered in the offer, expiration of the applicable waiting period under the Hart-Scott-Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 and receipt of required foreign antitrust approvals. The transaction has been unanimously approved by the Boards of Directors of both companies.

Commenting on the acquisition, Yutaka Miyanaga, Omron Industrial Automation Business Company President, said, “We are delighted Adept Technology, a world leader in robotics, has agreed to join Omron. This acquisition is part of our strategy to enhance our automation technology and position us for long term growth. Robotics will elevate our offering of advanced automation.”

Rob Cain, President and Chief Executive Officer of Adept, added, “We are excited about the opportunity to join Omron, a global leader in automation. Together, our products will offer new innovative solutions to customers all around the globe.”

Following the transaction, Rob Cain will continue to lead Adept and will report to Nigel Blakeway, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President of Omron Management Center of America, Inc., Omron’s wholly owned United States subsidiary.

Emerson acquisition

Emerson announced it has acquired Spectrex, Inc., a leading manufacturer of flame and open path gas detectors. With this addition, Emerson Process Management will have the most comprehensive line of flame, gas, and ultrasonic leak detector solutions used for safety monitoring in the industry.

Spectrex will join the Rosemount portfolio of measurement and analytical technologies. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.

For nearly 34 years, Spectrex has been the leader in flame and open path gas detection. It developed the world’s first ultraviolet-infrared (UV/IR) and triple infrared (IR3) flame detectors and was first to introduce xenon flash lamps in open path detector design, increasing detectors’ resilience to atmospheric conditions while reducing power consumption. These innovative advancements in safety monitoring provide a powerful solution for customers in the oil and gas, petrochemical, chemical and power industries.

“We are very excited about adding the Spectrex product line to our flame and gas detection portfolio,” said Tom Moser, group vice president of Emerson Process Management’s measurement and analytical technologies. “Emerson is committed to helping our customers protect their employees, facilities, and the environment, and we are now better positioned to serve that need.”

Spectrex and its staff are located in Cedar Grove, N.J., with sales and technical support offices in Houston, the United Kingdom, and Taiwan.

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