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AI-Powered Augmented Reality for Quality Inspection

Inspection is a critical part in the quality control process in manufacturing. Quality inspection ensures that product quality and work steps performed meet the defined standards. Raw materials and components are often checked prior to the assembly process; products can also be inspected during and post production. Frontline workers measure, examine, and test whether work steps were carried out correctly, and that products and their components were assembled or maintained according to specifications.

Human judgment is critical in visual inspection and cannot be automated away. The workers who perform this task deserve the tool necessary to make the job more manageable. Step Check from Vuforia combines augmented reality and artificial intelligence to create a revolutionary visual inspection tool. The process is as easy for team leaders to implement as it is for inspection engineers to use.

Step Check helps frontline workers to perform end-of-line inspection cycles faster, with higher accuracy and less risk of errors. Step Check uses AR and AI to identify parts, classify the object’s state, and automatically learn from pass/fail decisions. AR helps solve key inspection challenges

Manual Quality Checks Have Higher Risk of Human Errors

Frontline workers must assess parts with the naked eye and ensure high accuracy. Identifying false parts with traditional documentation is a challenge. Workers get used to repetitive tasks, get tired, and make mistakes. Inspection results are incorrect, faulty products delivered, and rework is needed. This results in loss of revenue and low customer satisfaction.

Traditional Quality Assessment Solutions Lack Automated Protocoling

Manually documenting inspection results is a time-consuming extra step susceptible to human error or paperwork getting lost. What’s more, quality processes often require image feedback that adds one more step to the worker’s task list.

Slow Inspection Cycles Impact Production Outcome

High-production outcome requires fast inspection cycles. Checking parts and objects manually without the right tools during an entire shift is very demanding for frontline workers. A worker must manually assess if parts are assembled correctly, wires are fully connected, or welding points are at the right location. Comparing real objects with paper-based manuals or 2D images is time-consuming, leading to slow inspection cycles and delays for customers.

Visual Inspection Quality Control

The AI powered Step Check from PTC provides employees with a step-by-step guide through inspection tasks with context-sensitive work instructions. These are superimposed on the physical product that is being inspected and, importantly, will detect improper assembly, missing or misaligned parts, and other errors — all completed by the power of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Step Check is part of PTC’s Vuforia Expert Capture SaaS Augmented Reality solution.

With colour-coded graphics displayed in real time on the part or product in question, operatives can see at a glance whether it has passed the inspection step. In addition, Step Check automatically documents inspection results and creates dashboards to analyse the inspections performed.

Step Check uses advanced computer vision to recognise parts or products to be inspected using 3D CAD models, then it utilises an AI model based on examples of passed and failed inspections. The AI models learn from the decisions made by the employees and, as a result, continuously improve the results. Vuforia’s computer vision capabilities also recognise things not included in 3D CAD models, such as stickers or labels.

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