Sensors & Transducers

A vision system enabling new inline factory inspection capability

March 2021 Sensors & Transducers

Deep learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are among the buzzwords of today. Deep learning, a type of AI that leverages neural networks, can be easily explained: similar to how humans learn what a house is from a large number of examples, so too can a deep learning system come to understand the nature of an object from labelled images. Furthermore, each inspection can be continually improved by feeding the existing algorithm with more example image data. This new data enhances the system, leading to more accurate results.

Expanding the limits of automated inspection

From a practical point of view, there are many benefits in manufacturing. Manufacturers rely on human inspectors throughout the production process because traditional machine vision systems cannot handle the complexity or variability within certain tasks. But humans can be prone to inconsistent results from one human to the next, or they can tire over the course of an eight hour shift. Additionally, there are many aspects throughout production that still go uninspected for one reason or another. Both of these realities open manufacturers up to quality control issues or the chance of recalls.

A vision system with integrated artificial intelligence, for example, is able to combine the judgement of a human inspector with the robustness and consistency of an automated solution. This is exactly the advantage of the new In-Sight D900 vision system from Cognex. As a first-of-its kind solution, it embeds Cognex’s deep learning software, known as In-Sight ViDi, inside an industrial-grade smart camera to expand inline factory automation inspections.

State-of-the art flexibility: The In-Sight D900 hardware is a compact, industry-grade smart camera that can easily be installed and deployed on the line without the need for a PC. The highly-modular, IP67-rated vision system includes field-changeable lighting, lenses, filters and covers that can be customised to match the individual application requirements.

Deep learning included with easy application development: The In-Sight D900 works with the familiar and easy-to-use spreadsheet user interface. Application engineers have access to the full suite of traditional machine vision tools, like PatMax, edge finders and measurement tools. But, with the In-Sight ViDi, the D900 adds three deep learning tools: ViDi Read, ViDi Check and ViDi Detect. These new deep learning-based inspection tools help factory automation customers easily solve applications that are too time-consuming or complex to deploy with traditional, rule-based machine vision tools.

A new paradigm for high-quality vision inspections

ViDi Read: Complex optical character recognition (OCR)

With the In-Sight ViDi Read tool, the user is able to solve challenging OCR applications in minutes. This module deciphers badly deformed, skewed, and poorly etched codes. It works right out of the box, dramatically reducing development time, thanks to the deep learning pre-trained font library. The user simply defines the region of interest and sets the character size. In situations where new characters are introduced, this robust tool can be retrained to read application-specific characters that traditional OCR tools are not able to decode.

ViDi Check: Verifying assemblies and part location

The ViDi Check tool allows manufacturers to perform fast and accurate assembly verification. The system is able to detect complex features and objects. It verifies whether parts and kits are assembled correctly based on their location within a user-defined layout. The tool can be trained to create an extensive library of components, which can be located in the image even if they appear at different angles or vary in size.

ViDi Detect: Find defects and other unwanted variations

A third tool, called ViDi Detect, was designed for analysing complex defect detection tasks. It is able to learn from images of good parts in order to identify defective parts. In-Sight ViDi Detect is ideal for finding anomalies on complex parts and surfaces, even in situations where defects can be unpredictable in their appearance.

With the introduction of this system, Cognex addresses three application fields: optical character recognition (OCR), assembly verification and defect detection. This opens up a wide range of possible tasks that the new system can tackle successfully and with more precision than a conventional vision system. The In-Sight D900 can be used across a range of industries including automotive, consumer electronics, consumer products, packaging, food and beverage, medical devices, and logistics.

For more information contact Janina Guptill, Cognex, +49 721 958 8052,,

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