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Keyence AI Vision Systems: An SDC Supplier Spotlight

Vision systems are a necessity for automated machines. Detecting bar codes, verifying part presence and positioning, quality tracking, and operator safety are just a few crucial roles that they play. Manufacturers can troubleshoot and identify machine faults, track production rates, and confidently operate. The guesswork is off the table with this new AI technology, and that’s exactly the kind of results we need as a fully automated systems integrator to support our custom-built automated machines.

Keyence camera mounted on an automated machine

Automated Machines and AI Technology

KEYENCE is a global factory automation hardware company, and their catalog of products can be seen across all processes of our machines. SDC utilizes products such as sensors, safety, and visual inspection for code reading, measurement, and defect detection. KEYENCE sales and support representatives are frequently on-site and work hand-in-hand with our team to optimize automation solutions.

Most recently, KEYENCE released a smart camera with AI – the VS series. SDC has been utilizing the AI tools as follows:

  • Image Reproduction– With one click on the VS camera, programmers can reproduce the master image from their program setup. Useful in situations like fixing bumped cameras, replicating set-ups, and installation on customer sites, the AI automatically adjusts the field of view, focus, and exposure time to match the program’s image.
  • AI Detection– AI defect detection is now possible without using a GPU or training thousands of images. By training a handful of good sample images in a few minutes, we can detect undefined defects, and anything that differs from what the product should look like.
  • AI Classification– Differentiate between up to 32 different product types or a good part versus different classifications of defects. Train a couple of images for each classification with the option to easily add more to each data set as time goes on!
SDC Sr. Electrical Controls Engineer

AI can enable simpler detection of defects using one AI vision tool that is configured by teaching multiple good parts. This can be useful if there are a large number of different flaws that would need to be detected. Those flaws could present in many different ways and the AI can determine the part is not similar enough to a known good part using the “anomaly score” that it calculates. To do this with conventional vision systems it would require multiple tools and then it is likely that various flaws would still not be detected.” – Monica Saggio, SDC Sr. Electrical Engineer

Ease of Programming

When it comes to our experience with programming this equipment, the AI vision system has been surprisingly easy to train. All we have to do is present a handful of “good” parts to establish a baseline of acceptable part quality. The AI software stores these images, converts them into data, compares each part presented to the camera and references the “good” part characteristics to determine if they pass or fail the inspection. The camera can pick out minute differences and learn from them as the machine operates.

In the past, multiple tools were used to achieve the same result as this all-in-one system. Controls programming, equipment installation, operator training, and more now take less time to complete. In return, efficiency gains a big boost and so does product quality.

Comprehensive Support

KEYENCE provides instant communication when we reach out for support. They help us navigate the system without getting lost in the complexity of the highly technical information. Given that they have sales and support teams across the country, there is always a representative available to help answer questions, and their team provides top-level support to our customers when our machine arrives at their facility.

We have established a valuable and long-lasting partnership with Keyence because of the vast benefits of their team and equipment. Looking forward, we are excited to utilize this new vision system technology to keep pushing our machines to the best they can be.

Keyence training session at SDC

About Steven Douglas Corp. (SDC)

Designed to Outperform | Your custom machine partner for an automated future.

At Steven Douglas Corp. (SDC) located in northeast Ohio, we design and build custom automated machines and support manufacturing processes worldwide. In October of 2023, we moved into our newly built facility in Concord, Ohio. This space has allowed us to continue to grow as we expand our services and machine capabilities. Since 1998, our team drives each project from concept and design through installation, service, and maintenance.  We have built long-lasting partnerships with our clients and suppliers and continue to develop innovative solutions.

Our problem-solving methods combine creative engineering and proven technology to build custom machines. We specialize in assembly & processing, testing & inspection, and material handling automated machines across a broad spectrum of industries. Most recently, we have produced a custom microscopic assembly machine for use in the medical device manufacturing field. Check out our homepage for more info!