Industry 4.0: Machine Vision, Smart Factories, and the Industrial Internet of Things

Industry 4.0 will rely upon machine vision to revolutionize industrial automation

One of the most hotly discussed topics in the manufacturing world is Industry 4.0. A broadly defined group of emerging innovations in industrial automation, IoT devices, deep learning, and data exchange, Industry 4.0 will deliver myriad benefits to the factory floor. Points of view differ among producers and distributors about what this “Industrial Internet of Things” will mean to them, but it has been suggested that Industry 4.0 has the potential to:

  • Bolster productivity
  • Reduce waste
  • Refine product quality
  • Enhance manufacturing flexibility
  • Decrease operating costs

Given the highly diverse operations of global manufacturers, the full potential of Industry 4.0 continues to take active shape. While the space continues to evolve, one thing is clear: machine vision technology will be an essential element to the smart manufacturing technology of tomorrow.

Download: Machine Vision and Industry 4.0 Guide

Unlike simple sensors, vision sensors generate large amounts of image data, intensifying their utility in an Industry 4.0 environment. No other aspect of the production line captures more information or is more valuable in assessing products and finding defects, as well as in collecting data to direct the operation and optimize the productivity of robots and other equipment.

For example, deep learning image analysis takes advantage of machine vision image data to teach a system how to recognize potential defects in a manufactured product. Instead of having to program a defect detection application to account for the numerous potential defects, it's possible to find defect anomalies from a set of images marked as good products.   

As data analytics capabilities progress, the high volumes of data accessible through IoT devices and vision equipment will be used in smart factories to:

  • Identify and flag defective products
  • Understand their deficiencies
  • Enable fast and effective intervention

The implementation and expansion of Industry 4.0 will create challenges and opportunities for machine vision suppliers. Cognex expects the application of machine vision systems to accelerate throughout the supply chain and in the operations of both new and existing vision users. Cognex has been at the front of Industry 4.0 advances by investing in products that deliver many of the productivity benefits associated with Industry 4.0. Learn more about our Industry 4.0-ready products and technologies by visiting our Industry 4.0 and Machine Vision Starter Guide.

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