June 2, 2023
Explained: The Inspection Process in Manufacturing
Decision-makers at manufacturing companies face unrivaled challenges in keeping pace with today’s consumer demands. Managing these pressures requires cutting-edge innovation throughout supply chain structures to increase production capacity without compromising quality.
At every stage of production, companies rely on the inspection process in manufacturing to ensure efficiency, integrity, and control of their processes. Recent breakthroughs in industrial automation offer the potential to modernize these processes in novel ways with revolutionary results.
As we examine the core inspection steps in manufacturing, we reveal that automated processes are essential for manufacturers to improve their metrics.
Why is the Inspection Process in Manufacturing so Important?
Companies rely on inspections throughout the production cycle to keep a record of performance data across each stage of operation.
Strict inspections of process and product are required for successful completion of the production cycle, and are implemented for:
- -Identifying material and product defects
- -Identifying and correcting labor errors
- -Maintaining company quality standards
- -Aligning with regulatory requirements
- -Reducing extraneous inventory
- -Improving efficiency
In our advanced globalized society, quality inspection standards are necessary to meet increasing consumer demand and remain competitive on the world stage.
What are the Main Steps in the Inspection Process?
Inspections vary depending on industry. These four stages are shared keystones that rely on robust inspection processes:
1. Pre-Production Inspection
Once a company has chosen a supplier—whether at the prototype stage or after a design is prepared for mass production—everything they use requires intensive inspection. This is necessary to guarantee the proper materials are selected and every company standard is met. A pre-production inspection includes verifying that components can be built according to each specification, and at the level of quality and quantity required by manufacturers.
2. Initial Production Inspection
When supplies first arrive, they must be inspected to ensure they aren’t damaged. Each item is closely examined to confirm materials do not feature any defects or design flaws prior to the beginning of production.
3. In-Process Inspection
This inspection phase differs from one industry to the next and can vary widely depending on company standards. But throughout the manufacturing process, inspections are made for at least four predominant purposes:
- -Regulatory compliance, ensuring that workers are following safety procedures.
- -Quality of work, verifying that processes remain aligned with company standards.
- -Equipment maintenance, confirming that machines are in good condition.
- -Integrity of process, ensuring precision remains consistent across each production stage.
4. Pre-Shipment Inspection
Before manufactured goods are shipped, they are inspected a final time to ensure samples from each batch have retained quality standards throughout the production process.
There may be additional stages of inspection depending on industry, including:
- -Random stock inspections
- -Inspecting returned materials
How are AI and Machine Learning Used for the Inspection Process in Manufacturing?
Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) are broadening the horizons of possibility in multiple fields, from healthcare logistics to surgical robotics, and extending to IT cybersecurity as well as financial market systems.
AI inspection processes provide repeatable results without human fatigue, super-resolution imaging beyond human vision, and automated processes that are faster and more accurate than decades-old systems. This results in higher product yields, accelerated production, and more precise output.
Nanotronics Provides Best-In-Class Technology Solutions for Automated Optical Inspection and Process Control
Nanotronics’ product suite offers demonstrated efficacy of AI-based inspections and process control with our flexible and agile machine learning platform, AIPC™.
Inspections are necessary to guarantee quality standards and reduce material waste while accelerating production time; Nanotronics’ software and hardware solutions dramatically increase performance and speed. Our tools simultaneously reduce costs by deploying AI to learn and classify material defects.
Once recognized, these defects are stored in an extensive database, allowing systems to quickly identify and report defects rapidly and accurately.
Our systems can recognize pits, scratches, cracks, and abnormalities down to the particle level, using our nSpec® series’ computer vision, robotics, and microscopy features. Our AI-powered inspection systems are deployed throughout the most complex industries, including aerospace, healthcare, and automotive.
AI and machine learning compound real-time feedback with existing data streams to self-correct and -regulate, applicable to any stage of the manufacturing process.