Monday, March 25, 2013

You get the data for free

Most manufacturers implement machine vision as a highly reliable means of protecting the customer from defects. So the camera looks at bottles, or packets of tablets, or cans of fruit, and sends a signal to kick off anything that doesn’t conform to specifications. That’s good, but I was recently explaining to a Plant Manager how one of his vision systems worked, and his face lit up as if he’d just seen his annual bonus check land on his desk, (and perhaps he had, in a way.)

This system can tell us how the process is running,” he stated, recognizing the big unsung benefit of machine vision. “It can tell us when the tools need changing, or the equipment needs cleaning.”

Well of course I agreed, pointing out though that doing such things required the ability to monitor trends and signal when action was required.

His eyes started to glaze over, so I decided to summarize: “The system kicks out the bad parts, but you get a lot of data for free.”

Naturally, that gave me my next project: give production information on process trends that they can use to increase yields. There’s just one thing bugging me: what’s the value of data? Is there a way to add it into my next project justification?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well said. Not all clients or integrators realize this benefit. I heard a client once saying that he'd use our part counter at least once a week to check yield data and keep an eye on the process.

I'd charge pretty much on the effort required. If he wants to dig through a whole lot of raw data, it's free. If it's nicely formatted to some specific XML, this can easily work to a few days work. This is best discussed before making an initial offer, I think.