Inspekto is a German-Israeli industrial company with innovative DNA. It was founded in 2017with the goal of revolutionizing the visual quality inspection industry by introducing the first autonomous machine vision system. Inspekto’s solutions combine a unique electro-optics system with three AI-based engines for quality inspection that is extremely easy to deploy and maintain and that mimics the human vision process.

The company aims to help quality assurance (QA) managers meet the growing demand of agile manufacturing, without risking quality control, with out-of-the-box all inclusive quality inspection system that come pre-trained for a huge variety of use cases and real life quality challenges. Their products are designed with end user independence in mind, but they also offer customers assistance if they need it.

Inspekto’s team of expert engineers can provide technical support, use case verification, installation and training, profile optimization and special line integration. 

Interview with Bernd Schumacher, Global CEO of Inspekto.

Easy Engineering: What are the main areas of activity of the company?

Bernd Schumacher: Our Autonomous Machine Vision system, the INSPKETO S70, is used for quality inspection in virtually all industries of discrete manufacturing on a wide range of materials and handled in different methods. Some examples of use cases in production include plastic injection parts, metal casting, coating, packing and labeling, and electronics. Many INSPEKTO S70 systems are in daily use in a wide range of inspection applications, such as assembly verification, existence or absence of components/material, deformation and cosmetics defects, alignment of components and many more. 

E.E: What’s the news about new products?

B.S: We have recently introduced a new software version (5.0) for our popular INSPEKTO S70 system. This new powerful software generates a performance leap for the INSPEKTO S70 in two vectors: the first, is significantly wider versatility, i.e. and even wider range of applicable use-cases of any type. The second is all about the ease of ensuring the inspection performance throughout the life cycle of the inspected part, mitigating the multiple changes that are bound to occur. 

Version 5.0 of the software is based on accumulated customer feedback and lessons learnt in so many real-life deployments. It offers smart features such as a recommendation center that guides users in creating and maintaining inspection profiles over time, improving usability, versatility, process integration and accuracy of inspection. 

This allows users to reach the desired performance level and ensure the profile is adapted to changes in the production line, such as different lighting. Once the profile has been created, users can benefit from autonomously generated, AI-based active recommendations to continually optimize the profile. This is an unprecedented feature that no other machine vision system offers, including AI-based ones.

The new software also improves the INSPEKTO S70’s ability to inspect highly reflective objects, a common challenge in industrial QA. The system now incorporates anti-reflection technology that can be applied to moving objects as well as stationary ones.

The new software enables manufacturers to focus on production, while optimal quality inspection runs autonomously.

E.E: What are the ranges of products?

B.S: Our offering is based on  the INSPEKTO S70 system – which is the only Autonomous Machine Vision system currently on the market. Per their specific use-case, the customers can select functionality packages such as PLC connectivity, archiving and traceability applications and more. 

The INSPEKTO S70 is designed to be user-friendly and highly adaptable, in that it requires no machine-vision knowledge and inspects a wide variety of use cases, produced in any manufacturing environment and with any handling method. In 2019 it won the Gold Award in the Vision Systems category of the Vision Systems Design Innovators Awards at Automate in Chicago, Illinois. 

The S70 comes out-of-the-box with everything the production-plant needs to start performing live machine-vision – from an adjustable arm and a mounting adaptor that attaches to the production line, to an industrial-environment adapt controller with hardware and software interfaces to various PLC protocols, and includes an illumination device and of course a top-class vision sensor with an up to 10x optical zoom.

In its improved version, the INSPEKTO S70 contains settings that allow it to take clear and informative images of even the shiniest objects, so that they can be reliably inspected. The system is equipped with 5000K LEDs that are controlled by pulse-width modulation and arranged in several distinct segments. This allows the system to autonomously control the direction of the illumination and take several images with varying light direction and intensities.

At the core of Inspekto’s systems are three independent and synergetic AI-based engines driving a proprietary electro-optic system, a technology called Autonomous Machine Vision AI (AMV-AI™).

E.E: At what stage is the market where you are currently active?

B.S: I believe we are at a stage where traditional inspection systems are no longer fit for responding to customers’ needs for mass customization and shorter new product introductions without relinquishing quality. This is where the INSPEKTO S70 can help. 

Traditional machine vision solutions for visual quality assurance (QA) are complex, cumbersome to develop and impossible to install without the assistance of a vision systems integrator. Because of this, industrial QA managers were left with no choice but to spend thousands of euros and wait many months for a solution that they have no control over. Once such a solution is finally up and running, it is fixed to inspect only one product at one point on the line.

The S70 system responds to these issues and introduces a new face to QA, which is growing significantly on the market. We offer manufacturers a powerful cost-effective alternative: a small, standalone and self-learning system that can be taken out of the box and installed in minutes, by the manufacturer’s own personnel, and work universally on most products, materials and handling methods.  

E.E: What can you tell us about market trends?

B.S: The QA market is changing and developing to respond to customers’ needs for state-of-the-art technologies that are in line with the trends of using AI and smart systems. 

One trend that is currently taking over the QA market is using machine learning for vision-based automation. The independence and versatility that INSPEKTO S70 provides are priceless benefits that maximize the quality levels and minimize downtime. The need for training or pre-processing stage becomes redundant. Instead, with our system’s three engines based on our AMV-AI technology explained above, we provide a pre-trained model, ready for nearly every use case. 

The first is the acquisition AI engine, in charge of dynamically adapting the operating parameters of the electro-optical imaging system in real-time to support multiple different vision tasks. The second is the detection and alignment AI engine, in charge of the identification, classification and 3D alignment of any object within the acquired image, after a single input sample. This engine allows the system to recognise the parts it sees in a live video stream and identify the best moment to acquire an image and complete the last task – inspection, which is performed by the third AI engine. Due to these AI engines, there is no need to train the machine vision system to identify objects; it will recognize items based on a few samples. 

E.E: What estimations do you have for 2022?

B.S: In 2022, we see AI growing significantly as the most transformative technology developed by humans, impacting automation in production, as well as other fields. The revolution has started and the benefits are clear – what machine vision can capture completes the human capabilities for the ultimate results and immediate reporting in the production line and specifically in the quality inspection industry. It is now imperative for business leaders to acknowledge the benefits of AI-based QA systems and contribute to changing the face of QA once and for all. At Inspekto, 2022 has already started with new developments in the form of our V5 software with added benefits for the S70 system. In the following months, we will continue to expand the capabilities of our system and learn from our customers’ feedback what expectations they have from a sophisticated machine vision system.