Tuesday 5 November 2019

Computer Vision: Enhancing Industrial Safety with AI

by Apoorva Verma

The AI revolution is here.

As artificial intelligence increasingly gains prominence, several sub-domains such as computer vision, machine learning, deep learning, internet of things, and analytics are some of the technologies that have propelled growth.

Out of these, computer vision is one of those technologies that enable the interpretation and understanding of the visual world for machines. With the help of digital images and deep learning models, computers react to what they 'see' by identifying and classifying objects. In fact, accuracy rates in recognising and responding to visual inputs for the technology has risen from 50% to 99% over the past decade. This means that such solutions could become indispensable for a range of applications across industries.

However, our focus of discussion is the use of computer vision technology in manufacturing, which now have the necessary means to achieve automated safety compliance.

A Computer vision solution, such as the IRIS, developed by Integration Wizards, to work with an existing CCTV network, would serve as an advanced and effective replica of the human eyes, with the added ability to identify and classify different objects or situations, and react accordingly, such as in the form of alerts.

For instance, the AI-powered solution ensures workforce safety compliance by identifying workers without prerequisite safety equipment or protective gear such as hardhats, visibility vests, etc. This results in an appropriate response, like sending a real-time notification to the safety manager. The solution also maintains a database of safety protocol breaches which would be useful in investigations of any workplace accidents as well as take a step towards preventing accidents.

The application of the solution further extends from safety gear detection to occurrence of serious incidents such as the detection of fire and electrical malfunction, machine malfunction, trespassing or unauthorised access to hazardous areas, etc.

Efficient response trigged from the system in such scenarios aids in preventing serious losses to the workers as well as the manufacturing plant. Thus, it detects any anomalies that are not in accordance with the standard operating procedures. Real-time alerts and fail-safe measures accelerate the resolution of the issue.

The application of the solution can further encompass operational safety compliance. This would include material safety, such as the multi-object detection through computer vision, with automatic scanners on production lines, etc. In addition, it would identify any faults with raw materials that may be too small for the human eye but could prove detrimental for the final product.

In high performing manufacturing plants, compliance with safety regulations becomes the utmost priority. In fact, components falling off the production line must also adhere to safety guidelines.

Ultimately, the pressure of delivering high quality, efficient and time-sensitive results at manufacturing premises, together with the use of heavy machinery, potentially dangerous equipment, and the possibility of human error, make such sites prone to oversight of safety compliance, and by extension, workplace accidents.

Such unique innovative solutions can ensure safety compliance across the workforce as well as the entire manufacturing process and facility.

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