Nick Dimitrov, Vice President and Shawn Horton, Director of Business Development
Five months into the pandemic, the number of COVID-19 cases is still not showing any signs of getting under control. Given this situation, even the current manufacturing landscape is also witnessing a rough patch due to the pandemic and the ensuing lockdown. With factories and warehouses remaining short-staffed, the challenge now is to maintain the normal production workflow. In such an unstable landscape, the answer to maintaining business continuity lies in automation. Many corporations and manufacturers are now realizing the benefits of partnering with cutting-edge automation solution providers. On that front, the company that has taken the helm of restarting the industrial engine and bringing stability into the manufacturing world is AIS Technologies Group.
Established from the amalgamation of Active Industrial Solutions Automation (a successful automation firm) and Radix Inc. (a leader in smart manufacturing technology), AIS Technologies Group has become an organization with a single-minded focus on providing advanced systems for the manufacturing sector. As one of the earliest developers of vision-guided robotics, the company is augmenting industrial processes ranging from nuclear reactor maintenance and automotive assembly to food sorting and packaging. The company is a unique systems integrator that acts as the glue between the machine vision systems and client infrastructures. Operating from its offices in Ontario, Canada, and Michigan, U.S., the company delivers robust vision applications, complex controls, robotic automation, and intelligent software to enhance the manufacturers’ bottom-line, efficiency, flexibility, and product quality.
“In the midst of the pandemic, manufacturers need to maintain business continuity, and are doing so by actively pursuing automation to meet that need” says Shawn Horton, Director of Business Development for AIS Technologies Group. Nevertheless, conventional automation systems are not sufficient to address the evolving needs in the marketplace. This is where AIS Technologies Group creates a world of difference. By adding another layer of intelligence to industrial robots and equipping them with machine vision to fully automate their production sites, the machine vision systems facilitate complete traceability functionalities, including labeling, controls logic, and an information database. The vision cameras on the systems effectively capture quantitative data, inspection criteria, and traceability data for various products, creating a comprehensive record of product quality. “Mitigating our customer’s risk is why we use and develop advanced technology such as machine vision combined with robust software and a solid automation solution. It’s also how we lead our business into the future,” says Horton.
Mitigating our customer’s risk is why we use and develop advanced technology such as machine vision combined with robust software and a solid automation solution. It’s also how we lead our business into the future
Further, unlike run-of-the-mill automation companies that take readymade products from the market and deploy it for their customers, “AIS Technologies Group adds a customized, advanced layer to the base products making them suitable for intelligent automation applications,” underscores Nick Dimitrov, VP of sales and applications at AIS Technologies Group.
To that end the company offers not only offers custom solutions, but also machine vision products of their own design, three examples being Tool Tracker, In-SpecTracker, and MVS (Mobile Vision Solution). The Tool Tracker is a scalable hardware and software system that tracks manual tools in space and delivers a high degree of accuracy for error proofing in assembly. In-SpecTracker is designed to allow an operator to identify defects on an object and using a stylus and auditory controls directly input that on a digital twin, which can be over layed with other digital twins to look for problem areas. MVS uses deep learning software in conjunction with a mobile application to allow an operator to grab an image on an area of interest using a mobile device, send it to the Deep Learning software that has been trained on that area of interest, to look for position, absent or presence, or OCR and have an accept or reject back to the mobile device within seconds.
Notably, these extensive capabilities of AIS Technologies Group have helped the company garner many accolades from its clients, one of the most prominent one being the ‘2018 Supplier Innovation Award’ from Ford Motor Company. The multinational automaker was leveraging the plasma transfer wire arc (PTWA) process to spray the cylinder bores of their engines with plasma as a replacement for the thicker and heavier cast-iron liners. After the plasma application, they had to inspect the bores for porosity and weld splatters. However, conventional machine vision technology failed to yield accurate results. Through its breakthrough technology, AIS Technologies Group leveraged AI to train the machine vision systems to locate the “Spits” on the cylinder walls and thus, automate the inspection process. As a result, the company was able to correctly identify cylinders with porosity and redirecting failures into the repair deck, while sending alerts upstream to the supplying PTWA station about quality.
Propelled by many such wins in the manufacturing space, AIS Technologies Group has cemented its position as one of the popular intelligent automation solution providers in the manufacturing space. The company is now poised to continue redefining machine vision system integration by supporting its clients through the design, engineering, and development process, including the assembly of mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, and robotic components of the system. “We can revolutionize the entire manufacturing line without being restricted to only a certain technological component,” concludes Dimitrov.