Content By Quality Digest

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By: Quality Digest

(ETQ: Burlington, MA) -- ETQ, a leading quality management system (QMS) provider, has announced a major new release of its cloud-native Reliance QMS to enable organizations to more easily identify, analyze, and resolve quality issues. The company also launched Lab Investigation, an application for customers in life sciences and other regulated and nonregulated industries to efficiently track, trend, and resolve problems identified in laboratory testing.

As part of its new release and offerings, ETQ launched new capabilities in its mobile solution, which is now available on the Reliance NXG cloud-native platform. It also expanded its analytics offering, ETQ Insights and added key usability features to Reliance NXG, ETQ’s market-leading QMS. The features significantly improve the user experience and boost productivity with streamlined data input, easier system navigation, and enhancements that advance ETQ’s market-leading configurability.

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By: Quality Digest

(Princeton Infrared Technologies: Monmouth Junction, NJ) -- Princeton Infrared Technologies (PIRT), specialists in indium gallium arsenide (InGaAs) imaging technology and affordable shortwave-infrared (SWIR) linescan cameras, visible-SWIR science cameras, and 1- and 2D imaging arrays, has introduced the 1280BPCam, an extended-SWIR response camera developed specifically for laser beam profiling.

The new InGaAs/GaAsSb (InGaAs/gallium arsenide antimonide) type-II super lattice (T2SL) detector features 1280 x 1024 pixels on a small 12-µm array pitch that delivers 90 frames per second (fps) at full resolution. The extended wavelength response of the T2SL material, plus the three-stage thermoelectric cooler (TEC), enable high sensitivity from 400 nm to 2050 nm, making it possible to image from the visible out to the SWIR spectrum with a single imager. The high-resolution imagers are specially fabricated on 100 mm substrates to enable low-cost production.

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By: Silke von Gemmingen

Lettuce is a valuable crop in Europe and the United States. But labor shortages make it difficult to harvest; finding sufficient seasonal labor to meet harvesting commitments is one of the sector’s biggest challenges. Moreover, with wages rising faster than producer prices, margins are tight.

In the United Kingdom, agricultural technology and machinery experts are working with IDS Imaging Development Systems in Obersulm, Germany, to develop a robotic solution to automate lettuce harvesting. The team is working on a project funded by Innovate UK and includes experts from the Grimme agricultural machinery factory, the Agri-EPI Centre (Edinburgh), Harper Adams University (Newport), the Centre for Machine Vision at the University of the West of England (Bristol) and two of the UK’s largest salad producers, G’s Fresh and PDM Produce.

Within the project, existing leek-harvesting machinery is adapted to lift the lettuce clear from the ground and grip it between pinch belts. The lettuce’s outer, or “wrapper,” leaves will be mechanically removed to expose the stem. Machine vision and artificial intelligence are then used to identify a precise cut point on the stem to neatly separate the head of lettuce.

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By: Quality Digest

(Vision Engineering: New Milford, CT) -- Vision Engineering announced the launch of Makrolite 4K, its first 4K-resolution microscope to complement the company’s range of digital inspection systems.

The Makrolite 4K was launched at Productronica 2021 in Munich and made its North American debut at APEX in San Diego in January 2022.

Makrolite 4K’s superb image quality, 4K resolution, and wide dynamic range is suitable for a wide range of complex and high-contrast applications.

The microscope provides more fine detail with greater detail shadow and highlight areas. It’s ideal for challenging inspection routines, including reflective subjects such as solder joints; subjects in shadow; or subjects with low contrast, such as rubber and plastic.

Makrolite 4K is flexible, easy to use, and provides high-definition video images with a wide dynamic range and up to 330X magnification. It delivers both versatility and high performance in applications such as production, lab research, R&D, micro assembly, quality control, inbound/outbound product checking, dissection, and rework.

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By: Quality Digest

(Mitutoyo: Aurora, IL) -- Mitutoyo America Corp. has released MCOSMOS v. 5.0, the newest version of its advanced metrology suite for coordinate measuring machines. This software, known as a standard throughout the world, offers support in 37 separate locations and in 12 different languages.

What distinguishes MCOSMOS v.5 from its predecessor are the upgrades to its interface, functions, and performance. Most noticeable is the simplified graphical user interface: The updates not only are visually pleasing but also assist in improving the user experience, no matter their level of knowledge working with the tool. These changes include easy-to-use “ribbons” and a much-requested search function, helping operators find specific sections of their measuring process for detailed reports.

Key features and capabilities of Mitutoyo’s MCOSMOS v.5 software suite include:

New graphical user interface—Modeled with a modern design, this GUI improves on the previous version with a simplified and attractive module display.

Optimization for large CAD files—Compared with previous versions of software, process time is shorter and the overall operation of MCOSMOS is improved.

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By: Quality Digest

(Hexagon Manufacturing Intelligence: North Kingstown, RI) -- Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, which provides engineering, production and quality technology and services to the world’s biggest and most innovative manufacturing leaders around the world, has announced a revolutionary take on supporting startups.

The open innovation platform Sixth Sense brings together startups and industry-leading companies to create transformative solutions that benefit everyone. It promotes sharing resources, data, and ideas to fast-track progress and solve real-world problems that address some of humanity’s greatest challenges, such as the journey to net zero. The challenge areas include sustainability, big data, machine learning, artificial intelligence, sensors, and robotics.

Sixth Sense’s first themed challenge—Artificial Intelligence (AI) for sustainable Smart Manufacturing—encompasses all these areas and is also accepting dedicated applications. Startups are encouraged to register their interest for future themed challenges and events.

Is it possible to realign the supply chain?

The supply chain is in desperate need of realignment. Although pundits predict improvement later in 2022, that is a hope, not a solution. We talk with Lisa Anderson, supply chain expert and president of LMA Consulting Group.

Related article: Is It Possible to Realign the Supply Chain?

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By: Gleb Tsipursky

A tall, thin man in his late 50s approached me after my closing keynote for a manufacturing association conference on how leaders can avoid business disasters. He looked distraught and agitated. I hoped he wasn’t angry with something I said.

Mark introduced himself and asked me to tell him more about one of the dangerous judgment errors I’d discussed: cognitive bias, or the MUM effect (Minimizing Unpleasant Message). This bias causes those lower down in the organizational hierarchy to avoid passing bad news up the supervisor chain due to fears of the “shoot the messenger” problem—namely, that they’ll be blamed for the bad news. Given how often quality professionals must bring bad news to their leaders, it’s a big challenge.

Such mental blind spots stem from how our brains are wired, according to research in cognitive neuroscience and behavioral economics. Fortunately, recent research in these fields shows how you can use pragmatic strategies to address these judgment errors.

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By: Quality Digest

(Vision Research: Wayne, NJ) -- Vision Research, a leading manufacturer of digital high-speed imaging systems, brings extreme throughput to machine vision applications with the introduction of the Phantom S991 machine vision camera. The Phantom S991 employs CoaXPress-over-Fiber technology to deliver up to 9 Gpx/sec (70 Gbps). This throughput translates to more than 900 frames per second (fps) at a full 9 Mpx resolution of 4,096 x 2,304, and more than 52,000 fps at lower resolutions, including 2,304 x 16.

The Phantom S991 offers users high quality and detailed images. The 9 Mpx sensor in the S991 is the same sensor used in Vision Research’s high-speed media camera, the Phantom Flex 4K. The sensor has 12-bit imaging and provides both rolling and global shutters to meet a variety of applications. Also, its 6.75 mm pixel is larger than many high-resolution machine vision cameras, translating into higher light sensitivity, with a daylight ISO rating of 1,600 for monochrome and 400 for color in global shutter.

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By: Emily Newton

Welding technology has progressed over the years, thanks to innovations that improve accuracy and overall productivity. Some advances have been in welding automation handled by advanced robots. Other breakthroughs rely on artificial intelligence (AI) and machine vision for better defect detection. Here’s a closer look at how those two technologies have helped the industry move forward.

Welding automation reduces human labor needs

One of the reasons for manufacturers’ interest in welding technology is that it could solve or at least ease labor shortages. According to the American Welding Society, more than 50 percent of human-created projects require some type of welding. Additionally, American Welding Society data forecast 400,000 unfilled welding jobs by 2024. Some analysts believe the shortage could surpass that figure.

Training programs make younger generations aware of their opportunities in welding roles. Such programs are good starts, but they won’t bring about an immediate change. AI-powered robots could assist with the deficit in the meantime.