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Portable vision solutions versus networked machine vision network

What to do about that 100% inspection vision solution?

It's the age old problem. I have one customer complaining and I need to take a corrective action and install 100% inspection solutions. They want me to inspect all of their product before I ship it. The issue is that I can run their product on any one of my lines, so how can I avoid the cost of purchasing multiple inspection systems to cover each and every line, and still meet their demands.



One approach is to deploy a networked vision solution. This can be cost effective as it is possible to build a simple scanner that can be deployed to each line. This means that you only need one image processing unit as required. So if that customer's product is deployed on line x, then the 100% inspection system is active on line x. If the next day it is produced on line y then it is active on that line for the duration of that run. 


  • Inspection can run on any one of the networked lines on demand.
  • There is a substantial savings in image processing hardware and software.
  • It is easy to add more licenses and hardware to enable multiple lines run at a time.
  • The logistics for manufacturing operations are easy, with no moving of assets.
  • Machine vision systems can be complex to align, this approach means none of that.


  • The cost of the cameras and lights for each line. This can be 50% to 60% of a complete system.
  • While the image processing unit is running on another line, the equipment on all others is not earning a cent.

Often, unless a site is planning to bring all lines live in a defined period, the network approach can be too costly.

So what choices are left?

  1. Bring the product to another station where it is inspected after production? This is often the solution chosen but it is far from ideal. This means that there is no payback on stopping the defects from happening upstream. When an inspection system is working online an operator can make corrective actions based on real time feedback and reduce waste.
  2. The other option is to build a portable system. This is a challenge as it is now necessary to develop a solution that can be moved from line to line. The precise alignment that is associated with machine vision systems must be negated. Web inspection solutions normally use high resolution line scan cameras and take time to align. One solution to this is to build a plug and receptacle system. For each line, a special frame is built, this acts as a receptacle. The inspection camera, light etc is also mounted on a frame which acts as a plug. The system is then moved from line to line and prior to start up , a simple calibration procedure is followed.


  • The costs are lower, as the expensive equipment, cameras, optics and lights are moved from line to line as required. 
  • Manufacturing can schedule inspection on any line and inline waste can be reduced.
  • It is possible to add more portable units to get more coverage on the other lines as budgets allow.


  • The cost of the plug and receptacle mechanics is an added cost. 
  • Manufacturing must now move the system according to their production schedule.
  • Calibration procedures must be followed each time the equipment moves.

The system below shows a portable unit for scanning sheets . The end goal for the manufacturing engineer is that

  1. The vision solutions must be capable of doing the inspection
  2. The plug and receptacle system must be reliable
  3. The cost of the roll out to all lines must be low
  4. The requirement for support when the system is moved should be little to none.




OneBoxVision provides vision inspection as a service to  roll to roll, roll to sheet, and sheet to sheet manufacturing operations. Our approach is to work with the client to build an infrastructure using commercial off the shelf equipment to reduce CapEx costs and lower risk. OneBoxVision's offers an extensive solution portfolio. If you wish to learn more about inspection best practices, feel free to access our vision library and contact us to discuss your application to get a free quote.

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Topics: Vision network 100% Inspection