Augmented Reality for Quality Inspection

Our AI-enhanced visual inspection improves quality control and reduces the chances of errors

Inspection is a critical part in the quality control process in manufacturing.

Quality inspection ensures that product quality and work steps performed meet the defined standards. Raw materials and components are often checked prior to the assembly process; products can also be inspected during and post production. Frontline workers measure, examine, and test whether work steps were carried out correctly, and that products and their components were assembled or maintained according to specifications.

End-of-line inspection

AI-enhanced visual inspection detects false parts, and with AR, guides workers to improve quality control.

Step Check helps frontline workers to perform end-of-line inspection cycles faster, with higher accuracy and less risk of errors. Step Check uses AR and AI to identify parts, classify the object’s state, and automatically learn from pass/fail decisions.

Read the E-book

AR helps solve key inspection challenges

Slow inspection cycles impact production outcome

High-production outcome requires fast inspection cycles. Checking parts and objects manually without the right tools during an entire shift is very demanding for frontline workers. A worker must manually assess if parts are assembled correctly, wires are fully connected, or welding points are at the right location. Comparing real objects with paper-based manuals or 2D images is time-consuming, leading to slow inspection cycles and delays for customers.

Manual quality checks have higher risk of human errors

Frontline workers must assess parts with the naked eye and ensure high accuracy. Identifying false parts with traditional documentation is a challenge. Workers get used to repetitive tasks, get tired, and make mistakes. Inspection results are incorrect, faulty products delivered, and rework is needed. This results in loss of revenue and low customer satisfaction.

Traditional quality assessment solutions lack automated protocoling

Manually documenting inspection results is a time-consuming extra step susceptible to human error or paperwork getting lost. What's more, quality processes often require image feedback that adds one more step to the worker’s task list.

Benefits of using AR for quality inspection

Step Check helps frontline workers to perform end-of-line inspection cycles faster, with higher accuracy and less risk of errors. Step Check uses AR and AI to identify parts, classify the object’s state, and automatically learn from pass/fail decisions.

AI-based assessment and decision making accelerates inspection cycles

Faster inspection cycles

Automated assessment using the mobile device camera and Vuforia’s leading computer vision technology.

More than pass/fail—identify incorrect states

Step Check not only identifies missing parts, but also if a part is not placed correctly.

AI learns more with each inspection

With every inspection cycle and worker feedback, the system automatically learns and adds new data to the AI component.

Visual hints and warnings increase efficiency and avoid human errors

Better decisions without the risk of errors

AR overlays show the worker if an object passed the check or if something is wrong.

Correctly guide frontline users

A tool that guides through the process, checks that the right object is inspected, and whether the assessment has passed or failed in real time.

Reliably detect a variety of failure types

Makes comparing 2D manuals and real parts unnecessary.

Mobile inspection with automated reporting is more efficient

Automatically document the inspection process

Benefit from a solid protocol, including image feedback for easy reporting.

One system from inspection to documentation

Frontline workers benefit from having one system that makes inspection more flexible and accurate, plus automated proof of quality.

Insights into quality changes over time

The Step Check dashboard displays more detailed insights into quality changes over time and allows visual analysis of recorded fail-states.

How it works – Step Check

Step Check is PTC's visual inspection solution powered by artificial intelligence (AI) and our computer vision technology. Step Check makes quality inspections more efficient by improving accuracy and reducing errors.

Step 1: Locate

Wayfinding takes the technician directly to where each step needs to be performed. Once at the step location, instructions tell the technician what to check or inspect. AI automatically lets the technician know if the current state is correct. Now technicians can quickly find a part and trigger the next step while AI clearly visualizes pass/fail to avoid errors.

Step 2: Perform

Step-by-step guidance clearly shows the technician exactly what they need to check. Videos, images, and text from existing documentation can be used to assist. This allows technicians to quickly perform steps in the correct order and only move onto the next step when the step state is documented.

Step 3: Validate

AI learning improves each time the step is performed to improve the automatic step validations. Indicators clearly show technicians the current pass/fail state. This process is one of the fastest and most accurate ways to perform inspections.

Step 4: Document

Automatic documentation collects and stores all inspection data for easy access. The protocol includes all pass/fail steps with time stamps and image feedback for easy reporting. This allows for automated proof of quality and fewer reporting errors from manual paper-based entries between systems.

Frequently asked questions

What are the three types of inspection?

  • Quality inspections are a type of manufacturing inspection that involves checking products to verify that they meet preset standards. These can take place before production, during production in-line, or end-of-line. Visual inspections are techniques commonly used.
  • Process inspections can take place at any point during the manufacturing process. This type of inspection is performed to check that each part of the process is correctly followed and complies with industry standards such as ISO 9001.
  • Equipment inspections ensure that equipment can be operated, adjusted, and maintained safely. These types of inspections aim to identify any deterioration or malfunction so they can be repaired before presenting any health and safety risks.

How does Step Check help documentation creators?

  • Efficient authoring of inspection instructions, including automatic checks with an easy-to-use editor
  • Step Check dashboard allows quality analysis over time
  • Robust CAD handling and optimization

How does AR benefit frontline workers?

Augmented reality work instructions are a type of digital work instructions that provide additional in-context information. The benefits include:

  • Accurate 3D representation of components based on CAD data
  • Easiest use of AR visualization on real objects through automated snap-in from all typical angles
  • Automatically warn workers of potentially wrong pass/fail decision using AI-based quality checks
  • Overlay detection of pass/fail state over the components in real time
  • Detection of parts not modeled in CAD or not geometry-based (e.g., plugged in cable, part number stickers)
  • Visual wayfinders to navigate users to the right location

What sort of results can we expect?

  • Reduced training costs
  • Decreased ramp-up times
  • Reduced test failures
  • Reduced tests omitted
  • Increased throughput