Computer Vision: Enhancing Industrial Safety with AI
As artificial intelligence increasingly gains prominence, several branches such as computer vision, machine learning, robotics, cognitive computing, internet of things, are just some of the technologies and terminologies that have mushroomed with it.
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.
One key example could be the computer vision technology being utilised in manufacturing premises, which now have the necessary means to achieve automated safety compliance, better than a human counterpart. Let’s look at this closely.
A Computer vision solution, such as the IRIS, developed by ‘Integration Wizards Solutions‘ to work with an existing CCTV network, would serve as an 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. When used in a manufacturing setting, this has immense power to ensure safety compliance.
For instance, the AI-powered solution would ensure workforce safety compliance with the ability to identify workers without prerequisite safety equipment or protective gear. This would result in an appropriate response, like sending a real-time notification to the safety manager. The solution would also maintain a database about safety protocol breaches which would be useful in investigations of any workplace accidents.
With the ability to monitor security camera footage, the solution will accurately identify hardhats, visibility vests, work goggles, etc., making workforce safety and compliance extremely viable. The application of the solution can further extend from safety gear detection to occurrence of serious incidents such as the detection of large gatherings of people, personnel movement, and identification of incidents when a worker requires assistance. Efficient response trigged from the system in such scenarios would aid in workforce safety compliance.
Aside from workforce safety, the solution can be applied to workplace safety compliance as well. Computer Vision would be able to detect anomalies at the premises that are not in accordance with the standard operating procedures. Real-time alerts and fail-safe measures will accelerate the resolution of the issue. For example, the system would have the potential to monitor unauthorised access, ensure forklifts are stopping at stopping points and intersections inside the facility, and monitor entry of personnel into hazardous areas. This would ensure that the entire premise is complying with the safety regulations and procedures.
Moreover, the capability of computer vision to classify and package products for their destination, by using barcodes, will not only increase process efficiency but also make the workplace safer by eliminating the need for personnel to be present in hazardous areas of the premises. 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.
Similarly, computer vision can also be used to enable fire safety and electrical safety compliance, as the solution has the capability to process multiple signal inputs from electric circuits and send an alert in case of abnormal activity. In case of the former, infrared cameras connected to the solution can allow for the detection of overheating of devices, which may result in a fire.
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. For example, a Computer vision solution that is popular for manufacturers is inspecting bottles in a 360-degree view. The solution ensures safety compliance of the product packaging, in terms of the cap closure/seal, among other components.
The application of Computer vision at manufacturing premises can be best observed with IRIS, the end-to-end indoor tracking, monitoring and automation solution, ensuring safety compliance for not only the blue-collar workers and detection of absent or incorrect protective gear, but also with respect to providing a comprehensive view of the facility and the workflow, enabling ease of monitoring and enforcing safety compliance.
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. Computer vision is one of those unique innovative solutions that can ensure safety compliance across the workforce, and the entire manufacturing process and facility.