Visual Inspection Demo from IBM and UofSC Presents the Future of Manufacturing


South Carolina’s manufacturing industry has been often mentioned as one of the strongest in the world, with the highest rate of manufacturing growth in the country. It is the fifth-fastest growing manufacturing state, home to the assembly plants, and the original equipment manufacturer, but many times these manufacturing companies face continual pressure for ramping up the production while lowering the costs.

Recently, the University of South Carolina by partnering with IBM showcased the cutting edge visual inspection technology at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, held on 7 January 2020- 10 January 2020. It will again showcase the latest advancements of the manufacturing technology in Columbia to attract a large number of crowd.

Unique features of the Visual Inspector

The demonstration presented by the duo at CES was impressive as it paired the robots with the IBM Watson artificial intelligence, along with the Apple devices for detecting the defects in the manufacturing process. The visual inspector works together with the training hardware and data management. It is also deployed with the IBM PowerAI Vision that simplifies the process of data gathering and training of the new AI models.

This technology was first developed by the researchers at UofSC, who used many photographs of the automotive parts provided by Harley Davidson and BMW.  The visual inspection, which is analyzed by the IBM software, moved on beyond the automotive industry and is now widely used in many manufacturing processes. The technologies help to reduce the operational costs and also bring the product faster to the market.

The next demo to be presented in Columbia will allow the automotive companies, UofSC students, manufacturers, and researchers access to the application required to grow the manufacturing sector of the country.

With the help of solutions like the visual inspector, UofSC will help both the small and mid-sized companies in trying new technologies and meeting the market needs. It will also help the UofSC students in acquiring new skills and knowledge about the technologies needed to stay competitive in the market for the future.