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A Barcoding solution is never just a piece of hardware: This is the heart of Barcoding’s Process, People, Technology (PPT) philosophy.

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How to Empower Your Supply Chain with Machine Vision Systems

Feb 24, 2022
4 min read
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What is machine vision?

For Barcoding and our partner, Zebra, it’s a natural technology fit to connect and integrate into industrial manufacturing and warehousing applications. Machine vision system integrators like Zebra and Barcoding can help you add automated inspection and analysis to process controls, streamline tracking and tracing, and provide data and insights for ongoing improvements.

Along with machine vision, fixed industrial scanning can add powerful capabilities to manufacturing and warehousing environments to help reduce some of the most tedious tasks and free up workers to add more meaningful value to the workplace.

We visited our strategic partners at Zebra’s Germantown Experience Center, where the team not only demonstrates state-of-the-art products and technologies in use, but can also help customers set up and test their own proof of concept before investing in full-scale implementation and integration.

Where Machine Vision Projects Come to Life

For Barcoding’s February 2022 Huddle, we did things a little differently: Jody Costa, VP of Marketing and Strategic Partnerships, took us on a live tour of the facilities at Zebra’s Germantown Experience Center.

Participants in the February panel included:

  • Jody Costa, VP of Marketing & Strategic Partnerships, Barcoding
  • Anita Gannon, Channel Account Manager, Zebra
  • Boris Arango, Sales Manager, Machine Vision and Fixed Industrial Scanners, Zebra
  • Armando Lopez, Fixed Industrial Scanning and Machine Vision Specialist, Zebra
  • Amit Asthana, Senior Engineering Manager, Zebra

Jody and Anita kicked things off with a sneak peek of Zebra’s Zebra’s RFID Demo Room, where Anita explained the Zebra team’s process. The Germantown Experience Center allows customers to work closely with product and service specialists to develop, implement, and integrate systems based on customers’ desired outcomes from the very start.

Fixed Scanning & Machine Vision: Natural Next Steps in Automation

After Anita’s welcome, Jody joined Boris in the lab, where he clarified just what’s meant by machine vision and fixed scanning:

Fixed industrial scanning is an image-based capture technology that uses a fixed-position device to scan and read a barcode without the need for a hand-held device. Fixed scanning is integrated into manufacturing or warehouse systems with the use of a programmable logic controller (PLC), to execute a function within a process based on the information associated with the barcode.

Machine vision is an automated, image-based analysis or inspection of a product or part using advanced camera technology along with software algorithms and artificial intelligence. It’s also integrated using a PLC into an industrial process, such as a part inspection or defect detection, to improve quality control.

Zebra has prioritized growth in these areas because the need is real and growing. Customers have been asking for more ways to improve efficiency, accuracy, and connectivity, and these technologies can help them do better work while also making work better.

That’s because automation not only improves accuracy, quality, and speed; it also enables workers to contribute greater value by freeing them from tedious, repetitive, and time-consuming tasks—jobs that these technologies are actually better suited to perform than humans (especially at high speeds).

DIY or Rely on a Partner?

As a customer, how much expertise do you personally need to take advantage of machine vision, and how can Zebra and Barcoding Inc. make it easy to implement and integrate, to achieve the increased level of visibility the technology can deliver?

It turns out, the cameras and software that Zebra offers are simple enough for plenty of folks to do it themselves—but even better, partnering with Barcoding and Zebra doesn’t only make it easier. Working with an expert partner offers benefits that are simply tougher to achieve when you DIY it.

That begins with Barcoding’s focus on your whole picture: process, people, and technology. Getting a clear and holistic picture enables our team to do a deeper needs assessment, and perform a complete ROI analysis and proof of concept to make the business case for the technology investment. (This step typically takes about three to six months.)

Zebra’s Experience Center now makes it faster and easier to run proof of concept trials, and it’s available for both in-person and virtual use.

Partnering puts our expertise to work for you, and that means streamlined deployment, ongoing support, and attention to continuous improvement, to optimize the technology’s ROI well into the future. Boris noted that the cameras and software are built to have staying power to perform fixed scanning, machine vision, or both, all on a single platform. Plus, they can be reprogrammed and repurposed for various processes, even as operations become more complex.

See Machine Vision at Work

Armando and Jody walked us through multiple demos, showing the use of specialized lighting, vision sensors, digital imaging, PLCs, and the human-machine interface (HMI) that enables users to monitor, capture, and use the data collected. It was easy to see the speed, efficiency, and accuracy machine vision and fixed scanning can bring to tasks and processes, and how they can make tasks easier and less tedious for production line workers.

Amit explained how the space was constructed specifically to create a realistic space for live testing technologies in industrial environments, with different areas, configurable spaces, conference rooms, and amenities teams can use to get the most out of their visits.

With the increasing demands and pressures on manufacturers and warehousing operations to do more and better with less, customers are looking for creative ways to use technology to address labor challenges, reduce defective or recalled products delivered to customers, verify labeling and print quality, eliminate errors…and do it all at superhuman speeds.

For better or worse, that’s what it takes today to build and maintain trust and credibility with your customers, to be competitive and relevant today and in the future.

Thanks to Zebra

Huge thanks go out to the team at Zebra for their kind hospitality and warm welcome at the Germantown Experience Center, and for helping us show just how much impact machine vision can have in an industrial environment. We look forward to working with customers in that very space. It’s impossible for us to cover everything in this recap, so don’t miss out: watch the February Huddle below!

Watch the Huddle!

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Fixed scanning is an exciting technology that goes hand in hand with mobility to connect all the data that matters across your enterprise organization. And implementing a program that connects and delivers the data you need, the way you need it, can be challenging. Our Beginner’s Guide to Enterprise Mobility Implementation can set you on the right path from the start, to help ensure your mobility program delivers the best possible long-term value. Click here or below to claim your copy and bring confidence to your mobility journey.

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