Covid-19: Re-Thinking AOI into Manufacturing Operation in The New Normal
It has been almost two years since COVID-19 started, and today the deadly virus has not stopped disrupting operations on a large scale. Many industries have been affected and the manufacturing industry is no exception.
While many manufacturing companies have shut down their operations, manufacturers that produce essential products are experiencing a high workload.
As manufacturers face significant operational challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, assessing both short-term and long-term efforts to respond quickly to the impact of COVID-19 has become a necessity.
Fortunately, manufacturers are rethinking risk management, workforce safety protocols, contingency plans, workforce safety protocols and manufacturing operations while exploring new ways to overcome immediate challenges to ensure the manufacturing industry stay alive.
For instance, a rapid response team can be formed to gain a better understanding of their production demand changes, supply chain ecosystem challenges, and labour support constraints.
While this strategy will protect operations and boost resilience to a certain level, using modern technology solutions can help accelerate business growth and enable manufacturers to build greater agility especially when economies start to rebound.
In this regard, AOI has been identified as a future-proof solution in the manufacturing industry. In this post, we elaborate on how AOI solutions or Automated Optical Inspection can solve the manufacturing issues in the factory.
What is AOI?
AOI (automated optical inspection or automated vision inspection) is an automated visual inspection of PCB (printed circuit board) manufacture that uses an intelligently programmed camera to autonomously scan a device under test for quality defects (e.g. fillet size, shape or component skew) and catastrophic failure (e.g. missing of component).
So, how can automated vision inspection address the issues brought along by COVID-19 in the manufacturing industry?
Managing workforce safety
One of the major issues that are faced by manufacturing industries is the rise in absenteeism due to workers’ illnesses. Certainly, the coronavirus has affected lives and properties. A lot of companies have lost workers while others have forcefully imposed huge pay cuts just to ensure continuous operation.
Due to quarantine guidelines, companies would experience a decline in the number of workers, which in turn has led to a decline in productivity. In an attempt to maintain social distancing among workers, COVID-19 creates significant challenges in terms of workforce availability, productivity, and safety.
Hence, formalizing and standardizing operating processes using AOI machines can help keep staff safe. As workers are looking to their employers for support in staying both healthy and productive, deploying AOI machines can help the factory fully function without having enough human workers.
Instead of humans handling tasks at the workplace, AOI solutions can be used as an alternative as they can handle more tasks accurately and timely.
AOI solutions are capable of completing complex processes in manufacturing without fully involving workers. It uses two-way communication, both internally and externally, to build workforce confidence through flexible adaptation.
It not only reduces fear and panic among workers but also increases productivity in manufacturing operations.
Keeping the manufacturing industry alive and running
The need for high-quality components has contributed to the increase in demand for highly efficient AOI systems. AOI solutions are highly efficient in inspecting components during the manufacturing process, making them very important to our present needs.
Everybody is trying to adapt to the new normal and so should manufacturing industries. The new normal expect humans to work and get paid in a safe environment.
It also expects companies to show clear leadership by adopting procedures and security protocols that will keep every worker safe while ensuring operations never stop.
Certain sectors such as automotive, health, IT & communication, science, and electronics that adopted this technology have proven to be relatively resilient. The manufacturing industry all over the world is learning rapidly to work in a better way.
Some have subscribed to utilizing new tools, less space, and streamlined communication. Automated optical inspection has seen tremendous growth in North America while Germany, Taiwan, Japan, and South Korea are among the leading manufacturers of AOI systems in the world.
The Bottom Line
Many companies have suffered huge losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In this regard, AOI can offer the technology and a supportive environment that will have a positive impact on the finances of manufacturers.
To embrace the new normal, manufacturers are encouraged to be adaptive and make full use of the latest technology, such as AOI. Last but not least, AOI has great potential of overcoming various issues caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.