B&R boosts cameras with MVTec and Hailo

AI-enhanced machine vision

B&R, MVTec and Hailo officials at SPS 2022 (B&R)

Automation and process control technology company B&R is enhancing its smart camera portfolio with deep learning functionality. It has collaborated with machine vision software specialist MVTec and AI processor specialist Hailo, which makes the B&R camera a powerful and efficient edge device. The three companies showcased their joint project at the SPS trade show in Nuremberg.

Machine vision algorithms based on deep learning are opening up exciting new ways to improve quality, boost productivity and prevent waste while making manufacturing more flexible. “Our collaboration with MVTec gives machine builders access to the best selection of the best performing vision functions around,” says B&R’s machine vision expert, Andreas Waldl. “They’re an industry leader in both deep learning and classic rule-based algorithms – two complementary approaches that each play an essential role in machine automation.”

Speed reader

The first product to emerge from the project is a deep-learning-based optical character recognition (OCR) function. Called Deep OCR, it achieves remarkably fast read rates, even on fonts that are otherwise difficult to recognize. “For many years, we have been working together with B&R to develop machine vision solutions for customers that set technological standards, especially for embedded systems,” says Thomas Hopfner, product manager for licensing and interfaces at MVTec. “This goal is also being followed by our latest cooperation. As a result, customers benefit from the advantages of the deep learning technology Deep OCR without having to sacrifice performance.” 

TOPS-per-watt winner

High-performance deep learning algorithms require a powerful processor. Yet, implementation as an edge device made power consumption a critical issue. Today’s machine builders need not just computing speed but also power efficiency, and that is where Hailo comes in: in addition to the world-class performance of 26 tera-operations per second (TOPS), the company’s inference accelerators also require remarkably low power consumption. “Hailo helps us put truly groundbreaking speed and intelligence right where our customers need it for their fastest and most adaptive manufacturing solutions,” says Waldl.

“This kind of collaboration is exactly what we had in mind when we started Hailo,” says Hailo CEO Orr Danon. “The new B&R camera harnesses Hailo’s top-performing AI accelerator, and in combination with their state-of-the-art edge devices and MVTec’s advanced machine learning algorithms, we are setting new performance standards that will improve productivity and enhance quality in industrial applications.”

MVTec is a leading manufacturer of standard software for machine vision. Its products are used in all demanding areas of imaging: the semiconductor industry, surface inspection, automatic optical inspection systems, quality control, metrology, as well as medicine and surveillance.

Hailo, an AI-focused, Israel-based chipmaker, has developed a specialized AI processor that delivers the performance of a data center-class computer to edge devices.

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