Improving Productivity and Increasing Uptime with Advanced Inspection Tools

Today’s advanced visual inspection technology, such as Mentor Visual iQ from GE, helps operators make smarter decisions faster. More sophisticated devices with connectivity and intuitive touchscreen user-interfaces extend uptime and increase productivity. The latest generation of visual inspection technologies improve inspection processes and help address challenges around the growing skills gap by providing less experienced inspectors with the insights necessary to do their jobs via technology similar to that of a smartphone.

Every minute of downtime, whether it’s a turbine that is taken offline or a plane that is grounded, costs money – upwards of millions of dollars per day. Advanced visual inspection technologies allow technicians to more quickly and accurately identify issues or rule out problems reducing costly downtime.

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Past systems required technicians to use a joy stick and menu to select points they wanted to measure and record annotations. Now, inspectors can easily access the points they want to measure by a simple touch on the screen. Moreover, the touchscreen speeds up the commonly used text annotation process by 50 percent compared to older visual inspection systems. Inspectors can take a picture and add a text annotation that labels the defect, making it easier to share the image and get a second opinion from an off-site expert. It is also much quicker for inspectors to choose the images they want to share with improved file navigation tools that are easily accessible on the touchscreen.

Hardware upgrades have dramatically improved visual inspection, and software is simultaneously evolving to keep pace with an increasingly connected environment. Device side menu and profile software that is built within the system has become easier for technicians to access and is more customized to their needs. Inspectors can change interfaces and profiles on the system to have exactly what they need to complete their jobs most effectively. And for compatibility with existing systems, new software packages load onto the system and set standards to keep inspectors working in the same consistent format across the organization. For example, a power plant employee working on the compressor side of a turbine can save images following a predetermined procedure which allows each inspector, regardless of location and experience level, to conduct the inspection the same way and in the same order. Consistency is just another facet of a productive workforce that provides more accurate results. The latest software for visual inspection is being developed with architecture for the future to adapt to the changing landscape and workplace dynamic.

To learn more about these benefits, read the full article in Quality Manufacturing Today here: http://www.qmtmag.com/display_eds.cfm?edno=8004979.

 By Tom Ward, RVI Senior Product Manager, GE Measurement & Control

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