As 2020 approaches, it becomes increasingly vital to minimize the largest factors that are driving error. As a result, data can be more efficiently utilized in this new era of productivity and digitalization.
Product inspections remain an indispensable part of modern manufacturing, preventing quality defects and assuring brand cohesion. The ultimate goal of the quality control inspection process is to ensure the final product’s quality meets the customer’s expectations. Done correctly, inspections directly support the top and bottom lines, ensuring product quality and cohesion, measurement accuracy, and efficient use of labor.
The reality is many organizations still use outdated and manual inspection methods, recording inspections with pen and paper and in Excel spreadsheets. A particular pain is felt in inaccurate product measurement and color management, where the tools used are both manual and subjective.
In many industries, a single error could cause a loss, requiring additional labor, time, and money. These errors will always persist with manual inspections—humans are imperfect, mistakes are made, and errors are missed.
In the textile industry in particular, color-matching issues abound. Textile companies understand the intricacies inherent in creating and matching perfect tones. Due to the many variables that must be carefully monitored throughout the manufacturing process—from raw materials, dyeing, to final processing—producing the correct color takes precision.
Fabrics within batches and cylinders often show differences in color. These differences are often too subtle for the naked eye to pinpoint. Additionally, two shades can look identical in one type of light and completely different in another.
Measurements also pose a threat to product consistency. Pen and paper measurements are fraught with errors. In traditional measurement inspections, two to three inspectors are typically required to measure the dimensions of one object: one inspector holds the tape, the other records the measurements, and another moves the samples into place. Inaccurate hand measurements, mishearing, or simply writing down the wrong number are all common mistakes. The need for three inspectors slows down processing time, tying up labor where it could be used elsewhere.
When a product is the wrong color, or dimensions are inconsistent, customer satisfaction levels suffer. Customers are likely to view a brand as inferior, or the product as cheap. When quality matters, a way to accurately and objectively assess and replicate product colors and sizes is paramount.
The Inspectorio Platform Solution
So what can we do about it?
We can remove some of the variables. Eliminating variables such as lighting and human perception allows inspectors to gather objective data on color matches. When measuring dimensions, eliminating the need for reading measurements by eye and manually recording results ensures correct dimension reporting.
To address these challenges, Inspectorio has introduced two new tools into their product suite to drive the industry into the digital age where it belongs: Inspectorio SmartColor and Inspectorio SmartTape.
These products are an extension of the Inspectorio SIGHT network platform. When utilizing Inspectorio SIGHT, the entire inspection process is captured on a mobile device in real time. The mobile application tracks inconsistencies and ensures that the inspection report is being fulfilled accurately and efficiently. The results from the inspection report are uploaded directly from Inspectorio’s mobile application and fed into a dashboard for key stakeholders to access.
Inspectorio SmartColor and Inspectorio SmartTape were created by using direct user feedback from the Inspectorio platform. These tools not only increase process accuracy and efficiency, but also significantly advance the benefits of the Inspectorio network platform. By using SmartColor and SmartTape, Inspectorio platform users reap large-scale results by compiling and recording meaningful, objective, and accurate data. Leveraging machine learning to create predictive action plans based on real inspection data, the Inspectorio platform enhances its ability to create precise and tailored action plans for customers.
With unparalleled accuracy, SmartColor is an easily-portable colorimeter capable of recording five colors simultaneously, capturing over 50,000 pixels. After connecting SmartColor to the Inspectorio smartphone-enabled mobile app via cable, SmartColor self-calibrates optics within its miniature light box to create the optimal lighting environment.
Licensed and custom color standards are uploaded into Inspectorio’s cloud-based platform, and the push-button device can be used to validate a production sample against the virtual color or an approved sample. It works with all fabrics, including patterned, stirred, and stamped fabrics, along with textured surfaces and leather. End users can narrow the capture area down to one pixel. SmartColor records the color data for an approved sample and stores it on the Inspectorio platform, creating a unique profile for the scanned color to be used as reference for color-matching.
What results is objective accountability: quality control specialists can now color check a garment against an approved sample and instantly verify if the color swatches match within the variance tolerance set by the customer—this tolerance can be programmed into the platform and is customizable. Defects are thus discovered earlier, allowing problems to be corrected before it’s too late, saving time and money.
The Inspectorio SmartTape is a digital tool designed to improve and expedite one of the most cumbersome parts of inspection: measuring. The built-in sensor on the device detects how much of the tape has been stretched, accurate to ± 1 mm. Eliminating the need for more than one inspector, the device transmits the measurement to Inspectorio’s mobile app via Bluetooth. A/B testing has shown the device can reduce time-in-measurement by as much as 60%.
Addressing the specific problems and unique frustrations of existing Inspectorio users, these tools not only make life on the floor easier for inspectors, but provide a more holistic view of operations.
Setup is fast, simple, and intuitive, and the learning curve is small. Training for SmartColor takes no more than 30 minutes, and the SmartTape training only takes 15 minutes. Setup for both is a breeze: connect the devices via mobile app, snap, and go.
With the implementation of these two tools, Inspectorio SIGHT users will be able to implement even greater digitalization and accuracy into their inspection data. Performing inspections properly is a complex process, and completing them efficiently requires continuous improvements. Utilizing available tools and tech streamlines the process, eliminates inaccuracies, and empowers inspectors, vendors, and leadership to drive the next generation of improvements and enhancements in quality.