Home > Automation Blog > Vision Systems

Here are a couple of things to consider:

According to a 2020 survey, workplace injuries cost U.S. businesses over $59 billion a year; that’s more than $1 billion per week.[1]

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that manufacturing and distribution workers who suffer occupational injuries will miss an average of 10 to 14 days away from work.[2]

This highlights one of the primary reasons that businesses should consider automation solutions: worker safety.

Now, businesses have been implementing automation tools in practically every industry for a long time. But when business leaders are considering automation solutions, they’re usually looking for systems that reduce labor costs, accelerate productivity, or improve quality control.

But there’s a significant bottom-line impact when injured workers miss work. Every time an employee is out on a work-related injury there are potential impacts on insurance costs and the costs associated with potential workers compensation claims. And that doesn’t even begin to account for the costs of lost productivity, schedule disruptions, and training for replacement workers.

In addition to productivity benefits, it pays to consider the safety benefits that automated systems can deliver.

Many of the biggest impacts that automation tools have on worker safety come simply from removing workers from areas where it’s dangerous for them to work. Whether it’s high-speed machinery, heavy equipment, exposure to hazardous materials, or other factors, there are just some areas that present safety hazards for workers. If we can implement tools that reduce the need for workers to access those areas—or eliminate the need to have them in those locations entirely—we can make a big impact on worker safety.

Automated imaging systems are one of the best tools we know of for isolating workers from potentially unsafe work areas. With these systems, instead of placing workers near potentially dangerous machinery, equipment, or materials, fixed industrial scanners and machine vision smart cameras can be used to capture data and inspect parts and products remotely.

And one of the best things about fixed industrial scanners or machine vision smart cameras is that the devices are small enough and so portable that they can usually be deployed without making major changes to your existing processes or reengineering your existing equipment.

Deploying fixed scanners or machine vision smart cameras will also help you improve accuracy and throughput in data capture and inspection applications.

In the past, managers have often viewed automated image capture systems as complicated, expensive solutions that require a high level of specialized expertise and support. But that has really changed with the introduction of Zebra Technologies’ lineup of fixed industrial scanners and machine vision smart cameras.

Zebra’s portfolio of automated data and image capture tools run on a unified software platform called Zebra Aurora, which was designed specifically to make their tools easy to setup, deploy, and manage.

Zebra also offers a tremendous amount of flexibility in their portfolio, allowing for simple solutions and software upgrades as your processes grow.

For instance, let’s say you want to address a single location where fast-moving equipment creates a potential safety hazard for workers using a handheld barcode scanner to track products on a conveyor. With Zebra’s tools, you can install a single fixed scanner and quickly configure it to capture any data. Then, as your systems evolve, you can upgrade that scanner with additional imaging capabilities with no need for new hardware.

The result is a safer workplace that also positions you to capture even more of the benefits of automaton in the future.

As a Zebra partner, NEFF is excited to show you how their fixed industrial scanners and machine vision smart cameras can help you improve workplace safety. Please contact us for more information.

[1] Liberty Mutual 2020 Workplace Safety Index; https://business.libertymutual.com/insights/2020-workplace-safety-index-the-top-10-causes-of-disabling-injuries

[2] U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; https://www.bls.gov/news.release/osh.t04.htm