At John Deere, “Hard Iron Meets Artificial Intelligence”

John Deere, Moline, Ill., is utilizing Intel’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology, piloting a solution that uses computer vision to automatically spot common defects in the automated welding process in its manufacturing facilities.

AWS Publications | June 15, 2021 | Tech and Industries
Welding Digest ►  At John Deere, “Hard Iron Meets Artificial Intelligence”

John Deere, Moline, Ill., is utilizing Intel’s artificial intelligence (AI) technology, piloting a solution that uses computer vision to automatically spot common defects in the automated welding process in its manufacturing facilities.

Photo: A Hybrid 944K wheel loader distributes aggregate in Georgetown, Tex. (Credit: John Deere.)

Andy Benko, quality director, John Deere Construction & Forestry Division, said the following: “This AI solution has the potential to help us produce our high-quality machines more efficiently than before. The introduction of new technology into manufacturing is opening up new opportunities and changing the way we think about some processes that haven’t changed in years.”

At 52 factories around the world, the manufacturer uses gas metal arc welding to weld mild- to high-strength steel to create machines and products. In these factories, hundreds of robotic arms consume millions of weld wire pounds annually. One common welding challenge felt across the industry is porosity, in which cavities in the weld metal are caused by trapped gas bubbles as the weld cools. The cavities weaken the weld strength.

Working with Intel’s AI to address weld porosity was a chance to bring together innovation and quality. “We wanted to drive technology to make John Deere’s weld quality better than it’s ever been,” Benko added. The companies combined expertise to develop an end-to-end system of hardware and software that can generate insights in real time at the edge. When using a neural network-based inference engine, the system logs defects in real time and automatically stops the welding process. The automated system allows Deere to fix the issue in real time.

“Deere is leveraging AI and machine vision to solve a common challenge with robotic welding,” said Christine Boles, vice president in Intel’s Internet of Things Group and general manager of Industrial Solutions Group. “By leveraging Intel technology and smart infrastructure in their factories, Deere is positioning themselves well to capitalize not only on this welding solution but potentially others that emerge as part of their broader Industry 4.0 transformation.”

The system is powered by Intel® Core™ i7 processors and uses Intel® Movidius™ vision processing units, as well as the Intel® Distribution of OpenVINO™ toolkit, implemented with an industrial-grade ADLINK machine vision platform and a MeltTools welding camera. Visit newsroom.intel.com/category/partner-stories for more information.