ASUS IoT AI inspection solutions help NEXCOM improve pin-detection accuracy

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Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) has always played a crucial role in quality control during the production process.

In recent years, the proportion of high-mix, low-volume production modes has gradually increased, making traditional AOI technology insufficient to meet the current production line requirements. In response, industrial computer giant NEXCOM has adopted an AI-powered, vision-based smart factory solution from ASUS IoT.

This integration has successfully applied AI-powered vision-inspection technology to the production of high-end industrial computers and servers. The system leverages AI to overcome the limitations of traditional AOI, significantly reducing modeling time and improving detection accuracy.

ASUS established the ASUS IoT business group in 2019, and ASUS as a whole now retains nearly 1,000 engineers dedicated to the development of IoT and AIoT hardware and software. Under the framework of Industry 4.0, ASUS IoT develops B2B IoT and AIoT hardware and software integration services.

NEXCOM, a prominent industrial manufacturer for more than 30 years, primarily produces industrial mainboards, high-end industrial computers, and AI servers. Its high-end industrial computers are called Box PCs, which are around the same size as makeup bags.

Each Box PC contains up to 40 slots, each with 200 pins, resulting in a vast number of pins throughout the machine. In addition, with the development of AI servers, the number of CPUs and pins on the motherboards has also increased.

NEXCOM previously relied mainly on manual visual inspection for quality control. However, it is difficult for the human eye to focus on tiny pins for long periods of time, and pin defects or foreign objects are challenging to detect from different angles.

As the number and density of pins increase, the difficulty and uncertainty of manual inspection also increase. NEXCOM tried to introduce AOI equipment for automated inspection.

However, since AOI equipment requires modeling for every pin defect, engineers need to write complex programs, which is both time-consuming and skill-intensive. Furthermore, the overkill rate – where good products are mistakenly identified as defective – of AOI equipment remains high.

As a result, the workload of manual review did not drop. That's when NEXCOM called in ASUS AIoT to implement an AI-powered inspection solution to create a smart factory.

As a professional industrial computer manufacturer, NEXCOM also established a subsidiary, NexAIOT, focusing on smart system integration. ASUS IoT has deep technical expertise in automated processes and equipment, especially in AOI and AI algorithms – with a substantial amount of implementation experience.

The technical advantages of both parties highly complement one another. NexAIOT can efficiently integrate ASUS IoT solutions into NEXCOM's production environment, solving production line issues and creating new values.

During the process of helping NEXCOM build its smart inspection system, the ASUS IoT team fully demonstrated its ability to provide customized services. Faced with the specific conditions of NEXCOM's production environment, including narrow spaces in production lines and large product sizes, ASUS IoT engineers team first conducted on-site evaluations to understand the specific needs and then optimized the system architecture accordingly.

In terms of hardware design, ASUS IoT transformed the original floor-standing inspection equipment into a suspended type to fit NEXCOM's continuous production line layout. For the larger high-end industrial computer production lines, the inspection equipment was designed to be lightweight and movable, improving flexibility to meet the needs of different production lines and inspection points. In terms of software, ASUS IoT customized and adjusted the interface of the inspection software, including button positions, font sizes and warning colors to improve the operational convenience for users.

ASUS IoT also helped NEXCOM accelerate the modeling efficiency of the inspection system through AI technology. Unlike traditional AOI that requires extensive time to write programs, the ASUS IoT AI inspection solution, AISDIS 100P NCC, requires only a small number of good product images with simple defect annotations to complete modeling within 30 minutes.

This modeling method allows the inspection equipment to quickly go online in the early stages of new product introduction, perfectly matching the production pace. In addition, the deep learning algorithm of ASUS IoT AI inspection solutions can identify pin defects and foreign objects quickly and accurately, maintaining high levels of detection rate under different angles and lighting conditions.

With the self-learning capability of the AI model, the system continually optimizes detection rules, keeping the overkill rate under 15%, significantly lower than the 70% of manual inspection. In terms of production efficiency, AI vision inspection also improved the inspection time significantly. In the past, manual inspection of an industrial computer took in excess of a minute, but the AI system reduces this to 30-40 seconds.

Beyond solving existing problems, ASUS IoT AI inspection solutions also brought new values to NEXCOM. Through AI empowerment, NEXCOM has enhanced its flexible production capabilities to adapt to market changes and established a data-driven mechanism for precise manufacturing and continuous optimization. In terms of business, this has enabled NEXCOM to add ODM design services, successfully initiating its smart transformation.

As for future plans, NEXCOM will continue to cooperate with ASUS IoT, expanding AI vision-inspection applications from motherboard and machine inspections to warehousing, logistics, and production management. This will create a comprehensive and multi-faceted smart manufacturing ecosystem, allowing the benefits of smart technology to become the driving force for the sustainable growth of the enterprise.

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ASUS IoT's AI inspection solution, AISDIS 100P NCC

ASUS IoT's AI inspection solution, AISDIS 100P NCC, can rapidly and accurately identify pin defects and foreign objects, maintaining a high detection rate even under different angles and lighting conditions – reducing operating time by up to 50%
Photo: ASUS