A global aerospace & defense manufacturer improves production efficiency with DarwinAI’s Explainable AI platform

Manufacturing

Aerospace & Defense

Deploying vision-assisted solder joint inspection helped detect defects earlier and reduced lead time—with proven ROI in the first 3 months

About The Project

The vision inspection system built on our Explainable AI (XAI) platform delivered significant benefits to manufacturing operators at the company. By integrating into the existing process a system that visually examined printed circuit board (PCB) solder quality, our customer was able to identify defects sooner, which reduced both lead time and costly rework due to scrap.

increase in defects caught before final inspection
40%
less lead time due to less rework
29%
return on investment
3 mo.

Difference Makers

  • Vision inspection platform requires low compute power
  • Operators trust the inspection outcome
  • Value of data is multiplied
  • Solution is highly scalable across multiple lines and factories

About Our Customer

A global aerospace and defense manufacturer headquartered in the United States.

Manufacturing plants
50+
Employees
10,000+
Years in operation
70+

Challenges with the Existing Inspection Process

When manufacturing advanced motion control products for mission-critical applications, every component must meet rigorous quality standards. Printed circuit boards (PCBs) are no exception: for example, NASA’s acceptance standards require over 20 types of surface defects to be distinguished and reconciled.

This manufacturer was experiencing several difficulties with their existing inspection process:

  • High lead time: 40%+ of defects found during inspection could have been detected two days earlier, during PCB soldering
  • High scrap: Entire batches are scrapped when defects are found, wasting thousands of dollars of raw materials
  • Penalties: Manufacturing delays can incur significant penalties from customers

Our vision inspection platform assists operators in catching defects earlier in the production process

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Inspection System Advantages

We worked with the manufacturer to design, build, and deploy a purpose-built AI inspection system that assists operators while enabling a faster production process—increasing throughput, lowering lead time, and reducing rework costs. The custom platform provides the following benefits and, unlike alternative vision-inspection AI platforms, our system only needs a few data samples of defects to get started—just one reason why the whole process took only a few weeks.

  1. Advanced Standardization

    Allows the manufacturing operator to quickly detect and categorize solder joint defects based on NASA standards

  2. Root Cause Analysis

    Shows the root cause behind defects—allowing operators to validate the system’s predictions and make it smarter over time

  3. Better Business Insights

    Enables teams to leverage a new system of record to make business decisions that weren’t possible before—like allowing procurement personnel to renegotiate with suppliers

Technical Assessment

Our team reviewed vision data and became familiar with the manufacturer’s systems that were currently in place, to make an expert recommendation.

Scoping

We worked with the manufacturer to clarify and set specific measures of success, including factory KPIs and ROI goals to attain with the technical AI solution.

Prototyping

We quickly provided a trustworthy, high-precision inspection system that is purpose-built for each specific part.

Pilot & Rollout

Working with the manufacturer, we completed factory testing in a real setting with little to no CapEx and ensured that all of the business objectives were achieved; next, rollout was expanded to 15 inspection locations, according to the manufacturer’s needs.

Interested in leveraging our technology for defect detection?