IT trading firm Rikei to sell NZ AI-based appearance inspection system in Japan

09, Apr. 2020

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SYDNEY, NNA – Japanese IT trading company Rikei Corp. has begun selling a system developed by New Zealand-based startup Mindhive Ltd. to perform appearance inspections on products through image analysis using artificial intelligence.

The system automatizes inspections on completed products, which previously needed visual examination by workers, allowing businesses using the system to reduce their personnel expenses, Rikei said in a statement on Wednesday.

Rikei will promote the system to food and leather goods and other manufacturers.

The Tokyo-based company helps small and medium-sized businesses obtain subsidies up to 10 million yen ($91,800) each from the Japanese government to reduce the financial burden for the system installment.

A Rikei official told NNA the Mindhive’s system “is compatible with our business plan for putting efforts in IoT (internet of things) and AI. We’ll promote our sales of the products in Japan while using Japanese government subsidies so that the initial cost won’t prevent small and medium-sized businesses from introducing the system.”

In appearance inspections, completed products are examined to see if they have any appearance defects, such as scratches, stains, and foreign objects. Mindhive’s system can detect scratches and color unevenness on leather products and has also proved effective in appearance inspections on car parts.

The results of grading inspections tend to differ from person to person, but the use of AI allows accurate inspections, the statement said.

Rikei will extend support to companies introducing Mindhive’s system in the entire process, from the selection of a camera and lighting system that serve as a proxy for human eyes and the compilation of an appearance inspection program to the establishment of the whole system.