What Is a Visual Inspection Checklist?
A visual inspection checklist is completed by maintenance professionals to identify, document, and gather photo evidence of defects of an asset.
The visual inspection report serves as an assurance that a product or piece of equipment has been inspected. As each part is inspected, the inspector ticks off the pass/fail box. He also adds his observations and recommended corrective actions to fix the errors.
The items on the checklist might vary from industry to industry. For example, a visual weld inspection checklist will look different than an electrical visual inspection report. That’s because the assets that need checking in each industry are different.
There are also different types of inspection, depending on the goal or focus of the assessment. That will also affect the items included in the report. For example, a remote visual inspection uses cameras and robotics. It is usually done in high-risk environments so what it typically focuses on are safety issues.
In this article, the following points are explained:
Which Modern Visual Inspection Methods Exist?
Developments in camera technology and machine learning have a great impact on visual inspections.
It allowed maintenance techs to perform visual assessments at hard-to-reach and hazardous places without coming in contact with the asset they were inspecting. It also gave quality control specialists more access to automated visual inspection solutions. Here are some of them:
Remote Visual Inspection
Technicians use robots or drones to check dangerous or hard-to-reach environments. They can view the videos or images even from thousands of miles away from the inspection site. The captured data can be viewed in two ways:
- Saved data – used in places where the Internet or wireless communication is inaccessible. Captured videos and images are saved and analyzed later.
- Live stream – uses drones or robots that live-feeds the data to the base station where experts can analyze them.
Another advantage of these inspections is their shareability. Technicians can easily share them with other team members or specialized experts. They can then collaborate in real-time to find the best solution.
Automated Visual Inspection
This inspection is often used in the manufacturing industry. It uses artificial intelligence and computer vision to inspect products instead of quality control inspectors. It also aims to reduce the human workforce for inspection in large-scale factories.
In an electronics factory, for example, manufacturers will get a sample that has met the standard and quality inspections. It will then be uploaded to the database, and the algorithm can use it as the standard. Defective products will also be uploaded to teach the AI to recognize these defects.
Both remote and automated visual inspections are used to reduce the risk to workers when assessing dangerous equipment. With these types of inspections, companies don’t have to worry about worker safety and business continuity because they will have both.
How to Conduct an Effective Visual Inspection
The British Institute of Non-Destructive Testing said that a lot of defects can be identified by thorough visual inspection. However, 80 percent of product failures and defects are caused by human error.
Despite this, there are a few simple steps to improve cosmetic inspections now and in the future. From the game-changing 80/20 principle to the training you need, these are the changes you need to make.
Apply the Pareto principle
The 80/20 principle states that 20 percent of the causes affect 80 percent of the results.
It is not practical to ask your QC inspectors to detect 100% of the defects through this method. What’s more effective is asking them to look for the 20% of things that cause the defect.
There might be a couple of defects. The inspectors can focus more on the most important problems by applying this principle. On the one hand, asking them to inspect everything prevents them from prioritizing the more important things.
Give the inspectors a baseline
Make it clear what’s acceptable and what’s not — what’s good and what’s bad. Be very obvious by using a picture to show them what’s defective and not. Put a big green tick next to the good one and a red X mark next to the defective one. Then, it becomes much easier for inspectors to identify what’s good and bad.
Once you have the process in place, conduct some spot checks. Have another group of people do this task and let the QC inspectors do their daily inspections.
Always confirm that things are classified appropriately and defects rejected properly. Conduct a spot check to double-check everything and ensure the process works effectively.
Monitor and Redesign
If there are false rejects that slip through the cracks even after the spot checks, evaluate the process. What stage needs improvement? Does it need redesigning? Maybe you need to make the visual cues much clearer to improve the process.
Have a continuing training
Visual inspections can be repetitive. Because of that, inspectors might get lax and forget the principles. To avoid this, have a training and certification process for both the employee and QC inspectors.
After that, have a series of tests including examples of the principles they need to identify. They will only receive their certification if they achieved 100% on the test and did the inspection correctly.
Advance your Process With a Visual Inspection App
Equip your team with visual inspection software that’s easy to learn and easy to integrate into your existing workflow. With Lumiform, visual inspections run smoothly, and the data you collect helps you standardize inspection criteria for visual inspections across your organization
Visual inspections are time-consuming and costly. In addition, there remains a risk of overlooking defects or that they will occur again and again. Using a mobile app and desktop software for visual inspections counteracts such problems.
Any type of visual inspection is easily performed with it via a tablet or smartphone and documented – online or offline. The desktop software creates checklists and later analyzes the data collected on-site. This procedure significantly reduces the risk of information loss and incorrect assessments.
A digital application offers you and your visual inspection team numerous benefits:
- Don’t get caught up and get started digitally right away with one of our pre-made templates from the Lumiform library.
- Create digital checklists with Lumiform’s form builder simply by dragging and dropping, and customize visual inspection criteria at any time.
- Take unlimited photos of defects and issues and add comments to make inspection results more descriptive.
- Assign corrective actions directly to the right colleague and track their status via the app.
- All results are automatically bundled into one report and you can immediately share them with operations management.
- Lumiform’s scheduling feature ensures that quality managers and their team are reminded when the next visual inspection is due.
- Comprehensive analysis by Lumiform’s tool uncovers root causes of errors, defects and inefficient processes.
- All data is stored securely in the cloud and you can access it anytime, regardless of location.