Home Interview Jidoka Technologies: Blending AI with automation to deliver cognitive visual inspection

Jidoka Technologies: Blending AI with automation to deliver cognitive visual inspection


Jidoka Technologies was founded in 2018 by Sekar Udayamurthy, Dr. Krishna Iyengar, and Vinodh Venkatesan. This Chennai-based automated cognitive inspection startup  combines Artificial Intelligence, Machine Vision with automation to deliver cognitive visual inspection of defects in manufacturing industry. In an interaction with CIO AXIS, Sekar Udayamurthy talked about Jidoka’s AI-based Machine Vision solutions which, according to him, helps automate the process of visual quality checks in manufacturing by leveraging AI , ML , Deep Learning, Analytics, and Industrial Automation.

CIO AXIS: Tell us how Jidoka Technologies. What gaps in the market led to its coming into being and what does Jidoka mean?
Sekar Udayamurthy : Chennai-based, Jidoka Technologies is a next-generation emerging leader in the field of automated cognitive inspection, delivering AI Powered Defect Detection systems specially designed for the manufacturing industry.

The accuracy rate with the human inspection to detect defects was generally not more than 90% as decision-making varied based on the experience of Quality inspectors. In high-volume production lines where the visual inspection was not deployed 24X7, there were backlogs that created bottlenecks in the process. Furthermore, there was fatigue setting in with the manual quality personnel having to perform checks continuously. The founders recognized this opportunity for automated QC solutions that would help to increase the efficiency of the manufacturing processes and provide consistent decisions across industry verticals and decided to start the venture to serve the fast-expanding manufacturing market and address the existing gaps present.

Jidoka stands for a principle that advocates ‘intelligent automation’ or ‘automation with a human touch’ in Japanese.

CIO AXIS: Tell us about your cutting-edge cognitive QC solutions to automate the process of visual quality checks. What advanced technologies do they leverage?
Sekar Udayamurthy: Jidoka’s AI-based Machine Vision solutions help automate the process of visual quality checks in manufacturing by leveraging AI (Artificial Intelligence), ML (Machine Learning), Deep Learning, Analytics, and Industrial Automation. The advances in AI are enabling the automation of several visual inspection tasks.

Deep Learning, a subset of Machine Learning in AI is leveraged to teach machines to learn by example. This in essence is capturing human knowledge. This technology recognizes features, makes intelligent predictions and decisions, and replicates what the best of the organization’s workforce does. In doing so, it scales the intelligence of human visual inspection with the reliability, consistency, and speed of a computerized system.

Jidoka uses a combination of Supervised and Unsupervised Computer Vision AI algorithms. In the low data regime, itusesits patented anomaly detection algorithm along with clustering. These technologies help in addressing all challenges that occur in manually performed tasks.

CIO AXIS: Do you offer standard as well as custom solutions? What are the industry verticals your solutions cater to?
Sekar Udayamurthy: Jidoka’s state-of-the-art solution combines the power of AI with automation and computer vision in defect detection, delivering 98% or higher accuracy in the QC process. The solution has both hardware and software components. The Hardware platform has three trademarked structural shells that are used to customize the right solution for different products, such as Huron for large volume complex products, Tigris for flat and lightweight products, and Miyake for manual load and unload with selective checking. Jidoka is working towards developing solutions that can be integrated with robots as well.

The software platform, Kompass, marries real-time decision-making with state-of-the-art AI to create an end-to-end system for visual defect systems.

The organization solves customer problems and not just provides products, hence the experienced implementation team will make suitable changes to the organization’s hardware products and configure the software and provide an E2E solution.
The organization caters to Automotive, FMCG, Pharma, General Manufacturing, Warehouse and Logistics, Electronics, and Printing among other industry verticals.

CIO AXIS: Finance and competition are among the main hurdles startups face. What is the financial backup that you are relying upon? We would like to know about your investors. How much funding has Jidoka Technologies raised to date? And when was the last funding round?

Sekar Udayamurthy: Jidoka Technologies was self-funded while building its core product. In May 2021, the organization received seed funding of USD 340,000 from a leading technology entrepreneur in India. The investment supported the organization in scaling the business, accelerating growth, and enhancing innovation capabilities.

In May this year, one of the most active Angel Investment Groups in Tamil Nadu, The Chennai Angels (TCA) invested Rs.3 crore (around USD376,000) in Jidoka. A follow-up of investment of Rs.3 crore has also been committed for a second tranche at the end of this year. Under the mentorship of TCA Lead Venkatesh Vijayaraghavan, Director and CEO, CavinKarePvt. Ltd., Jidoka is strengthening its presence in the FMCG industry too, while successfully serving the automotive and other industries. With these funds, Jidoka aims to expand its services across the global markets of the US, the UK, Europe, and Southeast Asia in addition to serving the local market.

CIO AXIS:. What is your strategy to cope with the fierce competition that the giants in the field pose?
Sekar Udayamurthy: Jidoka Technologies’ Artificial Intelligence-driven solutions are on par with globally available technologies in the space of computer vision which few organizations can boast of. The cutting-edge technologies leveraged by Jidoka include Deep Learning algorithms, advanced image augmentation techniques, and edge computing for high-speed decision-making on complex problems. Jidoka’s differentiation is that it is an E2E solution provider with proven implementation experience. Its USP is that while being an AI-first company, Jidoka sells its products including hardware and automation to provide successful outcomes for its customers.

Jidoka’s product-centric approach to Hardware and Software, with edge processing and the ability to make 4000 inferences/min providing customers with Speed, Accuracy, and Consistency is unparalleled in the industry. The organization’s customer-first approach makes it a true partner for customers in their quality journey. This is proven by the fact that in the short span of existence about 50% of revenue comes from repeat customers.

CIO AXIS: Tell us about your clientele base. Are they primarily SMEs or large manufacturing houses or both?
Sekar Udayamurthy: Jidoka’s first customers have been from the automotive industry and so obviously the organization has seen great traction from there. It continues to be the largest customer segment of Jidoka, followed by the FMCG industry. The organization has also made headway in Pharma, and General manufacturing over the last year. Its customers include both large manufacturing companies and SMEs. In the auto sector, Jidoka is working with Mudhra Fine Blanc Private Ltd (Latch and Pawl – DoorAssembly), Nexteer Automotive (Driveline Component), IP Rings (Piston Rings, Bevel Gears) and ZF Rane (Clutch Coverassembly), Sundaram Clayton(Wet Leak),Accurate Products(Sliding Pins), and Sanera Engineering(Connecting Rods).

Some of Jidoka’s FMCG and Pharma customers are, Mondlez (Cadburys), ITC, Hatsun (Milk),Star Packaging, and Shirji Polymer. In the warehouse and logistics space, they are co-innovating with Mahindra Logistics to create a unique solution for that industry.

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