Designing, Developing, & Delivering Cutting-edge Technologies to Augment Quality Control & Manufacturing Operations
Change and therefore, advancement is the law of nature. The obsolete processes drive little innovation in this constantly changing era. Hence, businesses are reinventing their products and services to deliver effective results. As the technology is progressing apace, innovation and reinvention have become the foundation for several new-age organizations.
LM3 Technologies was established to stand apart from the competition due to the fact it engineers and manufactures the hardware: main controls, device under test controls, special test mechanisms, and test connectors as well as software to provide turnkey systems at affordable price.
The company has been in the automotive niche for over two decades and hence, it is perfectly poised to undertake the most challenging environments and changing customer demands. It can provide long term support for predictive or preventive maintenance and calibration services as it completely understands the importance of engineering systems.
LM3 Technologies began as a service company. It started to test equipment that was originally manufactured by LMS-Walt. Later, as Mr. Michael Walt – Founder & Managing Director, redesigned the product line, LM3 Technologies started selling the products to the automotive industry that included a giant – Tesla. Soon afterward, LM3 moved from being just a testing equipment company in 2016 in the light of its revolutionary product PAQi vision system.
“The PAQi was originally designed to do traditional machine vision inspection but after struggling with the configuration time involved with setting up complex vision inspections, I experimented with the use of AI to solve the problem instead. Upon seeing the potential in 2018, my team spent the following year building our own AI training pipeline and advancing our PAQi vision system to serve the models on a small stand-alone processor,” asserts Mr. Walt.
All the new inventions cost a fortune and it takes years for the inventions to become affordable. Therefore, the prime goal of Mr. Walt was to enable his customers to utilize new technology. That is the strategy of the company to design and develop products and services that are affordable which allows the industry to improve quality control and manufacturing operations.
“In my experience, new technologies have been priced out of reach for all, but the very large manufacturers and it is my goal to provide the technology to all who can make use of it for improvement. I also believe in incremental improvement and the value of rapid prototyping. Finally, I am a true believer in open source development as a means to introduce advanced technologies to solve common problems,” states Mr. Walt.
Mr. Walt encourages employees to learn new ways to solve complex problems and hence, drive innovation in his company. He believes that there are no limits to what can be learned with time and with due diligence, products can be built to last as he has witnesses the testing machines he and his company designed and manufactured in the late 1990s still running in production to this day.
“I was taught the value of hard work and teamwork at a young age and excelled in school, athletics, and various types of youth employment. I graduated from UCLA with a B.S. in Applied Mathematics in 1994 and soon after formed an engineering company, LMS-Walt, Inc., designing and manufacturing automation equipment for the automotive industry.
“Always willing to learn new things, I am a self-taught CAD designer, electrical designer, and PLC programmer allowing my company to grow from a 2-man operation in borrowed space to a 50-employee company with annual revenue of over $6 million occupying a 30,000 sq. ft, a manufacturing facility in less than 10 years,” states Mr. Walt
As a mathematician who from the start was particularly interested in linear algebra as a mean to improve manufacturing processes using predictive analytics, I am satisfied to see that the underlying technology required to using deep learning has advanced enough for stand alone use. Graduating in 1994 with that knowledge but a lack of processing power to use it on a grand scale, I am glad to be a part of this new phase of industrialization because I understand and know how to apply the science at its core and how it will transform the way manufacturing is done.
With virtues such as hard work, perseverance, and attention to detail, Mr. Walt is driving unparalleled success.
LM3 has four major product lines/solutions revolving around quality control:
- End of Line Production Testing – hardware and software solution for 100% production testing
- mDAQ – mobile data acquisition which allows manufacturers to use mobile devices to collect and verify production data before allowing a production line to start production. This solution improves manufacturing by providing a means for control, traceability, and accountability.
- PAQi – photo acquisition and inspection system that allows manufacturers to use vision-based AI to do product inspection. PAQi is one of a kind AI-based vision inspection system capable of doing object detection and classification on an affordable hardware package. Due to the affordability, PAQi lowers the barriers of using AI for manufacturing which was once cost-prohibitive.
- OEE – overall equipment efficiency
LM3 provides general engineering services and custom software development and every so often builds complete production testing equipment. I am also a half owner in QC Hero which is a startup being developed by a former employee, Edmund Rosewright, to provide an online training system for vision-based AI for manufacturing inspection.
LM3 and QC Hero will be evolved for use in other types of AI for manufacturing including inventory control, robotics, pick and place, and 3D modeling.