Automated surface defect inspection based on autoencoders and fully convolutional neural networks

Cheng Wei Lei, Li Zhang, Tsung Ming Tai, Chen Chieh Tsai, Wen Jyi Hwang*, Yun Jie Jhang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This study aims to develop a novel automated computer vision algorithm for quality inspection of surfaces with complex patterns. The proposed algorithm is based on both an autoencoder (AE) and a fully convolutional neural network (FCN). The AE is adopted for the self-generation of templates from test targets for defect detection. Because the templates are produced from the test targets, the position alignment issues for the matching operations between templates and test targets can be alleviated. The FCN is employed for the segmentation of a template into a number of coherent regions. Because the AE has the limitation that its capacities for the regeneration of each coherent region in the template may be different, the segmentation of the template by FCN is beneficial for allowing the inspection of each region to be independently carried out. In this way, more accurate detection results can be achieved. Experimental results reveal that the proposed algorithm has the advantages of simplicity for training data collection, high accuracy for defect detection, and high flexibility for online inspection. The proposed algorithm is therefore an effective alternative for the automated inspection in smart factories with a growing demand for the reliability for high quality production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number7838
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 2021 Sept


  • Artificial intelligence
  • Autoencoder
  • Convolutional neural networks
  • Defect detection
  • Surface inspection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Instrumentation
  • General Engineering
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Fluid Flow and Transfer Processes


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