I'd be interested to hear about what, if any, development work is required on the software side to create programs which can analyze the 3D data coming out of the camera, so as to identify defects as they pass under the camera, as well as the quantitative experience of 3D versus 2D. As you allude to, probably the biggest positive impact is that 3D cuts down the inspection time needed to verify that complex assemblies are defect free.
Seems like a logical move to deply 3D cameras on factory floor inspections. Another new tool gaining mileage for monitoring quality on the factory floor is the iPad. I've heard about companies outfitting production floor workers with the tablet so they can roam the factory floor and inspect for problems, using the built-in camera and location tracking capabilities to pinpoint trouble spots and send real-time images of faulty equipment back for evaluation and troubleshooting.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.