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23rd World Gas Conference, Amsterdam 2006

WELDING DEFECT PATTERN RECOGNITION IN RADIOGRAPHIC


IMAGES OF GAS PIPELINES USING ADAPTIVE FEATURE
EXTRACTION METHOD AND NEURAL NETWORK CLASSIFIER

Main author
1

S. MANSOURI ALGHALANDIS *

Co-author
2

GH. NOZAD ALAMDARI

* First Corresponding (Presenting) Author, Email: smansouria @ yahoo.com


1- Senior Gas Transmission Expert , National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC), R&D
Dept. , Dist-8 of Gas Transmission Operation, Tabriz 51745 - 367, Iran.

2- Weld Interpreting Expert , National Iranian Gas Company(NIGC), Mechanical


Dept. , Dist-8 of Gas Transmission Operation, Tabriz 51745 - 367, Iran.

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1. ABSTRACT:

In this paper a new method for automatic recognition and separation between defected
radiographic images of welds and correct ones is introduced. The method applies local image
information together with adaptive feature extraction parameters and neural network classifier. In
practical weld inspection of gas pipelines, more than sixty percent of radiographic images are not
faulty, but need to be separated in visual check by a certified expert. This is a time consuming
process for interpreter and reduces the eye sensitivity and reliability of inspection especially for
defected parts of radiographic image. The introduced pattern classifier is designed to solve this
problem. In first step, preprocessing is done through image enhancement and noise reduction
techniques proper for poor quality and low contrast radiographic images. Preprocessing step is
applied through median filtering and adaptive histogram equalization, together with preserving
grayscale image information. In next step weld is extracted from background image and adaptive
thresholding is applied using local binarization operators with maintaining critical image information.
Then welded area is zoned based on the importance of the image information and features are
extracted for different zoning patterns. A variety of topological features and also grayscale information
related to each zone are used. Some film defects mistaken instead of weld defects are also detected
in this stage. By using film defect information in classification stage, the recognition efficiency can be
increased. The extracted features are fed into an artificial neural network classifier. A new structure of
neural network classifier in combination with binary logic is introduced for classification stage. The
reliability and accuracy of this new hybrid neuro-logic structure is compared with conventional neural
networks according to adjusted local thresholding and adaptive zoning parameters. The problem of
choosing appropriate features are also discussed and evaluated. The results show the recognition
performance and flexibility of this new hybrid neuro-logic classifier in comparison with conventional
neural networks structure.

Key words:
Radiographic pattern recognition
Welding defect detection
Adaptive feature extraction
Neural network classifier

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TABLE OF CONTENTS
1. Abstract

2. Introduction

3. Digitizing

4. Image enhancement and processing


4.1. Median filtering
4.2. Contrast enhancement
4.3. Wiener filtering

5. Image segmentation
5.1. Weld extraction
5.2. Local binarization

6. Feature extraction
6.1. Film defect feature
6.2. Unavailability of defected area
6.3. Average size of defects
6.4. Average distance of defects from center line
6.5. Number of defects
6.6. Zoning

7. Classification
7.1. Multi layer perceptron neural network architecture
7.2. New hybrid neuro-logic architecture

8. Results
8.1. Data
8.2. Recognition performance
8.3. Discussion

9. Conclusion

10. References

11. List of Tables

12. List of Figures

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2. INTRODUCTION
Radiography is one of the old and still effective NDT tools. The most important application of this
method in gas industries is the inspection of the welds for transmission pipelines. Even with the
invention of online digital radiography using sensitive fluorescent plates, offline analog radiography
using films still has its own benefits and applications. Rapid development of gas distribution network
reveals the necessity for a reliable and automatic weld inspection system. Checking poor quality and
low contrast films of welds is a time consuming process for a certified expert and reduces his/her eye
sensitivity and inspection accuracy especially for defected parts of radiographic images.
The most of the papers published about automatic weld flaw recognition systems, all deal with
identifying the type of the weld defects. This article deals with the separating the correct part of
welding from its defected part in radiographic films. Since, more than sixty percent of radiographic
images in gas pipelines are not faulty but need to be separated in visual check, our designed system
can act as an effective tool to reduce the mass work of film checking process and put the
concentration of the inspector on defected parts of the films. In the articles, there is no report about
identification of film defects, which reduce the efficiency of weld flaw recognition system in
classification stage. In this study a method is introduced for separation of film defects which can be
mistaken instead of weld flaws, too. Extraction of welds from background image can be done
automatically by computer or manually by user selection. There are various reported methodologies
for automatic weld extraction based on the assumption that the intensity of the pixels in the weld area
distribute more as Gaussian distribution than other areas in the image. An automatic weld extraction
method is used in this study. Next step is image segmentation and feature extraction. In this article
local thresholding is used for adaptive segmentation of welded area. Then some topological features
are extracted from segmented area and fed into an MLP neural network classifier with back
propagation algorithm.
In this paper, an automatic weld defect separation system is designed and tested. At first, film
digitizing is described. Then preprocessing and image enhancement is applied. Next stage local
segmentation and feature extraction is studied. The extracted features together with film defect
information are applied to an MLP neural network classifier. Finally a comparison between different
sets of input parameters to pattern classifier is done and the results are discussed.

3. DIGITIZING
Film digitizer as an entrance gate for image data input, is a critical part of the weld recognition system.
Selecting optimized resolution of scanning and acceptable quality of digitizing plays an important role
in whole system performance. Gamma-ray film strips were digitized using scanning device under
controlled illumination with approximate film dimensions of 70 mm by 300 mm. A commercial scanner
with light intensity of 20,000 cd./sq.m ( candle per square meter) was used. Different resolutions from
300 to 2000 dpi ( dot per inch) with gray scale ranges from 8 bit to 16 bit were tested to find an optimal
selection. It is known that the human being is not able to differ in gray scale over 128 levels(7 bits) [1]
and images of 16 bit depth in gray scale level occupy significant memory space and take long time to
be processed. In figure 1, some scanned sample images with different resolution from 300 to 2000 dpi
are shown. In this study for compromising between image quality and processing speed, images with
resolution of 600 dpi and gray scale of 256 levels were selected.

(1.a)300 dpi. (1.b) 600 dpi. (1.c) 1600 dpi. (1.d) 2000 dpi.

Fig.1. Digitized images with different resolution and 8 bits of gray level. (a)300 dpi. (b) 600 dpi. (c)
1600 dpi. (d) 2000 dpi.

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4. IMAGE ENHANCEMENT AND PROCESSING
Preprocessing and image enhancement is done to remove system noise and also photographic film
noise in three steps including median filtering, contrast enhancement and wiener filtering.

4.1. Median filtering

First of all, median filtering is applied through the image. For the mask shown in figure1, suppose that
MED(i,j) is the median of the values in 5Χ5 neighborhood pixels where ( i , j ) represents pixel
coordinates in the mask center of m13 . Filtered image is obtained by using the relation :

MED(i, j ) = Median(m1 , m2 , m3 , ... , m24 , m25 ) (1)

The gray level of each pixel is replaced by median of the gray levels in the neighborhood of that pixel.
This method is particularly effective for the noise patterns consisting strong, spike like components
and where the characteristic to be preserved is edge sharpness [ 2]. Original image of weld and its
5Χ5 median filtered is shown in figure 2.

(2.a) (2.b) (2.c)

Fig. 2. (a) 5Χ5 neighborhood pixels as a mask for median filtering in Eq.(1). (b) Original image (c) 5Χ5
median filtered image.

4.2. Contrast enhancement

Different techniques of histogram equalization to enhance contrast of radiographic images have been
reported in many researches [1],[3],[4],[5]. The enhancement technique of choice is the so called
histogram equalization (HE). For discrete values of gray levels, probabilities given by the relation:

nk
Pr ( rk ) = 0 ≤ rk ≤ 1 , k = 0, 1, … , L - 1 (2)
n
where rk represents the gray level of the pixels of the image to be enhanced, with rk = 0 representing
black and rk = 1 representing white in the gray scale, L is the number of levels, Pr ( rk ) is the
probability of the k th gray level, n k is the number of times this level appears in the image. A plot of
Pk (rk ) versus rk is usually called histogram and the technique used for obtaining a uniform histogram
is known as HE technique [2]. In this technique the cumulative histogram H of gray levels G is used
as the essential part of the function FHE (G ) that maps the original gray levels into the transformed
ones:

FHE (G ) = Gmin
H (G )
′ + ∆G ′ with ∆G ′ = G ′ max − G ′ min (3)
N

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in which G′max and G′min indicate the upper and lower limits of the transformed gray values,
respectively and N represents the number of pixels over which the histogram has been taken [6].
HE is a global approach based on gray level distribution over an entire image and is not suitable to
enhance details over small areas. The global histogram equalization is made adaptive by taking the
histogram over a local region instead of the whole image:

H AHE (G )
′ + ∆G ′
FAHE (G ) = Gmin (4)
N AHE
Adaptive histogram equalization (AHE) has been recognized as a valid method of contrast
enhancement in image processing. The main advantage of AHE is that it can provide better contrast in
local areas than that achievable utilizing traditional histogram equalization methods. Whereas
traditional methods process the entire image at once, AHE utilizes local contextual region. The effect
of AHE in contrast enhancement of this study is shown in figure 3.

(3.a) (3.c) (3.d)

(3.b) (3.e)

Fig.3. (a) Original image. (b) Histogram of original image. (c) Adaptive histogram equalization(AHE),
The contextual region shown is an m х m mask around a pixel at location (x,y). (d) Image after AHE
(e) Histogram of image after AHE.

4.3. Wiener filtering

Application of wiener (least-mean-square) filter in image restoration has been already reported as a
linear filter [2]. In this study wiener filter is applied to the image adaptively, tailoring itself to the local
Image variance. Where the variance is large, it performs little smoothing, where the variance is small it

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performs more smoothing. This approach is more selective than comparable linear filter, preserving
edges and other high-frequency parts of the image. It works best when noise is constant-power
additive noise, such as Gaussian noise. Since the intensities of the pixels in the weld area distribute
more as a Gaussian distribution than other areas in the image of weld [7], it was selected for filtering
radiographic images of welds.

5. IMAGE SEGMENTATION
The segmentation methodology includes the following steps:

5.1. Weld extraction

Before doing any further local processing on the radiographic image, it is preferred to extract weld
region by separating between welded area and its background image. For this reason, proposed
methodology by Liao et al. [8], is applied in this research.

5.2. Local binarization

Binarization of scanned gray scale images is an important step in most image analysis systems. For
poor quality images such as radiographic films, global thresholding doesn’t have good performance for
areas with variable background intensity, low contrast and stochastic noise. Therefor it is essential to
find binarization methods which will correctly label all the information present. Different local
binarization methods are reported by many researchers[9]. Niblack’s method is known to give the best
performance for the context of digit recognition [10]. In this study, Niblack’s method is used by tuning
its parameters for radiographic images of welds. The idea of this method is to vary the threshold over
the image, based on the local mean and local standard deviation. The threshold at pixel ( x, y) is
calculated as
T ( x, y ) = m ( x, y ) + k . s ( x, y ) (5)
Where m( x, y) and s( x, y) are the sample mean and standard deviation values, respectively, in a
local neighborhood of ( x, y). The size of the neighborhood should be small enough to preserve local
details, but at the same time, large enough to suppress noise. The value of k is used to adjust how
much of the total image object boundary is taken as a part of the given object. In this research 15х15
neighborhood and k= - 0.2 gave well separated defect objects in the weld area.

6. FEATURE EXTRACTION

In this article features describing number, size, location and availability of defected area is used to
make distinction between true and faulty areas in the weld region.

6.1. Film defect feature

During the development process of the film, sometimes weld area in the image is damaged by nail
effect of the operator. This film defect is very similar to flaw patterns and may be mistaken instead of
weld defect. As shown in figure 4 , the gray level of film defect is higher than gray level of real weld
defect. So, in this feature the gray level of defected area is detected and if it is more than a defined
threshold, the feature equals one. Otherwise the feature equals zero.

(4.a) (4.b)

Fig.4. (a) Image with film defect(nail effect). (b) Image with weld defect,

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6.2. Unavailability of defected area

If there is no separated area known as defect , this feature equals to one, otherwise it equals to zero.

6.3. Average size of defects:

Average size of defects( ∑A i n ): the ratio between sum of defected areas ( ∑ Ai ) to the number
of defects( n )

6.4. Average distance of defects from center line:

Average distance of defects from center line ( ∑ d n ) : the ratio between sum of the distances of
i

each defect from the center of the weld bead ( ∑ d ) to the number of defects( n ).
i

6.5. Number of defects:

Number of defects ( n ): number of separated areas in the weld bead known as defected area.

6.6. Zoning:

Zoning is an important method for deriving low resolution structural features [13],[14]. In this study,
zoning is adopted with the structure of the welded area. Welded region is extracted to a rectangular
frame array. In normal zones height(H) and width(W) are selected to be the same, where W is always
equal to the weld width. In proposed zoned block, height of the welded area is selected to be one third
of W. Features mentioned in subsections 6.1 to 6.5 are extracted for these two types of zoned blocks.
The first set is for normal zone(H=W) and the second one is for proposed zone(H=W/3).

7. CLASSIFICATION

The task of pattern classification is to assign an input pattern represented by a feature vector, to one
of the output specified classes. In complex systems with nonlinear relations between inputs and
outputs, conventional approaches proposed for solving the problem of nonlinear pattern classification
can be found in certain well-constrained environments, non is flexible to perform well outside its
domain. Artificial neural networks (ANNs ) classifier can provide flexible alternatives and many
applications could benefit from using them. ANNs are composed simple elements operating in parallel.
These massively parallel systems with large number of interconnections may solve a variety of
challenging classification problems. One of the more update lines of research is the classification of
weld defects using ANNs and also there are many reports on this subject [1],[4],[11]. In this section
two types of neural networks structure to construct the relationship between system inputs and outputs
will be explained. The first ANNs is a feed forward multi layer perceptron with back-propagation
learning algorithm. The second one is a new hybrid neuro-logic classifier structure proposed in this
research.

7.1. Multi layer perceptron neural network architecture

Multi layer perceptron (MLP) is the most common type of feed-forward ANNs. The ability of learning is
a fundamental property in neural network architecture. During learning process connections of the
weights are updated. Error-correction learning rule and back-propagation learning algorithm is used
for updating purpose of this MLP structure. Proposed MLP is composed of many interconnected
neurons that often called input, output and hidden layers as shown in figure 5.
The neurons of input layer are used to receive input vector X and neurons of output layer are used to
produce the corresponding output vector Y. Pattern classifier in this section is made up of three layers,
with five neurons in input layer, and two neurons in output layer. The activation function f is commonly
chosen to be sigmoid in order to resemble the two state output of biological neurons which originally
inspired the networks. Output vector is defined equal to ( Y1 =1, Y2 =0) for no defect status and equal to

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( Y1 =0,Y2 =1) for defected status. Neurons in the hidden layers, sum up values from input nodes after
weighting them with appropriate weights W ji and compute the output Yo as a function of summation.
In training process, the actual output vector Yo generated by network may not equal to the desired
output vector Yd . The back-propagation (BP) algorithm is the most commonly adopted MLP training
algorithm and it is the most widely applied neural network architecture. BP computation algorithm is as
follows [12]

(5.a) (5.b)

Fig.5. (a) Configuration of artificial neural networks(ANNs) with one input, one hidden and output
layers using back-propagation learning algorithm. (b) Trained MLP neural network structure with three
layers and five input neurons.

1. Initialize the weights( W ji ) to small random values.


(µ )
2. Randomly choose an input pattern X
3. Propagate the signal forward through the network.
4. Compute δ il in the output layer( Oi = Yoil )
δ il = f ′(hil )[Ydiµ − Yoil ]
where hil represents the net input to the i th unit in the l th layer, and f ′ is the derivative of the
activation function f .
5. Compute the deltas for the preceding layers by propagating the errors backwards:
δ il = f ′(hil )∑ Wijl +1 δ lj +1 for l = ( L − 1),L,1.
6. Update weights using
∆W jil = η δ il Y jl −1
7. Go to step 2 and repeat for the next pattern until the error in the output layer is below a specified
threshold or a maximum number of iterations is reached. Therefore the BP algorithm starts with the
output layer and iteratively computes the δ values for the neurons in all layers. It is common to add a
momentum factor into a BP algorithm to increase its learning speed. The momentum factor
determines how much the previous weights change influences the new weight change. The new
equation for ∆W ji is shown as follows

∆W jil +1 = η δ j X i + η ∆W jil
where η is the ‘momentum’ coefficient with value 0 ≤ µ ≤ 1 . The results are presented in section 8.

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7.2. New hybrid neuro-logic architecture

In section 7.1 all five extracted features are fed directly into an ANNs with BP learning architecture
(Fig.5a) then trained network is tested and evaluated. In this section a new hybrid neuro-logic
structure is proposed. It is a combination of neural networks and binary logic structures. Only three
features in subsections 6.3 , 6.4 and 6.5 is fed into three input neurons with BP learning algorithm.
Other two features in subsections 6.1 and 6.2 having binary values are directly fed into a logical
structure.

(6.a)

(6.b)

Fig.6. (a) Trained MLP neural network structure using back-propagation learning algorithm with three
layers and three input neurons. (b) Proposed hybrid neuro-logic structure.

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Training is done according to the structure shown in figure (6.a) but neuro-logic structure of figure (6-
b) combined of neural networks and logical gates is used for testing and classification. Blocks named
AND, OR and NOT are common logical gates. Blocks called T are binarizer. If the input to this block is
more than a predefined threshold, the output is one, otherwise the output is zero. Selected threshold
is 0.5 for these blocks. If one of the features 6.1 or 6.2 becomes active, means there is no defect,
regardless of the results in the ANNs classifier, the output will be defect free (ie. Y1 =0, Y2 =1)
otherwise the results of the neural network classifier will be dominant.

8. RESULTS

8.1. Data

Data bank was selected from images of γ -ray radiography of welds in 16′′ gas pipelines. Digitizing
method was described in section 3. Ninety images of welds were selected from the data bank and
used to train MLP neural network structure. Two third of the selected data were defect free and the
remaining one third were defected. Error tolerance for training data was set at the value of 0.01 with
the default learning rate of 0.05. By varying the number of neurons in the hidden layer and following
the training errors, the best performance was reached at forty neurons in the intermediate layer which
is optimum number of neurons for the data used.

Table1. Recognition results of two types of classifier for two sets of features including normal
zone(H=W) and proposed zone(H=W/3). No film defect data used for training.
Correct
Data with no film defects Rejection (%) Error (%)
Recognition (%)
BP structure
Features from 85 13.4 1.6
(Fig.5)
normal zone
(H=W) Neuro-logic
88.3 10 1.7
structure (Fig.6)
BP structure
Features from 90 10 0
(Fig.5)
proposed zone
(H=W/3) Neuro-logic
93.3 6.7 0
structure (Fig.6)

Table2. Recognition results of two types of classifier for two sets of features including normal
zone(H=W) and proposed zone(H=W/3). Film defect data used for training.
Correct
Data including film defects Rejection (%) Error (%)
Recognition (%)
BP structure
Features from 70 28.3 1.7
(Fig.5)
normal zone
(H=W) Neuro-logic
85 11.7 2.3
structure (Fig.6)
BP structure
Features from 73.3 25 1.7
(Fig.5)
proposed zone
(H=W/3) Neuro-logic
88.3 10 1.7
structure (Fig.6)

8.2. Recognition Performance

Recognition performance is shown in two tables. Both of the tables have the results of two types of
classifier for two sets of features. The first classifier is ANNs with BP structure and the second one is
the new hybrid neuro-logic structure proposed in this paper. One of the feature sets is extracted from

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the normal zones(H=W) and the other one is obtained from proposed zone(H=W/3). Proposed
neuro-logic structure has less input neurons and takes shorter time for training in comparison with BP
structure with five input neurons. It has also better recognition performance according to the results
shown in tables 1 and 2.
Comparing the results from the zoning point of view indicates that in similar classifiers, weld
separation efficiency increases for the features extracted from the proposed zone(H=W/3).
Table 1 shows data with no film defect information used for training. In table 2 , seven film defect data
are replaced in train set for training the classifiers. It is observed that directly using the film defect
information in training data, reduces recognition efficiency.

8.3. Discussion

Test results indicates that proposed neuro-logic structure gives better recognition performance and
also speeds up the training process by separation between binary(two level) and numeric features,
then training only numeric features and combining the whole results together by a logical structure.
Although direct training of neural network structure with film defect information, reduces recognition
efficiency and creates more confusion in weld separation stage, but this new neuro-logic structure
have the ability to reject film defects by its logical structure with no need for film defect training.
Also more meaningful results can be obtained from features extracted from proposed zone(H=W/3).
Overall recognition rate and reliability can be increased by developing data samples and using a big
training set.

9. CONCLUSION
This paper has described a method for automatic recognition and separation between defected
radiographic images of welds and correct ones. A new structure of neural network classifier in
combination with binary logic is introduced. Experimental results show that this new hybrid neuro-logic
structure gives better recognition performance, especially when ANNs are confused by film defect
information during training stage. Neuro-logic structure has the ability to reject film defects by its
logical part with no need for training the film defects. It is important because direct training of the film
defect information to neural networks, reduces the recognition efficiency. For better recognition
performance adaptive preprocessing and local binarization techniques are used for image
enhancement and segmentation then features are extracted from proposed zoned blocks.

10. REFERENCES
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3. Wanga, X. and Wong, B.S. (2004). Image Enhancement for Radiography Inspection. The
Third international Conferenceon Experimental Mechanics, SPIE Proceedings, 5852.
4. Wang, G. and Liao, T.W.(2002). Automatic Identification of Different Types of Welding Defects
in Radiographic Images. NDT & E International,35:519-528.
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Welding Defects in Pipeline Radiographs Using Computer Vision. NDT & E International,37:291-299.
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Hall, 90-94.
7. Wang, G. and Liao, T.W. (2002). Automatic Identification of Different Types of Welding
Defects in Radiographic Images. NDT & E International, 35:519-528.
8. Liao, T.W. and Ni,J. (1999). An Automated Radiographic NDT System for Weld Inspection:
Part I- Weld Extraction. NDT & E International, 29:157-162.
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IEEE Transactions on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence,17:312-315.
10. Trier, Ф.D. and Jain, A.K. (1995). Goal Directed Evaluation of Binarization Methods. IEEE
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12. Jain, A.K., and Mao, J. (1996) Artificial Neural Networks : A Tutorial. IEEE Computer
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11. LIST OF TABLES

Table1. Recognition results of two types of classifier for two sets of features including normal
zone(H=W) and proposed zone(H=W/3). No film defect data used for training.

Table2. Recognition results of two types of classifier for two sets of features including normal
zone(H=W) and proposed zone(H=W/3). Film defect data used for training.

12. LIST OF FIGURES

Fig.1. Digitized images with different resolution and 8 bits of gray level. (a)300 dpi. (b) 600 dpi. (c)
1600 dpi. (d) 2000 dpi.
Fig.2. (a) 5Χ5 neighborhood pixels as a mask for median filtering in Eq.(1). (b) Original image (c) 5Χ5
median filtered image.
Fig.3. (a) Original image. (b) Histogram of original image. (c) Adaptive histogram equalization(AHE),
The contextual region shown is an m х m mask around a pixel at location (x,y). (d) Image after AHE
(e) Histogram of image after AHE.
Fig.4. (a) Image with film defect(nail effect). (b) Image with weld defect,
Fig.5. (a) Configuration of artificial neural networks (ANNs) with one input, one hidden and output
layers using back-propagation learning algorithm. (b) Trained MLP neural network structure with three
layers and five input neurons.
Fig.6. (a) Trained MLP neural network structure using back-propagation learning algorithm with three
layers and three input neurons. (b) Proposed hybrid neuro-logic structure.

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