In the first six months of Exponential Industry we’ve covered a wide array of manufacturing technologies across a number of verticals. Part of the motivation for creating this newsletter was creating a living document of the bleeding edge of industrial technology deployment and easily compare and benchmark progress across verticals, functional purposes, and technology areas. Today, every article posted so far has been indexed by their most applicable vertical and is now possible to click-through and explore.
The top verticals we’ve discussed so far include:
- Machinery (17) - Similarly, the machinery vertical mostly consists of 3D printing, additive manufacturing machines, and next generation robotics which are cornerstones of Industry 4.0 factory automation.
- Automotive (6) - The first actual manufacturing vertical faces extreme competition, which accelerates the need to innovate to drive down costs and improve margin.
- Pharmaceutical (5) - Given the COVID-19 pandemic, manufacturing innovation has been forced onto the pharmaceutical industry to mass produce and distribute a novel vaccine.
- Agriculture (5) and Food (4) - COVID-19 adversely affected the food and agriculture industries due to a variety of manufacturing challenges. As a consequence, the industry has leveraged Industry 4.0 technologies to improve yield, efficiency, and safety of workers.
- Computer and Electronic (5) and Semiconductor (4) - The need for semiconductors and electronic components surged due to people being isolated at home and working remotely. Add in the wrinkles of geographically dispersed semiconductor value-chain and the push for AI within the data center and the edge, there is insatiable demand to produce chips with unique specifications and at greater yield.
Getting specific – how discrete manufacturers can build greater resilience
We’ll see how Mixed Reality (MR) makes it easier for shopfloor operators to work on complex, customized products – without the lengthy, face-to-face training plus the travel this often involves. This also enables discrete manufacturers to respond to flexible product configurations with instant updating of product documentation across entire engineering and supply chains.
We’ll also look at how cloud-based Manufacturing Execution Systems (MES) and Asset Management systems connects multiple facilities and customers vendors and all stakeholders in an ecosystem.
Cloud-based app for micro-breweries
When the yeast consumes the sugar to produce alcohol: That’s when the flavour is developed. It’s when beer becomes beer. Australian craft brewers are passionate about brewing, not industrial operational technology, yet Leonie Wong and Rex Chen from the MindSphere team still managed to make the data work for them; they want to always land the perfect brew and waste not a single drop.
In this market, Deacam, an Australian original equipment manufacturer (OEM), which provides automated brewing equipment and solutions to microbreweries, was looking to differentiate itself. Leonie Wong, responsible for Vertical Sales for Food & Beverage for Siemens Australia, and Solution Architect Rex Chen met with Deacam and their customers, the microbreweries themselves.
Tilling AI: Startup Digs into Autonomous Electric Tractors for Organics
Ztractor offers tractors that can be configured to work on 135 different types of crops. They rely on the NVIDIA Jetson edge AI platform for computer vision tasks to help farms improve plant conditions, increase crop yields and achieve higher efficiency.
From Logs to Logging On: Paper Machines Built With Digital Manufacturing
ANDRITZ, an Austrian company that manufactures machinery for pulp and paper mills, is using digital manufacturing and artificial-intelligence (AI) processes to save millions of dollars. Skilled workers and engineers on ANDRITZ production lines are now able to take advantage of data-driven support as standard. 3D modeling and digital twins also give ANDRITZ a competitive advantage by guiding operators safely through maintenance and repairs and ensuring transparent access to data.
Vaccine production: Marburg has the right stuff
BioNTech manufactures BNT162b2 in collaboration with US pharmaceutical specialist Pfizer. The company has started manufacturing at the production site in Marburg, in the German state of Hesse. The plant there comes with an ultramodern production facility for recombinant proteins. The relevant expertise is also available, since BioNTech also acquired a highly qualified employee base along with the production facility, all of whom are experienced in developing new technologies.
The facility in Marburg had been producing influenza vaccines based on flu cell culture, then changed over to recombinant proteins for cancer treatments and now manufactures mRNA vaccine.
All the improvements at the Marburg plant are Industry 4.0-compatible. One of the challenges with the conversion was the fact that it involved switching from rigid to mobile production with many single-use components. At the same time, working with mRNA meant a higher clean room class than was previously required in the facility. Paper is now an avoidable “contamination factor” that doesn’t arise with digital production. That was the basis for opting for the Opcenter Execution Pharma solution from Siemens as the new MES. This solution enables complete paperless manufacturing and fully electronic batch recording.
Digital Twins at Olympic Scale
Not unlike its steel competitors, the Xuanhua facility, a subsidiary of China’s second-biggest steelmaker, HBIS Group Co., is gunning to reorganize on the basis of new demands for competition and efficiency. Relocating the 89-year-old factory to the Leting Economic Development Zone in Tangshan City in China’s Hebei province includes plans to develop a digital model for the factory.
How 3D Printing Impacts The Maritime Industry
3D printing has penetrated a range of sectors and industries to a point where it is being adopted by mainstream organizations in their manufacturing processes. However, one sector that has been left behind in this adoption is the maritime industry.
There are a stream of applications for 3D printing in the maritime industry, such as product innovation and customization, spare part manufacturing, on-demand manufacturing, and much more.
3D Printing Technologies in Aerospace and Defense Industries
Currently, AI is an integral part of the design process for AM in aerospace. In designing parts for aircraft, achieving the optimal weight-to-strength ratio is a primary objective, since reducing weight is an important factor in air-frame structures design. Today’s PLM solutions offer function-driven generative design using AI-based algorithms to capture the functional specifications and generate and validate conceptual shapes best suited for AM fabrication. Using this generative functional design method produces the optimal lightweight design within the functional specifications.
What is an Additive Manufacturing Execution System?
Additive manufacturing (AM) is the industrial production name for 3D printing. Using computer aided design (CAD) or 3D object scanners, additive manufacturing allows for the creation of three-dimensional objects by depositing materials, usually in layers. As production continues to grow and additive manufacturing industrializes, manufacturers require effective strategies to help them manage their additive manufacturing workflows.
MacroFab: Driving The Cloud-Based Transformation Of Electronics Manufacturing
The company brings cloud-based, manufacturing-as-a-service (MaaS) solutions to the electronics industry. On its platform, companies can upload component designs, obtain quotes, place orders and follow the progress towards delivery. Companies can price and order a wide range of parts and products, from printed circuit boards (PCB) to fully assembled and packaged electronics products.