Manufacturers Enter the Industrial Metaverse

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The industrial metaverse remains hot. Companies from Nike to Boeing and LG make preparations to step inside. Nike acquired a company that makes NFTs, Boeing wants design its next plane there, and LG sets up for the OLED panel rush.

As a discussed a month ago in “A Sketch of the Industrial Metaverse” companies with strong brands such as Nike, would launch NFTs of their goods in virtual worlds. Nike’s acquisition of RTFKT sets them on a path to be one of the first companies to operate within the metaverse. First, they will need to figure out how to add legs to the virtual avatars that roam the digital worlds. From there, Nike can use the metaverse to test out new designs and identify trends before they hit the streets of Los Angeles. The trend data will be accessible on the blockchain and can inform demand plans to better predict and match emerging fashion. Ultimately, embracing the metaverse for Nike is all about remaining on the forefront of fashion. To be successful they must continue their culture of community building that kickstarts the flywheel of successful products.

Boeing, on the other hand, decides to go all in on digital design tools to overcome issues that have been recently plaguing them. Boeing seeks a digital transformation “to simulate and function-test processes and systems in scale, radically reducing design problems further down the line.” The composability of the metaverse could enable Boeing to re-use simulations and digital designs of components to make this happen faster. They will need to focus on composability as building aircraft requires tight coordination down the supply chain. If their suppliers are not on board it will be tough to transform as a few missing components could dramatically limit the ability to simulate the final system. Overall, Boeing’s announcement is largely about building digital twins under a sexier name, which could help inspire and recruit the next generation of engineers.

Finally, although the metaverse is a digital world, hardware is needed to make cyberspace immersive and real. Some believe a VR headset with 8K resolution may be all that is needed. If so, LG Display appears to be well positioned to design and manufacture the displays needed to get there. As the industrial metaverse continues to evolve, there are many predictions for 2022.

Assembly Line

Boeing wants to build its next airplane in the metaverse

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Authors: Eric M Johnson, Tim Hepher

Topics: metaverse, digital twin

Organizations: Boeing

In Boeing Co’s factory of the future, immersive 3-D engineering designs will be twinned with robots that speak to each other, while mechanics around the world will be linked by $3,500 HoloLens headsets made by Microsoft.

Boeing’s holy grail for its next new aircraft is to build and link virtual three-dimensional “digital twin” replicas of the jet and the production system able to run simulations. The digital mockups are backed by a “digital thread” that stitches together every piece of information about the aircraft from its infancy - from airline requirements, to millions of parts, to thousands of pages of certification documents - extending deep into the supply chain. Overhauling antiquated paper-based practices could bring powerful change. More than 70% of quality issues at Boeing trace back to some kind of design issue, Hyslop said. Boeing believes such tools will be central to bringing a new aircraft from inception to market in as little as four or five years.

Read more at Reuters

Hyundai Motor to set up metaverse factory with Unity

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Author: Jung-dong Roh

Topics: metaverse, digital twin

Organizations: Hyundai, Unity

Hyundai Motor Co., South Korea’s top automaker, is set to establish a digital virtual factory in a metaverse space with Unity, a US-based real-time 3D content platform, in order to become a smart mobility solutions provider through upgrades of plant operations and production innovations. The partnership is expected to realize Hyundai’s vision of becoming the first mobility innovator to build a Meta-Factory concept, a digital twin of an actual plant, supported by a metaverse platform.

The automaker plans to first apply the concept to Hyundai Mobility Global Innovation Center in Singapore (HMGICS), supporting Hyundai Motor Group’s initiative to create an open innovation hub for research and development. The group earlier planned to adopt digital twin technology to HMGICS’ design sector.

Read more at The Korea Economic Daily

These autonomous factories on satellites will produce materials in space that can’t be made on Earth

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Topics: materials science, autonomous factory

Organizations: Space Forge

Bacon and cofounder-CEO Joshua Western want to take advantage of the unique conditions in space—the very low gravity and the fact that it’s an almost perfect vacuum—to make materials that can’t be made on Earth. Some new materials have already been produced on the International Space Station. A new type of fiber-optic cable, for example, is cloudy when it’s made on Earth because of gravity and impurities in the air, but crystal clear when made in space.

In space, it’s possible to manufacture new alloys that can be used to make bigger, stronger, turbines on aircraft, so planes use less fuel. On electric planes, new materials can make the electronic connections between batteries and the propeller motor more efficient, so the planes need less cooling equipment and can carry more passengers. Space factories are also well-suited to make better batteries for electric planes or cars. Wind turbines, for example, are more efficient the larger they are, but have to be made in pieces so they can be transported to a site for installation, and then held together with bolts. By making bolts that are stronger than what can be manufactured on Earth, it’s possible to develop a larger, more efficient wind turbine that can create more energy.

Read more at Fast Company

Stellantis Goes All-In With its Software Strategy

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Author: Egil Juliussen

Topics: digital transformation

Vertical: Automotive

Organizations: Stellantis

A transformative strategy is needed to manage software requirements for 14 distinct brands, perhaps the largest number of diverse brands of any auto OEM—across price range and vehicle segments ranging from consumer to commercial vehicles. This software complexity provides major cost savings and revenue opportunities after the software platform transformation is completed. The risk is significant development cost over the next four to five years.

Stellantis estimates that 80 percent of software platforms can be shared among brands, with 20 percent requiring brand-specific software—mostly related to user interfaces. Stellantis is clearly aiming to own a significant portion of its software value chain for all of its brands. Nearly all auto OEMs are on this path, adding software expertise to their core competencies.

A key software goal is decoupling software from hardware platforms. Hardware-software decoupling has become standard procedure due to its many advantages. The latest advantage is the potential to swap out chips when supply chains are disrupted.

Read more at EE Times

Gigafactories Help Battery Manufacturers Meet Growing EV Demand

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Author: John Miles

Topics: material handling

Vertical: Automotive

Independent cart conveyance systems rely on linear motor technology. Linear synchronous motors (LSM) use electromagnetic force to index carriers more quickly and efficiently than traditional conveyance systems. Linear motors use components that don’t wear or come into contact with one another, which drastically reduces maintenance needs and decreases downtime.

The system’s capabilities range from individual cell sorting to full battery module and pack assembly, while also performing required testing. The machine incorporates linear servo motors that position loads in precisely the correct direction at high speeds. And changeovers simply involve selecting the correct mode from the operator interface.

Free from the constraints of a traditional conveyor, this system can improve your operations by helping you create faster, more flexible battery lines using independent, programmable movers. Time to market is improved by new LSM technology thanks to built-in full-line simulation capabilities that include an integrated track-and-trace system that eliminates the need for external sensing.

Read more at Assembly

Mariner Speeds Up Manufacturing Workflows With AI-Based Visual Inspection

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Author: Angie Lee

Topics: computer vision, defect detection

Organizations: Mariner, NVIDIA

Traditional machine vision systems installed in factories have difficulty discerning between true defects — like a stain in fabric or a chip in glass — and false positives, like lint or a water droplet that can be easily wiped away.

Spyglass Visual Inspection, or SVI, helps manufacturers detect the defects they couldn’t see before. SVI uses AI software and NVIDIA hardware connected to camera systems that provide real-time inspection of pieces on production lines, identify potential issues and determine whether they are true material defects — in just a millisecond.

Read more at NVIDIA Blog

Sight Machine, NVIDIA Collaborate to Turbocharge Manufacturing Data Labeling

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Topics: manufacturing analytics

Organizations: Sight Machine, NVIDIA

The collaboration connects Sight Machine’s manufacturing data foundation with NVIDIA’s AI platform to break through the last bottleneck in the digital transformation of manufacturing – preparing raw factory data for analysis. Sight Machine’s manufacturing intelligence will guide NVIDIA machine learning software running on NVIDIA GPU hardware to process two or more orders of magnitude more data at the start of digital transformation projects.

Accelerating data labeling will enable Sight Machine to quickly onboard large enterprises with massive data lakes. It will automate and accelerate work and lead to even faster time to value. While similar automated data mapping technology is being developed for specific data sources or well documented systems, Sight Machine is the first to use data introspection to automatically map tags to models for a wide variety of plant floor systems.

Read more at Cision PR Newswire

How to Reduce Tool Failure with CNC Tool Breakage Detection

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Topics: computer numerical control, manufacturing analytics

Organizations: MachineMetrics

There are several active technologies used in CNC machining that enable manufacturers to realize these benefits. The type of system used for tooling breakage detection may consist of one or more of the following technologies.

They’re often tied to production monitoring systems and ideally IIoT platforms that can analyze tooling data in the cloud to better predict breakages in the future. One innovation in the area of non-contact technologies is the use of high-frequency data that helps diagnose, predict and avoid failures. This technology is sensorless and uses instantaneous real-time data pulled at an extremely high rate to build accurate tool failure detection models.

Read more at MachineMetrics Blog

Surge Demand

Following their successful IPO, Rivian looks to expand with a $5 Billion factory in Georgia. 2021 was a big year for the Italian tool industry. E-commerce creates a boom for workers in Louisville.