Capturing this week's trending industry 4.0 and emerging industrial technology media
Amazon Shows Off Impressive New Warehouse Robots
Proteus is our first fully autonomous mobile robot. Historically, it’s been difficult to safely incorporate robotics in the same physical space as people. We believe Proteus will change that while remaining smart, safe, and collaborative.
Proteus autonomously moves through our facilities using advanced safety, perception, and navigation technology developed by Amazon. The robot was built to be automatically directed to perform its work and move around employees—meaning it has no need to be confined to restricted areas. It can operate in a manner that augments simple, safe interaction between technology and people—opening up a broader range of possible uses to help our employees—such as the lifting and movement of GoCarts, the nonautomated, wheeled transports used to move packages through our facilities.
The Power of Predictive Maintenance
“Getting to the level of predictive maintenance is an evolutionary process for manufacturers, regardless of their specialty,” notes Will Healy III, global business strategy manager at Balluff Inc. “Right now, there is great interest in retrofitting equipment with sensors to perform condition monitoring as a means to implement predictive maintenance. The next step is using equipment with integrated smart sensors and artificial intelligence. These technologies also enable prescriptive maintenance, which uses machine learning to help companies specifically adjust their operating conditions for desired production outcomes.”
One of the first robotic predictive maintenance applications of the IIoT occurred several years ago in the auto industry when General Motors teamed up with Cisco and FANUC America Corp. to launch a zero downtime program. Called ZDT, the predictive analytics service identifies potential failures so engineers and plant managers can schedule maintenance and repairs. This prevents unexpected breakdowns during production, thereby saving manufacturers time and money. According to Tuohy, the ZDT program has proven to be quite successful over the last several years. He says that about 30,000 robots worldwide are connected to the system.
Robots learn how to shape Play-Doh
How Singapore Got Its Manufacturing Mojo Back
In courting factories like this, Singapore has become a rare wealthy country to reverse its manufacturing downturn. The city-state had faced industrial decline, with World Bank figures showing manufacturing falling to 18% of gross domestic product in 2013, from 27% in 2005. Then manufacturing made a comeback in Singapore, rising to 21% of GDP in 2020, according to the World Bank’s latest figures. Singapore government data shows manufacturing made up 22% of its GDP in 2021.
Nidec CEO uses his Midas touch for machine tool unit turnaround
Nagamori himself is leading the charge to revive money-losing OKK as Nidec seeks to turn robot components and machining equipment into a new growth engine. Manpower shortages are driving the growth of industrial robots. “As artificial intelligence evolves, factories will become unmanned, and demand for industrial robots will soar,” Nagamori said.
OKK’s high-precision machining centers are not only essential for producing many robot components, but also use gear reducers themselves, adding another complementary connection.
Tracking this week's major mergers, partnerships, and funding events in manufacturing and supply chain
Chinese Battery Giant CATL Raises $6.7 Billion in Share Sale
CATL raised about 45 billion yuan, equivalent to $6.71 billion, in a heavily oversubscribed deal, it said in a filing late Wednesday. CATL, which is based in Ningde, a city in the southeastern province of Fujian, said it would use some of the proceeds to boost production at several locations in China.
Ocado Group successfully raises over £875m to fund future growth plans
Ocado Group is pleased to announce that it has successfully raised over £875m of gross liquidity through an approximately £578m equity placing and a new £300m revolving credit facility (RCF), providing a very healthy liquidity position for the Ocado Group of almost £2.0bn.
This funding secures sufficient liquidity to deliver the requirements of Ocado’s existing and expected customer commitments into the mid-term, with no additional Group financing as the business becomes cash flow positive. This includes funding the Group’s exciting plans to deliver a pipeline of 58 announced Customer Fulfilment Centres (CFCs) to 11 of the world’s leading grocers globally, helping accelerate channel shift online and support over £20bn in partner sales in the medium term. For Ocado Group, fulfilment of these customer commitments underpins a clear path to potential group revenue of £6.3bn+ and group EBITDA of £750m+ in the mid-term.
CloudNC raises $45m to deliver autonomous manufacturing
CloudNC, the company developing advanced software that enables factories to autonomously manufacture precision parts, today announced it has raised $45 million in a Series B round led by Autodesk, with Lockheed Martin and British Patient Capital participating alongside returning investors Atomico and Episode 1 Ventures. The company will use the additional capital to further develop its SaaS offering and roll out at-scale through integrations with CAD/CAM packages such as Autodesk’s platforms, and to expand its unique full-stack manufacturing capability in Essex, United Kingdom.
CloudNC’s technology already provides a significant degree of autonomy. A user can upload a 3D model of any part and, with one click, the software autonomously determines the tools needed, how they will be used and drafts the code to tell a CNC machine how to make it. This software assistance allows factories to be more efficient while upskilling the workforce, since more junior employees are able to operate the machines.
UVeye Enters into Strategic Collaboration with General Motors to Expand Technology to Global Dealerships
UVeye, a provider of advanced vehicle diagnostic systems, today announced that it has received an investment from the capital venture arm of General Motors, GM Ventures, to help fund the development and commercialization of the company’s vehicle inspection technology.
As part of the strategic collaboration agreement, the two companies have agreed to work on a variety of vehicle-inspection technology projects involving used-car auctions, fleet operations and automotive dealership sales. In the future, UVeye plans to incorporate electric-vehicle and autonomous-driving platforms into its inspection databases as well.
Additional news stories across the global industrial environment
Electric vehicle manufacturing reignites old rivals and creates new ones. Within the electric vehicle supply chain, nations looks to cement their dominance in processing rare earth minerals while companies are revolutionizing the mining sector. 3D printing opens new opportunities to support right to repair initiatives.