At the end of July, CB Insights released its annual Advanced Manufacturing 50 list of the most promising advanced manufacturing companies around the world. In their words,
[The 2022] winners cover everything from factory analytics & artificial intelligence (AI) to industrial internet of things (IIoT) cybersecurity. They were chosen based on factors including R&D activity, proprietary Mosaic scores, market potential, business relationships, investor profile, news sentiment analysis, competitive landscape, team strength, and tech novelty.
Here at Exponential Industry we cover the organizations shaping the future of advanced manufacturing each week and aggregate the results in the Exponential Industry Index. To the surprise of no one, there is substantial overlap between CB Insights’ list and the Index. Currently, fifteen companies in the Advanced Manufacturing 50 are present within Index, one company had previously appeared in the Index, and eight companies were covered in a prior newsletter edition but have yet to appear in the Index. This week we will summarize the Advanced Manufacturing 50 and provide some thoughts on the chosen few that made it and those copanies that were missed!
The CB Insight’s Advanced Manufacturing 50 canvas
As we go through each category, a Exponential Industry profile link is provided. A couple of symbols after each company name will indicate if the company is currently in the Exponential Industry Index (*), has previously appeared in the Index (^), or has been covered in a previous newsletter (`). Lastly, if the company was last valued over USD$1 billion it will have a 🦄 emoji.
- DataProphet - DataProphet specializes in optimizing the complex manufacturing processes of key industrial verticals with state-of-the-art machine learning. Their AI-driven solutions leverage the existing data streams from your plant’s production line equipment to identify process efficiencies. High-impact adjustments are then prescribed, which guarantee ROI in the first year of deployment.
- MakinaRocks - A South Korean AI Startup backed by LG and Hyundai develops a MLOps platform for manufacturing and industrial sectors. MakinaRocks’ Link platform enhances the usability of JupyterLab, offering more readable pipelines and improved collaboration while eliminating Kubernetes’ technological hurdles. Link is available for free download, with further product details on its official website.
- CANVASS - A Toronto, Canada based company develops a platform that provides industrial engineers with easy-to-use AI solutions to address their operational challenges, without requiring coding or data science expertise. They primarily operate within the oil and gas, chemical, mining, and energy verticals.
- Cognite*🦄 - An Oslo, Norway industrial software company developing an Industrial DataOps platform. Cognite Data Fusion, the leading Industrial DataOps software, makes asset data more accessible and meaningful to humans and machines, delivering trusted data and insights to unlock opportunities in real-time, reduce costs, and improve the integrity and sustainability of your operations.
- Augmentir - A Philadelphia, USA based startup that digitizes frontline worker processes. The founding team has been at the forefront of three of the most important of these software technology revolutions – Wonderware Software in 1987, Lighthammer in 1997, and ThingWorx in 2008.
- Seeq* - Seeq, a Seattle, USA based company, is the first application dedicated to process data analytics. Search your data, add context, cleanse, model, find patterns, establish boundaries, monitor assets, collaborate in real time, and interact with time series data like never before.
- MachineMetrics* - The MachineMetrics Machine Connectivity Platform easily connects to your manufacturing equipment - no sensors or complex implementation required - to capture production and machine condition data straight from the source.
- Tulip` - Tulip enables user-friendly and functional apps that improve the productivity of your operations, without writing any code. Start from scratch or download a ready-made app from their library for faster time-to-value.
Exponential Industry Thoughts: The factory analytics category had the most selections this year. With the relative ease of development, SaaS analytics platforms can gain traction quickly if a market niche is identified. However, we think CB Insights missed both Falkonry and Instrumental.
Robots & Cobots
- Rokae - Manufacturer of light-weight industrial robots and robot control systems. The company provides robotic products and interactive control systems used in the field of computing, communications, consumer electronics, textiles, food, medicine and automotive manufacturing, adding value for high-end manufacturer clients through independent research and development of robot hardware and integrated application solutions.
- Exotec`🦄 - Exotec designs revolutionary robotic systems for the supply chain. Their robots are designed to connect mathematics, mechanics and humans to help e-merchants and retailers meet the great challenge of the seamless customer journey.
- Novarc Technologies` - Novarc’s cutting-edge Spool Welding Robot (SWR) allows pipe fabrication companies serving the oil & gas, building construction, and shipbuilding industries to be more competitive when bidding on projects by dramatically increasing the productivity and quality of their pipe welding operations.
- Veo Robotics* - Applications that require the speed and strength of standard industrial robots also increasingly require human dexterity and versatility. Veo’s FreeMove® is a comprehensive 3D safeguarding solution that reduces the cost and complexity of human-robot collaboration.
- LINKWIZ - LINKWIZ provides software offering new value: the ability for robots themselves to think and correct movement. L-QUALIFY achieves the robotization of various inspections that once had to be done by eye. Their 3D robot inspection system for inline applications enables customers to optimize the assignment of personnel involved in visual inspections.
- Locus Robotics - Today’s leading 3PLs use the Locus AMR solution to efficiently maximize ecommerce fulfillment productivity and meet customer SLAs while keeping operations and labor costs low. Their flexible, scalable, and cost-effective solution seamlessly integrates into your WMS system and can be deployed in your warehouse quickly without any infrastructure or workflow changes.
Exponential Industry Thoughts: CB Insights covered the vast array of robotics types with its selection of six companies. Robot control systems, cobots, and AMRs all play a big role in modern factories. One glaring miss is RightHand Robotics who leads the pack in piece picking.
- Retrocasual - Retrocasual’s Pathfinder is a software that uses cameras to guide, analyze, and optimize assembly processes. It offers audible and visual alerts to associates when they make a mistake, and provides comprehensive time studies to lean engineers to help them improve processes.
- Creatio - Not covered.
- First Resonance* - First Resonance’s (ION) Factory OS is a software platform that connects people, machines, and processes to meet the dynamic needs of 21st century hardware development, production, and operation.
- MaintainX - MaintainX digitizes the paper-based procedures, work orders, inspection logs, and audit checklists used daily in thousands of businesses worldwide.
- Detect Technologies` - Detect Technologies harnesses AI, advanced robotics, IoT-enabled sensors, AR/VR, and computer vision – to connect and unify your data, workforce, equipment, and processes.
Exponential Industry Thoughts: Creatio seemed like an awkward fit in the list and it’s not a company covered by Exponential Industry. We think Bright Machines, Plataine, and Parsable should be reconsidered for spots in the process management category.
- Virtualitics - Virtualitics AI platform deploys advanced analytics at scale with a strategic, enterprise-wide approach that powers repeatable, confident decisions quickly and drives real business impact.
- Smartia - Smartia provides scalable AI solutions that connect and transform industrial data into actionable insights. MAIO, Smartia’s industrial intelligence platform combines edge computing, big data technology and AI-driven applications to provide a complete digital solution for the manufacturing and engineering industries.
- Onepredict - Onepredict won the ‘Global PHM Data Challenge’ 10 times. In that challenge, leading global institutes and companies compete to provide data analytic solutions. They have solved problems across diverse topics such as those involving fuel cells, turbines, railways and smart buildings. This knowledge is productized into a variety of GuardiOne® offerings.
- Tignis` - At Tignis, they build innovative software solutions that utilize AI, and specifically Machine Learning, to improve process reliability and control. Their products equip process and operations engineers with tools necessary to design, test, and implement AI projects.
- Samotics* - Samotics’ SAM4 HEALTH and SAM4 ENERGY are continuous monitoring systems which help to reduce risk and lower costs. SAM4 HEALTH helps you eliminate unplanned downtime while SAM4 ENERGY aims to support in reducing energy consumption.
- Claroty*🦄 - Claroty empowers organizations to secure cyber-physical systems across industrial (OT), healthcare (IoMT), and enterprise (IoT) environments: the Extended Internet of Things (XIoT). The company’s unified platform integrates with customers’ existing infrastructure to provide a full range of controls for visibility, risk and vulnerability management, threat detection, and secure remote access.
- Nozomi Networks* - Nozomi Networks is the leader in OT and IoT security and visibility. They accelerate digital transformation by unifying cybersecurity visibility for the largest critical infrastructure, energy, manufacturing, mining, transportation, building automation and other OT sites around the world.
- Axonius🦄 - Axonius correlates asset data from existing solutions and provides an always up-to-date inventory, uncovers gaps, and automates response actions. They give IT and security teams the confidence to control complexity by mitigating threats, navigating risk, decreasing incidents, and informing business-level strategy — all while eliminating manual, repetitive tasks.
- Dragos*🦄 - Dragos protects the most critical infrastructure from increasingly capable adversaries who wish to do it harm. Devoted to codifying and sharing in-depth industry knowledge of ICS/OT systems, Dragos arms industrial defenders around the world with the knowledge and tools to protect their systems as effectively and efficiently as possible.
Exponential Industry Thoughts: CB Insights nailed it.
- Inkbit - Inkbit Vista™, powered by VCJ, is an additive manufacturing platform designed for mass production of end-use polymer parts. This combination of high throughput, low labor post-processing, and production grade materials makes Inkbit Vista™ an excellent choice for true volume production of additively manufactured parts.
- Formlabs*🦄 - Through continuous commitment to innovation, Formlabs has become the largest supplier of professional stereolithography (SLA) and selective laser sintering (SLS) 3D printers in the world. Their customers include global leaders in industries ranging from medical research, to footwear design, to automotive and aerospace manufacturing, as well as entrepreneurs and small businesses creating custom products, reinforcing their supply chain, and expanding their operations.
- Carbon*🦄 - Rapidly design, develop and scale production of better products in less time with the Carbon platform. Integrated end-use materials, software, and 3D printers enable teams to accelerate bringing products to market — from idea to production.
- Fortify - The Fortify team developed Digital Composite Manufacturing (DCM) to unlock new material properties that cannot be achieved with today’s 3D printed photopolymers. Their composite 3D printing system achieves these properties by suspending and aligning Functional Additives (particles and reinforcing fibers) in a resin matrix during printing. Fortify’s materials development platform allows for a wide range of material properties that can be architected to meet the most stringent application needs.
- Landing AI* - Landing AI™ is building the data-centric MLOps platform for computer vision. Focusing on manufacturing visual inspection, LandingLens enables ML teams to build, deploy, and scale computer vision applications 10x faster than before, and rapidly create significant ROI. Founded by Dr. Andrew Ng, co-founder of Coursera, and founding lead of Google Brain, the team at Landing AI is uniquely positioned to help companies across the globe successfully move their AI projects from proof of concept to full-scale production.
- SmartMore🦄 - SmartMore focuses on empowering smart manufacturing and digital innovation industries through advanced technologies, aiming to be a pioneer in the research of cutting-edge technologies such as manufacturing optimization and machine vision, creating platforms with greater scalability and broader applications for smart manufacturing and digital innovation, realising the great potential of digital and intelligent transformation.
- Jidoka Technologies - Jidoka combines artificial intelligence with automation to deliver cognitive inspection of defects in the manufacturing domain to enhance quality and efficiency of your manufacturing.
Exponential Industry Thoughts: All three companies are certainly leaders when it comes to visual inspection machine learning software and look to grow into general purpose MLOps platforms.
- Zetwerk🦄 - Zetwerk offers high-quality production, globally competitive costs and unparalleled lead times in the manufacturing of capital goods, consumer goods and precision parts.
Exponential Industry Thoughts: Zetwerk stands alone in its marketplace network effects for industrial goods.
- Fluence Analytics
Exponential Industry Thoughts Research and development optimization is not covered.
- SWEEP - Sweep is a power-tool for measuring your carbon emissions. Connect your data automatically and plug in to a vast emission factor database. Manage it centrally or get teams to measure their own emissions, and empower staff to take positive actions for the planet.
- Redwood Materials`🦄 - Redwood is transforming the battery supply chain by offering large-scale sources of domestic anode and cathode materials produced from an increasing number of recycled batteries. Their Battery Materials Campus 1 will produce 100 GWh of anode copper foil and cathode active material annually by 2025, enough to produce more than one million EVs a year.
- Everactive* - Everactive can operate without batteries due to groundbreaking advances in system-level energy efficiency. This includes custom semiconductors and wireless networking, as well as advances throughout the entire technology stack to comprehensively control and manage the platform. By lowering the power requirements by 1,000x compared to that of competing chipsets, they can both avoid the hazards of batteries and sustain their devices indefinitely using readily available harvested energy.
- Litmus` - Litmus is the only Industrial Edge Data Platform that unifies device connectivity, data intelligence and data integration in a complete Industry 4.0 solution. Rapid-to-deploy, easy-to-use and built-to-scale, Litmus is the fastest way to connect to all OT assets and put data to work at the edge and across the enterprise.
Exponential Industry Thoughts: Both choices here are no doubt leaders. For another up-and-comer Collo is creating unique sensors for liquid processes.
- NavVis - In a unique form factor that’s one giant leap for mobile mapping, NavVis VLX powered by SLAM technology delivers survey-grade point clouds.
- SPREAD - SPREAD’s platform connects and digitalizes engineering knowledge across the product lifecycle. Their engineering applications target domain-specific needs, like finding the ideal specification of the wiring harness in R&D, virtual error localization and diagnostics in Production, or accessing automated repair sequences with 3D animations in Aftersales.
Exponential Industry Thoughts: UrsaLeo is another early stage company developing the industrial metaverse.
- Guardhat` - The Guardhat system is composed of the foundational Guardhat Platform and a growing ecosystem of wearable devices and integrations that are combined to provide specific solutions across various industries. It’s a new way of seeing things that couldn’t be seen before, and of empowering the workforce to make better decisions—the ones that save lives, improve response times and tactics, and increase productivity.
- Kinexon^ - KINEXON translates physical worlds into digital twins so that it can capture, optimize and automate processes. Our insights and results power organizations in manufacturing, logistics and sports.
Exponential Industry Thoughts: We’ve written about high-tech worker safety solutions a few months ago and Guardhat is the leader with StrongArm Technologies and Everguard additional players.
- Vention* - Vention is pioneering an industry where agility, speed and simplicity meet industrial automation. Their mission is to make machine design accessible to everyone by re-engineering the process of designing, simulating, procuring and commissioning industrial equipment.
Exponential Industry Thoughts: Vention has a truly unique offering for the machine design space. Realtime Robotics’ high-productivity multi-robot workcells and automated robot vision is also a unique offereing for robotics development and deployment.
CAD & Simulation
- Simscale* - CFD, FEA, and thermal simulation software transformed from a desktop application into an online platform.
Exponential Industry Thoughts Simscale is leader in the Index. In digital twin simulation, Cosmo Tech has some interesting technology as well.
- Varjo - Varjo was founded by a team of industry professionals with decades of experience and a vision of seamlessly merging the virtual and real worlds – first for professionals and ultimately for everyone. The new Varjo Reality Cloud platform allows professionals to stream VR/XR applications from the cloud with a lossless visual fidelity.
CB Insights did a wonderful job on their Advanced Manufacturing 50 for 2022. Along with the Exponential Industry Index you should have the advanced manufacturing leaders covered. Check out the Exponential Industry Twitter List to stay up-to-date in real time with leading manufacturing technology companies both public and private!
Capturing this week's trending industry 4.0 and emerging industrial technology media
A step-by-step journey: How this Aerospace composites factory optimizes production with AI & IIoT
The powerful combination of IIot and advanced AI that smoothly integrate with existing software (ERP or MES) enable the benefits described above. IIoT sensors automatically track important real-time factors such as location, status, temperature and time. The sensor data collected is consumed by advanced applications (Digital Assistants) using AI algorithms that consider the present context, including upcoming demand and plans, providing actionable insights and recommendations in real time around critical areas such as material expiration, autoclave throughput, production demand, delivery deadlines, supply chain issues, etc.
Digital Twins and AI Reshape Biopharmaceutical Manufacturing
The foundation of any control strategy is process understanding. And, according to the ICH’s Q8 guidance,1 modeling is the best way to generate process understanding and meet regulators’ quality-by-design expectations. The models should describe the relationship between process parameters and drug quality and performance attributes.
Statistical models—predictions based on available data—have proven to be the most popular approach so far. Many manufacturers have used data-based models to guide development, scale-up, and process control. But their predictive power is limited to the range of data available, and they require significant experimental effort.
For this reason, mechanistic models—assumptions based on known principles rather than just data—are gaining in popularity. Mechanistic models “can provide a full description of the system, higher prediction power, as well as the potential to extrapolate well outside of calibration space,” Li explains. “They are valuable tools for predicting scale-up process performance, thereby de-risking large-scale manufacturing runs.”
Achieving World-Class Predictive Maintenance with Normal Behavior Modeling
Central to the normal behavior modeling (NBM) concept is an algorithm known as an autoencoder, shown in Figure 1. Over time, the autoencoder’s input layer ingests a continuous stream of quantitative data from equipment sensors (temperature, pressure, etc.). This data is then fed to a hidden layer (of which there are typically several), where it gets compressed. Numerical weights (a value between 0 and 1) are then applied to each node, with the goal of eventually reproducing the input values at the output layer.
The principal purpose of NBM is to define the normal state of a complex system and then proactively identify instances where the system is operating outside of normal with sufficient advance warning to allow maintenance or repair actions to take place to avoid revenue loss, repair costs, and safety compromises that typically come with such failures.
Making The Most Of Data Lakes
Data management and data analysis necessitates understanding the data storage and data compute options to design an optimal solution. This is made more difficult by the sheer volume of data generated by the design and manufacturing of semiconductor devices. There are more sensors being added into equipment, more complex heterogeneous chip architectures, and increased demands for reliability — which in turn increase the amount of simulation, inspection, metrology, and test data being generated.
Connecting different data sources is extremely valuable. It allows feed-forward decisions on manufacturing processes (package type, skipping burn-in), and feedback in order to trace causes of excursions (yield, quality, and customer returns).
“An understanding of the semiconductor manufacturing process and relationships throughout are essential for some applications,” said Jeff David, vice president of AI solutions at PDF Solutions. “For example, how can I use wafer equipment history and tool sensor data to predict the failure propensity of a chip at final test? How does time delay between process and test steps determine what data is useful in finding a root cause of a failure mode? What failure modes are predictable with which datasets? How do preceding process steps affect the data collected at a given process step?”
Robot 3D Printing Makes Giant Industrial Mixer Blade
Fresh milk and cream: increasing capacities for returnable bottles
Fresh milk produced using traditional methods is the cream of the crop. The Berchtesgadener Land dairy fills this precious commodity in glass bottles. To meet the soaring demand for milk in returnable bottles, the cooperative has replaced its returnable-glass line, which fills organic and mountain farmers’ milk and cream.
The most important requirement for the new line was quality, both in regard to the machines and systems and the products made on them. “Production lines for traditional fresh milk must always give reliable service. We don’t have time for long maintenance routines,” emphasises Althammer. The milk is delivered to the dairy every day and must be dispatched fast, in order to guarantee retailers a minimum shelf life in the cold chain of eight days. What’s more, complying with stringent cleanliness standards in production is the top priority for filling this unsterilised milk. Germs carried in from outside result in faster milk spoilage, meaning the required shelf life would then not be met. When filling into returnable bottles, moreover, contaminated empties must not be allowed to enter the filling zone. That entails stringent requirements for the bottle washer, the filler and overall hygiene standards for the line.
Tracking this week's major mergers, partnerships, and funding events in manufacturing and supply chain
Geek+ announces $100 million series E1 financing round
Geek+, a global provider of autonomous mobile robot technologies, announced today it has closed a new, $100 million series E1 funding series. Investors in the round include Intel Capital, Vertex Growth, and Qingyue Capital Investment. The company will use this funding to accelerate its global market expansion and invest in its AMR technology research and development for key product innovation.
Canvass AI Accelerates Expansion with Completion of US $14.23 Million Series A Funding
Canvass Analytics Inc. (“Canvass AI”), a leader in industrial AI software, today announced the completion of its previously reported Series A financing with an extension of US $7.73 million, led by Yamaha Motors Ventures and a CDN $5.7 million (US $4.43 million) repayable loan from the Government of Canada, through the Federal Economic Development Agency for Southern Ontario (FedDev Ontario). The Series A extension will fuel the company’s mission to empower industrial workforces to drive impact across their operations with the power of Industrial AI.
DataProphet closes $10m investment to lead the Digital Maturity Journey for Manufacturers
DataProphet, a world-leading AI-as-a-Service (AIaaS) for manufacturing innovators, today announced the completion of its $10 million Series A funding round. Knife Capital led the round, joined by South Africa’s IDC and Norican – the world’s largest metal surface preparation and finishing equipment provider. The funding provides DataProphet with the capital to invest further in its award-winning industrial AI product set while facilitating targeted growth in selected geographies and manufacturing verticals.
“I am excited about the continued support DataProphet has received from Knife Capital. Going forward, we will use this additional funding to accelerate and expand into new markets, build new relationships aligned with our machine builder strategy, and further our global expansion. Another important pillar is bringing in top talent to build on this momentum.” says Frans Cronje, CEO of DataProphet.
Stratasys set to acquire Covestro's 3D printing materials business
Stratasys has announced an agreement with Covestro to acquire the chemical company’s additive manufacturing business. The deal is expected to close in Q1 of 2023. The deal includes a fixed amount of 43 million EUR and the potential earnout of up to 37 million EUR subject to the achievement of various performance metrics. It is expected to close in Q1 2023 and follows Stratasys’ acquisitions of Origin, RPS and Xaar 3D in the last two years.
3D Systems to Accelerate High Volume Additive Manufacturing with Acquisition of dp polar GmbH
3D Systems (NYSE:DDD) announced that it has entered an agreement to acquire dp polar GmbH, the German-based designer and manufacturer of the industry’s first additive manufacturing system designed for true high-speed mass production of customized components. Central to dp polar’s patented continuous printing process is a large-scale, segmented, rotating print platform that eliminates the start/stop operations of virtually all additive manufacturing platforms. Traditional printers operate on a Cartesian Coordinate system in which the print head moves sequentially from point to point throughout component production. With dp polar’s technology and patented polar coordinate control, the print heads remain stationary above the rotating platform, providing a continuous print process.