On the heels of CB Insights’ Advanced Manufacturing 50, the Inc. 5000 2022 list was unveiled this week. The Inc. 5000 covers the 5000 fastest growing private American businesses. Within the 5000, only 146 were manufacturers with KGM Technologies leading the way at 27th on the list. Only Locus Robotics made both lists.
Two members of the Exponential Industry Index made the list with Flexport (#1081) and Seeq (#1238) both achieving over 500% 3-year growth. Flexport’s high growth rate could be an instance of ‘right product at the right time’ in the wake of COVID-19’s chaotic impact on supply chains. Seeq’s focus on time series and SQL data within continuous and batch process manufacturing process has made their product adoption simple and quickly drive outcomes. Both companies’ products embrace REST APIs which make them composable as opposed to competitor products where vendor lock-in is prevalent.
Capturing this week's trending industry 4.0 and emerging industrial technology media
Heat Exchanger Design with Additive Manufacturing
Heat exchangers (HEX) are crucial in many heat transfer applications, from cooling electronics to recuperating heat in industrial facilities. These devices are essential for thermal management as it ensures the product and processes perform as intended over their expected lifespan, and they are critical in energy production.
However, for many high-performance applications, we have reached the limit of what is technically possible using traditional manufacturing methods in terms of heat exchanger efficiency or size. This is where additive manufacturing technologies come into the picture. The design freedom of additive manufacturing allows you to create more innovative designs and empowers you to optimize heat exchanger performance.
Smart Devices, Smart Manufacturing: Pegatron Taps AI, Digital Twins
Today, Pegatron uses Cambrian, an AI platform it built for automated inspection, deployed in most of its factories. It maintains hundreds of AI models, trained and running in production on NVIDIA GPUs. Pegatron’s system uses NVIDIA A100 Tensor Core GPUs to deploy AI models up to 50x faster than when it trained them on workstations, cutting weeks of work down to a few hours. Pegatron uses NVIDIA Triton Inference Server, open-source software that helps deploy, run and scale AI models across all types of processors, and frameworks.
Taking another step in smarter manufacturing, Pegatron is piloting NVIDIA Omniverse, a platform for developing digital twins “In my opinion, the greatest impact will come from building a full virtual factory so we can try out things like new ways to route products through the plant,” he said. “When you just build it out without a simulation first, your mistakes are very costly.”
Towards Helpful Robots: Grounding Language in Robotic Affordances
In “Do As I Can, Not As I Say: Grounding Language in Robotic Affordances”, we present a novel approach, developed in partnership with Everyday Robots, that leverages advanced language model knowledge to enable a physical agent, such as a robot, to follow high-level textual instructions for physically-grounded tasks, while grounding the language model in tasks that are feasible within a specific real-world context. We evaluate our method, which we call PaLM-SayCan, by placing robots in a real kitchen setting and giving them tasks expressed in natural language. We observe highly interpretable results for temporally-extended complex and abstract tasks, like “I just worked out, please bring me a snack and a drink to recover.” Specifically, we demonstrate that grounding the language model in the real world nearly halves errors over non-grounded baselines. We are also excited to release a robot simulation setup where the research community can test this approach.
Hyundai’s self-steering ship subsidiary says it has made hundreds of sales
Lured by the promise of lower labor costs and decision assistance, some commercial shipping companies are looking to explore autonomous navigation systems. In one of the latest and most ambitious experiments with the technology, a natural gas tanker named Prism Courage ventured from Texas to South Korea in May, completing about half of its 33-day test journey on June 2 without the help of a human crew.
How mining companies reach the operational excellence gold standard
While the ten largest companies in the manufacturing and business services industries have seen their productivity index grow by around 15 percent and 25 percent respectively over the past 25 years, the ten largest companies in the mining industry have seen only marginal growth of around 1 percent over the same period.
The mining industry also has several unique features that may help explain why a culture of operational excellence has not yet been widely adopted. Productivity in the sector is often constrained by physical factors, such as ore quality. The industry also has a heavy focus on technical elements and capital levers rather than organizational culture and processes, while its dispersed and fragmented nature creates barriers to sharing best practices.
Tracking this week's major mergers, partnerships, and funding events in manufacturing and supply chain
GrayMatter Robotics’ sanding solution brings in $20M
GrayMatter Robotics announced that it has raised $20 million in Series A funding. The company’s Scan&Sand system is a flexible robotic sander that can quickly adjust to objects with complex geometry. The system doesn’t require coding to program the robot, and operators can learn how to operate it in just a few hours. Scan&Sand can handle a variety of materials like composites, metals, solid surfaces, acrylics, plastics, wood, and stone.
Bow Capital led the funding round, which also included participation from GrayMatter’s existing investors B Capital Group, Calibrate Ventures, OCA Ventures, Pathbreaker Ventures, Stage Venture Partners and 3M Ventures. Swift Ventures was a new investor that participated in the round.