AI is a Profoundly Material Technology Based on Data, Labor, and Natural Resources
Capturing this week's zeitgeist
From “Atwater brews beer developed by AI”
“I asked [Chat GPT] to write me an IPA recipe, and it gave me a homebrew-scale recipe. So I asked it to scale the recipe to 20 barrels to fit our brew system, which it was able to do,” Joe Platt, Atwater’s quality assurance manager, says. “I asked it to use those specific hops because that is what we had on hand.” Katy McBrady, Atwater’s president, adds, “We just accepted what the robots told us, which I’m sure is the beginning of a science fiction film.”
From Liz Young in “The Art Behind Supply Chains Is Front and Center at a Museum Exhibit”
The centerpiece “Anatomy of an AI System” came out of a desire to better understand the real-world impacts of a rise in the use of artificial intelligence, said Dr. Crawford, one of the artists and a professor at the University of Southern California. She met Mr. Joler of the University of Novi Sad in Serbia at a conference, where they began talking about the physical properties of AI systems that are often viewed as purely virtual.
Dr. Crawford and Mr. Joler sketched on butcher paper the life cycle of Amazon’s Echo virtual assistant, from the mining required to gather elements in the device to its final disposal in a landfill.
“What we wanted to do was to make the invisible visible, to look at the supply chain as a key part of how AI works,” Dr. Crawford said. “People think that AI is immaterial, abstract, algorithm in the cloud. But it is a profoundly material technology that is based on extraction of data, labor and natural resources.”
This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media
How Smart Glasses Helped a Manufacturer Through the Pandemic
How does an expert in one facility guide an engineer halfway across the country through implementing a new technology? Food and beverage packaging manufacturer Crown Holdings found an innovative answer during the pandemic, when its employees couldn’t travel freely: it equipped them with smart glasses.
“When the pandemic started, we were trying to coordinate commissioning activities through email and WhatsApp messaging,” said Crown Holdings Project Industrial Engineer Leon Azzi. “Tasks that normally took two to three days were taking weeks.” But with the glasses, “[The workers] could share with each other the PLC (programmable logic controllers) electrical diagrams and pictures using the glasses viewer, and the remote experts could point them to areas to focus on in real time,” said Crown Holdings Digital Optimization Team Head Alberto Rodriguez.
The Digital Twin of Wire Harness Manufacturing
Closed-loop fully-automated frameworks for accelerating materials discovery
Our work shows that a fully-automated closed-loop framework driven by sequential learning can accelerate the discovery of materials by up to 10-25x (or a reduction in design time by 90-95%) when compared to traditional approaches. We show that such closed-loop frameworks can lead to enormous improvement in researcher productivity in addition to reducing overall project costs. Overall, these findings present a clear value proposition for investing in closed-loop frameworks and sequential learning in materials discovery and design enterprises.
Velo3D proves distributed manufacturing on a global scale
While conventional manufacturing technology has delivered in-country products on a global basis for decades – it has often involved dedicated, high-cost production assets and personnel that lack flexibility. Supply chain issues with procurement, as well as production lag times inherent to technologies like casting, can further add to costs and delayed delivery of conventionally manufactured products.
“We now have the confidence, whether it’s two weeks from now or two years from now, to print that same print file at any of these suppliers in the future,” said Zach Walton, director of technical business development at Velo3D. “With the Digital Product Definition, spelled out in API20S as a collection of data required to reproduce the additively manufactured component, unchanged from the 2021 project, this demonstrated the ability to not have to requalify or redevelop – which is a big win for the O&G as well as other industries trying to deploy distributed manufacturing.” These results are an important benchmark in demonstrating that distributed manufacturing using advanced metal laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) technology is achievable in the real world.
Lights-out Manufacturing with Athena 3D
‘Pushing the limits of innovation’ - 3D printed footwear showcased by Dior at Paris Fashion Week
The two different types of shoes created by Dior, derbys and boots, were printed using laser powder bed fusion technology, but the brand did not disclose the specific system used. The footwear was just about visible on the catwalk beneath long pants that models were wearing, but close-up images have now been released.
In a video shared by the official Dior Twitter account, a member of the design team spoke about the sustainability of the shoes: “What interested us here is that, once the tongue has been unstitched and the undersoles and laces have been removed, 80% of the material can be entirely reused for other purposes. It’s a circular approach.”
Powering Offshore Wind Farms With Numerical Modeling of Subsea Cables
The future of offshore wind lies in wind farms that float on ballasts and moorings, with the cables laid directly on the seafloor. Floating wind farms are a great solution when wind farms situated just off the coast grow crowded. They can also take advantage of the bigger and more powerful winds that occur further out to sea. Floating wind farms are expected to grow more popular over the next decade. This is an especially attractive option for areas like the Pacific Coast of the United States and the Mediterranean, where the shores are deeper, as opposed to the shallow waters of the Atlantic Coast of the U.S., U.K., and Norway. One important requirement of floating OFW farms is the installation of dynamic, high-capacity submarine cables that are able to effectively harness and deliver the generated electricity to our shores.
Before fixing or installing a submarine cable, which can cost billions of dollars, cable designers have to ensure that designs will perform as intended in undersea conditions. Today, this is typically done with the help of computational electromagnetics modeling. To validate cable simulation results, international standards are used, but these standards have not been able to keep up with recent advancements in computational power and the simulation software’s growing capabilities. Hellenic Cables, including its subsidiary FULGOR, use the finite element method (FEM) to analyze their cable designs and compare them to experimental measurements, often getting better results than what the international standards can offer.
Weekly mergers, partnerships, and funding events across industrial value chains
AI vehicle inspection drives start up investment
Edge cases and tech layoffs might signal a difficult spell for driverless car developers, but that’s not to say that artificial intelligence isn’t booming elsewhere in the automotive industry. In January 2023, AI vehicle inspection firm, ProovStation announced that it had raised EURO 10.4 million to roll out a time-saving network of AI-assisted testing stations for the sale of used cars.
The AI vehicle inspection technology, which is housed in a drive-through design, enables car owners to receive a selling price for their vehicle in just a few minutes. Automating the vehicle valuation process means that used vehicle companies no longer need to waste time carrying out manual car inspections. Systems such as ProovStation’s automobile scanner eliminate human error and subjectivity from the vehicle valuation process, which can affect manual car inspections.
Xylem To Acquire Evoqua in $7.5 Billion All-Stock Transaction
Xylem Inc. (NYSE: XYL), a leading global water technology company (“Xylem”), and Evoqua (NYSE: AQUA), a leader in mission-critical water treatment solutions and services, today announced they have entered into a definitive agreement under which Xylem will acquire Evoqua in an all-stock transaction that reflects an implied enterprise value of approximately $7.5 billion.
Lockheed Martin Ventures Invests in On-Demand Manufacturing Pioneer Machina Labs
Machina Labs today announced the completion of an investment by Lockheed Martin Ventures (LMV), the venture arm of Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE: LMT), a global security and aerospace company. Machina Labs combines AI and robotics to rapidly manufacture advanced sheet metal products. This latest funding brings the total raised by Machina Labs to $21.8M. The investment will be used to accelerate company growth to meet customer demand, and to expand R&D into additional processes and metallurgical offerings.
Raven.ai Raises $12 Million USD and Completes Series A Financing
Raven, a leading provider of data contextualization software for frontline operations, announced today the successful completion of its Series A funding round, completing $12 million USD ($16M CAD) equity financing. The round was led by Momenta Ventures and Chartline Capital Partners with participation from Celtic House Venture Partners and Export Development Canada as well as continued support from prominent angel investors.
Raven is the only solution that combines and analyzes operator input and machine data to provide a clear timeline of all production states and losses — with context for everything that’s happening on the line, 100% of the time. Leading manufacturers in the Discrete, Life Sciences and Food and Beverage industries are using Raven’s solution to empower frontline, engineering and management teams to make confident, fact-driven productivity improvements on the shop floor. “Raven provides visibility we’d otherwise be guessing at,” said Justin Brennan, Director of Operational Excellence at Renaissance Lakewood.
Raise Robotics Receives Funding to Expand Commercial Deployments
This morning, Raise Robotics announced it has raised a $2.2M pre-seed round. The round included proptech and robotics investment leaders Cybernetix Ventures, Union Labs VC, and Zacua Ventures. “Construction is at the cusp of a seismic shift from an automation perspective. The dramatic acceleration of the labor shortage in the industry, coupled with the advanced abilities of robots today, makes the space ripe for disruption.” Over the coming year, the company plans to expand its leasing operations, hire additional engineers and establish a certification program for existing customers.
Datanomix and Hexagon Announce Agreement to Bring Real-Time Factory Analytics to Industrial Manufacturers Worldwide
Datanomix, maker of the industry’s only Automated Production Intelligence™ software platform, announced a partnership with Hexagon to offer the Datanomix software solution to its global manufacturing customers. Datanomix is well known for its industry-changing No Operator Input™ approach to production monitoring, which removes the common challenges and complexities companies face when deploying production monitoring solutions. Precision manufacturers looking to improve production efficiency, increase utilization, optimize cycle times and increase part margins will benefit from the automated reports and insights that Datanomix provides.