Training for Precision Machining and Robot Picking
Capturing this week's zeitgeist
From “Over 150,000 picking robots to be installed by 2030”:
In the coming years, Interact Analysis expects the price of labor to continue going up while robotic picking prices decrease. Currently, robotic picking is still prohibitively expensive, especially for one-shift operations. However, by 2030, the average price of picking robots will drop by 40% while the cost of warehouse labor will increase by 30% over the same period.
This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media
🔋 How Smart 3D Electrodes Will Power Next-Gen Batteries
Addionics has developed a novel manufacturing process named smart 3D electrodes, which improves rechargeable batteries’ performance by redesigning their architecture. According to the company, the new technology enables higher capacity and safety, lower charging time and cost, and a longer lifetime. The company’s 3D fabrication process differs from currently used architectures in how the battery’s collector is made. Today, most collectors are made with 2D metal foils — a technology that has remained unchanged in the last 30 years.
“While everyone is using conventional 2D 100% dense metal foils, at Addionics, we are replacing this component with a 3D metal structure that can load more active materials, increase the energy density, reduce the internal resistance, and provide better mechanical adhesion and thermal stability,” said Moshiel Biton, CEO of Addionics in an interview with EE Times.
Precision Manufacturing of Large and Complex Parts
🦾♻️ Robotic deep RL at scale: Sorting waste and recyclables with a fleet of robots
In “Deep RL at Scale: Sorting Waste in Office Buildings with a Fleet of Mobile Manipulators”, we discuss how we studied this problem through a recent large-scale experiment, where we deployed a fleet of 23 RL-enabled robots over two years in Google office buildings to sort waste and recycling. Our robotic system combines scalable deep RL from real-world data with bootstrapping from training in simulation and auxiliary object perception inputs to boost generalization, while retaining the benefits of end-to-end training, which we validate with 4,800 evaluation trials across 240 waste station configurations.
🦾 Amazon releases largest dataset for training 'pick and place' robots
In an effort to improve the performance of robots that pick, sort, and pack products in warehouses, Amazon has publicly released the largest dataset of images captured in an industrial product-sorting setting. Where the largest previous dataset of industrial images featured on the order of 100 objects, the Amazon dataset, called ARMBench, features more than 190,000 objects. As such, it could be used to train “pick and place” robots that are better able to generalize to new products and contexts.
The scenario in which the ARMBench images were collected involves a robotic arm that must retrieve a single item from a bin full of items and transfer it to a tray on a conveyor belt. The variety of objects and their configurations and interactions in the context of the robotic system make this a uniquely challenging task.
How Large-Language Models Can Revolutionize Military Planning
What happens when you give military planners access to large-language models and other artificial intelligence and machine-learning applications? Will the planner embrace the ability to rapidly synthesize diffuse data streams or ignore the tools in favor of romanticized views of military judgment as a coup d’œil? Can a profession still grappling to escape its industrial-age iron cage and bureaucratic processes integrate emerging technologies and habits of mind that are more inductive than deductive?
A team that includes a professor from Marine Corps University and a portfolio manager from Scale AI share our efforts to bridge new forms of data synthesis with foundational models of military decision-making. Based on this pilot effort, we see clear and tangible ways to integrate large-language models into the planning process. This effort will require more than just buying software. It will require revisiting how we approach epistemology in the military professional. The results suggest a need to expand the use of large-language models alongside new methods of instruction that help military professionals understand how to ask questions and interrogate the results. Skepticism is a virtue in the 21st century.
Luminar's New High Volume Manufacturing Facility Now Online
Weekly mergers, partnerships, and funding events across industrial value chains
⛏️🔋 GM Leads $50 Million Funding Round in EnergyX to Unlock U.S.-Based Lithium Supply for Rapidly Scaling EV Production
Energy Exploration Technologies Inc. (“EnergyX”) and General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) today announced that GM Ventures is leading a $50 million Series B financing round in EnergyX, and has entered into a strategic agreement to develop EnergyX’s lithium extraction and refinery technology. The collaboration is focused on unlocking the North American supply of lithium, a critical material for EV batteries, by using EnergyX’s innovative process to maximize efficiency while improving sustainability for GM’s rapidly scaling EV production.
EnergyX’s direct lithium extraction (DLE) technology portfolio can make lithium metal directly from brine and potentially in anode-ready form for EV batteries, which enables more cost effective and sustainable lithium recovery to unlock a vast lithium supply chain in North America that may otherwise be unviable.
🌱 Carbon Robotics Raises $30 Million in Funding to Scale AI-Powered LaserWeeder™ Platform
Carbon Robotics, a leader in AI-powered robotics, today announced it closed $30 million in Series C financing from new lead investor Sozo Ventures along with existing investors Anthos Capital, Fuse Venture Capital, Ignition Partners, Liquid2 and Voyager Capital. The funding will be used to expand sales regions in North America, optimize and scale manufacturing, develop new software and hardware products, and launch into international markets. This latest round of financing brings Carbon Robotics’ overall funding to $67 million.
Liberation Labs Secures $30 Million in Equipment Funding for First Biomanufacturing Facility
Liberation Labs, industrial biotech’s fabrication partner, has secured $30 million in equipment financing to advance development of its first commercial-scale biomanufacturing facility in Richmond, Indiana. The new facility will have a fermentation capacity of 600,000 liters with a fully dedicated downstream process (DSP). Groundbreaking is expected in June 2023 with initial plant startup by the end of 2024.
🖨️ Quantica closes €14m Series A funding round ahead of NovoJet 3D printer shipments
A full 10 million EUR has been secured by the Berlin-based company, with a further 4 million EUR attainable on the basis that certain milestones are met. The investment round was said to be led by a family office with ties to the dental industry, with participation coming from venture capital firms byFounders and Scale Capital, as well as senior employees and management. Quantica will harness the funding to further industrialise and manufacture the first products based on its NovoJet multi-material inkjet technology. It will also be used to bolster its marketing efforts as new products are brought to market, and for talent recruitment across technical and market roles.
New Origin secures €6 million to build independent photonic chips foundry
New Origin has secured €6 million in funding from PhotonDelta – a cross-border ecosystem of photonic chip technology organisations. The capital will be used to create the Netherland’s first independent photonic chips foundry that produces silicon nitride chips. The funding is part of the contribution that the Province of Overijssel has made available to PhotonDelta for a national photonics programme.
💸 Lux 8 + infinite potential
We are announcing our single largest fund to date with the successful closing of Lux Ventures VIII (Lux 8), an early-stage focused venture capital fund with $1.15 billion in Limited Partner commitments. With Lux 8, we will invest in and fully fund the most ambitious founders building hard science and deep technology companies, solving the world’s most pressing problems and futureforming the world we want to live in.
💰 Emerson Electric to buy National Instruments for $8.2 bln to deepen automation push
U.S. industrial conglomerate Emerson Electric Co (EMR.N) on Wednesday agreed to buy National Instruments Corp (NATI.O) for $8.2 billion, capping a nearly yearlong pursuit of the measurement equipment maker. The $60-per-share cash offer represents a premium of nearly 50% to National Instruments’ closing price on Jan. 12, the day before it announced a strategic review. Austin, Texas-based National Instruments’ shares rose nearly 10% to touch a record high of $57.65, while Emerson’s shares fell more than 1% to $83.1. Emerson, which had first approached National Instruments with an offer of $48 per share last May, beat out rival bidder Fortive Corp (FTV.N) in a tightly contested process late on Tuesday, according to people familiar with the matter.
Nokia expands industrial edge applications to accelerate enterprises’ transition to Industry 4.0
Nokia launched four third-party applications for MX Industrial Edge (MXIE), which help enterprises connect, collect and analyze data from operational technology (OT) assets on a robust and secure on-premises edge. Asset-heavy industries can accelerate their digital transformation and benefit most from Nokia’s OT edge ecosystem-neutral approach, which taps into innovation from many top digitalization enablers. The new applications also leverage the GPU capability recently announced on Nokia MXIE, a powerful on-premises OT edge solution that helps process data closest to the source in real time while retaining data sovereignty.
Additions to the Nokia Industrial Application Catalog include Atos Computer Vision - Quality Inspector, Crosser, Litmus Edge, and Palo Alto Networks Next-Gen Firewall
BAE Systems and Microsoft join forces to equip defence programmes with innovative cloud technology
BAE Systems and Microsoft have signed a strategic agreement aiming to support faster and easier development, deployment and management of digital defence capabilities in an increasingly data centric world. The collaboration brings together BAE Systems’ knowledge of building complex digital systems for militaries and governments with Microsoft’s approach to developing applications using its Azure Cloud platform.
Since starting the collaboration, BAE Systems and Microsoft have worked on three successful initiatives, highlighting the benefits of modern cloud software in the defence sector. These projects included enhancing real-time tactical naval intelligence through access to more dynamic data sources; development of secure software to deliver real-time updates to air platforms; and the creation of a digital thread to support the maintenance of maritime platforms from concept to disposal.