Capturing this week's zeitgeist
Industrial companies are increasingly recognizing the immense potential of generative AI (and specifically ChatGPT) to revolutionize their operations and enhance competitiveness. This week many companies released ways their products support generative AI and developed strategic partnerships. Exponential Industry started using ChatGPT back in January to see if we could design an automotive factory, and we look to continue to push the boundaries of large-language models.
- Chatbots Are Stepping Toward Supply Chains
- Cognite: What does it take to talk to your Industrial Data in the same way we talk to ChatGPT?
- NVIDIA: The Power of ChatGPT, Generative AI, and Omniverse
- Siemens and Microsoft: Leverage Generative AI to Elevate Industrial Operations
- Databricks: Why Databricks tapped its entire workforce to write training data for a ChatGPT rival
Nations continue to monitor and draft regulation.
- European Union: EU’s new AI law could decimate generative AI on the continent, warn founders
- United States: US begins study of possible rules to regulate AI like ChatGPT
- Italy: Italy’s ChatGPT ban attracts EU privacy regulators
Some companies have struggled to control ChatGPT and outright banned it.
- Samsung: Samsung Fab Data Leak: How ChatGPT Exposed Sensitive Information
- JPMorgan: JPMorgan Restricts Employees From Using ChatGPT
Lastly, Entrepreneurs look to harness ChatGPT due to its astounding reasoning capabilities.
My next swing:— Kenneth Cassel (@KennethCassel) April 21, 2023
We're making off-the-shelf robotic arms autonomous.
very early first demo + more info below pic.twitter.com/NFtY1zu7qT
This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media
🔏🚗 In-Depth Analysis of Cyber Threats to Automotive Factories
We found that Ransomware-as-a-Service (RaaS) operations, such as Conti and LockBit, are active in the automotive industry. These are characterized by stealing confidential data from within the target organization before encrypting their systems, forcing automakers to face threats of halted factory operations and public exposure of intellectual property (IP). For example, Continental (a major automotive parts manufacturer) was attacked in August, with some IT systems accessed. They immediately took response measures, restoring normal operations and cooperating with external cybersecurity experts to investigate the incident. However, in November, LockBit took to its data leak website and claimed to have 40TB of Continental’s data, offering to return the data for a ransom of $40 million.
Previous studies on automotive factories mainly focus on the general issues in the OT/ICS environment, such as difficulty in executing security updates, knowledge gaps among OT personnel regarding security, and weak vulnerability management. In light of this, TXOne Networks has conducted a detailed analysis of common automotive factory digital transformation applications to explain how attackers can gain initial access and link different threats together into a multi-pronged attack to cause significant damage to automotive factories.
In the study of industrial robots, controllers sometimes enable universal remote connection services (such as FTP or Web) or APIs defined by the manufacturer to provide operators with convenient robot operation through the Control Station. However, we found that most robot controllers do not enable any authentication mechanism by default and cannot even use it. This allows attackers lurking in the factory to directly execute any operation on robots through tools released by robot manufacturers. In the case of Digital Twin applications, attackers lurking in the factory can also use vulnerabilities in simulation devices to execute malicious code attacks on their models. When a Digital Twin’s model is attacked, it means that the generated simulation environment cannot maintain congruency with the physical environment. This entails that, after the model is tampered with, there may not necessarily be obvious malicious behavior which is a serious problem because of how long this can go unchecked and unfixed. This makes it easy for engineers to continue using the damaged Digital Twin in unknown circumstances, leading to inaccurate research and development or incorrect decisions made by the factory based on false information, which can result in greater financial losses than ransomware attacks.
Joint modelling of the order-dependent parts supply strategies sequencing, kitting and batch supply for assembly lines: insights from industrial practice
Parts can be supplied from warehouses to assembly lines via several production-order-independent and -dependent parts supply strategies. Order-dependent parts supply strategies sequencing, kitting and batch supply share enough similarities that allow joint modelling in picking order planning and execution, whereas line stocking, just-in-time, just-in-sequence and just-in-sequence kit supply require separate modelling. Joint modelling is the precondition for setting up a software system in industrial practice, covering multiple parts supply strategies efficiently. With similar input–output relations and process steps, joint algorithms can be used. This work presents insights from a software system for sequencing, kitting and batch supply implemented in the automotive industry. The main process steps modelled are order-dependent part requests determination, bundling of part requests to picking orders, scheduling and release, and picking and transportation execution. Given the prevalence of assembly lines, sharing knowledge about successful modelling of parts supply strategies is crucial both for practitioners and researchers.
Why 3D printing is vital to success of US manufacturing
🖨️ Nagami, on printing the sustainable future of interior architecture
Nagami was founded in Manuel’s mind during a research cluster, focussed on searching for a more sustainable way of building, at The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment. While “rethinking architecture from the very core”, the team started to explore the use of automation within the industry, something that was already very much relied-upon in other industries such as car manufacturing. Naturally, the use of robots was a worthwhile direction of exploration.
Nagami’s team is currently working on a ‘furnishing and architecture as a subscription’ model. For example, a retail store that updates its physical space every six months or so can do so through a ‘Nagami membership’. At the end of the season, this offering will enable these companies to return the 3D printed panels to Nagami, where they will be recycled, and reprinted in the design of the new shopfit, at a discounted rate.
🖨️ On the Ground at Zeda’s New 3D Printing Facility with Shri Shetty and Greg Morris
Zeda, originally PrinterPrezz, primarily works with medical implants and related instrumentation, and Morris explained that when PrinterPrezz acquired his Vertex Manufacturing company, they were “brought on board to continue to do what we do with aerospace and the DoD, and energy, and other industries, but also a significant medical focus and making the actual cervical spinal implants and instrumentation.”
Walking through the large factory, Morris said that, save for a few aisles, the concrete floors would all soon be covered with epoxy, some of which you can see in the above image. In terms of automation being used, we passed by a Makino a51nx 4-axis CNC machining center, and a system of “carrier pallet mobile systems,” which allows operators to set up different jobs on the steel pallets. Morris said this was “a good example of trying to take and automate equipment in order to really perform lights-out manufacturing.”
🧠 Sci-Fi on the Factory Floor: Brain-machine Interfaces
With the advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), there has also been a rise in brain-machine interface (BMI) research. Just recently, researchers at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) designed a non-invasive brain-machine interface (BMI) technology. The technology allowed users to operate a quadruped robot with their minds, showing 94% accuracy.
While robotic mind control is still a technology in research and development, a fully-integrated BMI would result in having a thought acted out in real life just by merely thinking of it. BMIs have the potential to improve reaction times and perform appropriate actions, perhaps without requiring as much job-specific training.
BMIs have the potential to reduce the response time for certain actions. Currently, a human’s response time consists of seeing an event, mentally processing it, and sending commands to the fingers and hands to interact with a human-machine interface, all while walking through a Standard Operating Procedure, which can change with time and differ from the initial training procedure. With a BMI, a plant operator can see an event, process it, and then allow the external processor to decide which actions need to be performed and in what order based on the newest code version.
Turning a broken 2 ton robot into a CNC-machine | ABB IRB6400
Weekly mergers, partnerships, and funding events across industrial value chains
Optimus Technologies Closes $17.8M Series A Led by Mitsui & Co. to Decarbonize the Transportation Industry
Optimus Technologies, a technology company that decarbonizes the largest and most challenging sectors of the transportation industry, announced today a $17.8 million Series A funding round led by Mitsui & Co. out of Tokyo, Japan. The round included participation from one of North America’s largest commercial fleets, Chevron Renewable Energy Group, and Pittsburgh regional investors including Idea Foundry, Inc., Innovation Works, Richard King Mellon Foundation, and Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh.
The capital raise will fund the further development and deployment of Optimus’ Vector System, an advanced fuel system technology which enables heavy-duty diesel engines to operate on 100% biodiesel, a biogenic near-zero carbon fuel. Heavy-duty transportation sectors are extremely challenging and costly to deploy electric or hydrogen solutions which require total replacement of existing assets, buildout of completely new infrastructure and a fundamental shift in global energy production to renewables. Conversely, Optimus Technologies’ Vector System seamlessly integrates into existing engines currently in operation or can be built into new engines as they are manufactured, leveraging the foundational diesel engine for the transition to a low-carbon future.
🔋🚙 E-magy has raised €20.5 million for the production of EV battery materials
Dutch firm E-magy has raised €20.5 million in fresh funds to get cracking on industrial scale production of a silicon material for EV batteries, one that the company claims can increase the storage capacity of lithium-ion batteries, compared to today’s industry standards. The funding round features Hydro, Invest-NL and Rubio who join existing impact investors SHIFT Invest and PDENH.
Groundlight emerges from stealth with $10M seed round to help businesses use computer vision
Groundlight, an artificial intelligence (AI) startup based in Seattle, emerged from stealth today with the launch of its new computer vision platform and $10 million in seed round funding. The round was led by Madrona, with participation from Greycroft Partners, Founders Co-op, Flying Fish, AscendVC and EssenceVC.
The platform allows developers to interpret images programmatically using simple English language instructions and minimal code. It is meant to be integrated into applications such as video stream analysis, industrial automation, process monitoring, retail analytics and robotics.
♻️⚙️ Germany's Tvarit gets €5M to pave way for AI in sustainable metal manufacturing
Tvarit, a Frankfurt-based startup that’s on a journey to enable zero-waste manufacturing, has raised €5 million in the latest funding round led by Switzerland-based Momenta (also backed Smartex) and Futury Capital. Momenta leads the Series A round for Tvarit, an Industry 5.0 solution driving net-zero metal manufacturing”. The funding will help the German startup to accelerate zero-waste manufacturing through AI-powered, waste-free, and energy-efficient metal manufacturing.
🖨️ Wayland Additive raises £4.6 million to increase production of its electron beam 3D printing solution
Huddersfield-based Wayland Additive Limited, an electron beam 3D printing manufacturer has raised £4.6 million in funding to increase its in-house production capability, expand its team and hire a COO. Investing in the round are existing investors Longwall Ventures, Parkwalk Advisors and ACF Investors, along with new investor Metrea Discovery.
🖨️ Chamlion Closes 236M Yuan in Series B Funding
Chamlion, a Nanjing, China-based company focused on the digitalization of processes of dentistry, raised 236M Yuan in Series B funding. The round was led by 3H Health, followed by Vertex Ventures China, existing shareholder Zhencheng Capital, and Taihe Capital. The company intends to use the funds to further expand its domestic and overseas business, including the in-depth promotion and upgrade of their existing product line, to consolidate its position in the field of dental digitalization.
Oshkosh Corporation invests in LiDAR technology company Baraja
Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE OSK), a leading innovator of purpose-built vehicles and equipment, is pleased to announce that it has invested in Baraja Pty, Ltd., an Australia-based startup that develops differentiated LiDAR solutions. The Oshkosh investment in Baraja supports the company’s dedication to innovating solutions that enhance and differentiate its product portfolio in the areas of active safety and autonomy.
Baraja is developing high-performance LiDAR technology that is more capable and reliable than legacy LiDAR systems, for use in harsh environments. One of Baraja’s unique enablers is the use of prism-like optics instead of mechanical steering to scan the environment in a solid-state fashion, resulting in a high-quality pointcloud for use in self-driving vehicles and equipment.
Meet Lumaux, a Dutch-based new investment fund focusing on robotics, energy transition and mobility
To bolster the growth of innovative startups and scale-ups, a new investment fund that focuses on technology has emerged in the Netherlands Based out of Eindhoven, Lumaux will support high-potential businesses with a multidisciplinary team and resources.
The Eindhoven firm has set high-level investment criteria for potential investments, including a focus on high-tech startups and scale-ups with a portfolio mix of early- and later-stage companies, a software/hardware product combination, and a base in The Netherlands.