Shifting Job Responsibilities for Frontline Operators with AI Reasoning


Shop Talk

Capturing this week's zeitgeist

From David Axe in “What’s Perfectly Round, Made Of Metal, And Keeping Russia From Replacing the 2,000 Tanks It’s Lost In Ukraine?

Given a choice between building fewer tanks or freezing transport across Russia, Moscow did the smart thing—and chose the former.

“While Moscow might be able to substitute the import of Western bearings and thus maintain the level of defense-sector production needed to continue its war effort, these bearings will most likely be of a lower quality, which could impact reliability.”

Ball bearings have tormented even advanced industrial nations.

It has sent rockets into space, produced millions of the world’s smartphones and built high-speed trains. But until now, one bit of manufacturing had perhaps unexpectedly eluded China: the ballpoint pen.

The problem was not the body of the pen, but the tip - the tiny ball that dispenses ink as you write. It might be something we take for granted, but making them requires high-precision machinery and very hard, ultra-thin steel plates.

Assembly Line

This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media

🧠 How a Data Fabric Gets Snow Tires to a Store When You Need Them

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Susan Hall

🔖 Topics: Supply Chain Control Tower, Data Architecture

🏢 Organizations: American Tire Distributors, Promethium

“We were losing sales because the store owners were unable to answer the customers’ questions as to when exactly they would have the product in stock,” said Ehrar Jameel, director of data and analytics at ATD. The company didn’t want frustrated customers looking elsewhere. So he wanted to create what he called a “supply chain control tower” for data just like the ones at the airport.

“I wanted to give a single vision, a single pane of glass for the business, to just put in a SKU number and be able to see where that product is in the whole supply chain —not just the supply chain, but in the whole value chain of the company. ATD turned to Promethium, which provides a virtual data platform automating data management and governance across a distributed architecture with a combination of data fabric and self-service analytics capabilities.

It’s built on top of the open source SQL query engine Presto, which allows users to query data wherever it resides. It normalizes the data for query into an ANSI-compliant standard syntax, whether it comes from Oracle, Google BigQuery, Snowflake or wherever. It integrates with other business intelligence tools such as Tableau and can be used to create data pipelines. It uses natural language processing and artificial intelligence plus something it calls a “reasoner” to figure out, based on what you asked, what you’re really trying to do and the best data to answer that question.

Read more at The New Stack

🧠 What is Visual Prompting?

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Mark Sabini

🔖 Topics: Generative AI

🏢 Organizations: Landing AI

Landing AI’s Visual Prompting capability is an innovative approach that takes text prompting, used in applications such as ChatGPT, to computer vision. The impressive part? With only a few clicks, you can transform an unlabeled dataset into a deployed model in mere minutes. This results in a significantly simplified, faster, and more user-friendly workflow for applying computer vision.

In a quest to make Visual Prompting more practical for customers, we studied 40 projects across the manufacturing, agriculture, medical, pharmaceutical, life sciences, and satellite imagery verticals. Our analysis revealed that Visual Prompting alone could solve just 10% of the cases, but the addition of simple post-processing logic increases this to 68%.

Read more at Landing AI Blog

3D Printed Generative Design Drone Chassis

🖨️ Replacement Parts are a 3D Print Away

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Eric Utley

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: Protolabs

The first and largest hurdle to 3D printing a replacement part is getting a 3D CAD of the part to accurately describe the part’s geometry. In rare circumstances, you may get lucky and find such a file on the internet or find a technical drawing identifying the dimensions. For a simple part you could recreate the design by taking careful measurements with calipers, but often for more complex or organic parts, the part will need to be 3D scanned. This process can cost a few hundred dollars with a company that offers a professional service. Increasingly, there are solutions to 3D scan using smartphones, but the results are quite inaccurate. The 3D scan data may require some additional work to get it a clean, 3D-printable file. An STL file can be used for 3D printing, but STP files are better because they can be used for a myriad of other manufacturing processes outside of 3D printing.

3D printing can be used to satisfy demand for low volumes of custom parts that may be lighter or personalized. For many industries, there is a small segment of the market willing to pay more for a custom version of the product, and 3D printing gives an avenue to explore and satisfy that market demand.

Read more at Machine Design

Training ChatGPT on Omniverse Visual Scripting Using Prompt Engineering

🧠 Data-Driven Wind Farm Control via Multiplayer Deep Reinforcement Learning

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Hongyang Dong, Xiaowei Zhao

🔖 Topics: Machine Learning, Reinforcement Learning

🏢 Organizations: University of Warwick

This brief proposes a novel data-driven control scheme to maximize the total power output of wind farms subject to strong aerodynamic interactions among wind turbines. The proposed method is model-free and has strong robustness, adaptability, and applicability. Particularly, distinct from the state-of-the-art data-driven wind farm control methods that commonly use the steady-state or time-averaged data (such as turbines’ power outputs under steady wind conditions or from steady-state models) to carry out learning, the proposed method directly mines in-depth the time-series data measured at turbine rotors under time-varying wind conditions to achieve farm-level power maximization. The control scheme is built on a novel multiplayer deep reinforcement learning method (MPDRL), in which a special critic–actor–distractor structure, along with deep neural networks (DNNs), is designed to handle the stochastic feature of wind speeds and learn optimal control policies subject to a user-defined performance metric. The effectiveness, robustness, and scalability of the proposed MPDRL-based wind farm control method are tested by prototypical case studies with a dynamic wind farm simulator (WFSim). Compared with the commonly used greedy strategy, the proposed method leads to clear increases in farm-level power generation in case studies.

Read more at IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology

Capital Expenditure

Weekly mergers, partnerships, and funding events across industrial value chains

EquipmentShare Completes $290 Million Funding Round Led by BDT Capital Partners

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: EquipmentShare, BDT Capital Partners

EquipmentShare, an equipment and digital solutions provider serving the construction industry, announces the completion of a $290 million funding round led by funds affiliated with BDT Capital Partners. This round also included participation from existing investors such as RedBird Capital Partners, Tru Arrow Partners, and Sound Ventures, as well as several new investors including Brown Advisors.

“This successful and substantial equity raise is a testament to the strength of EquipmentShare and our robust growth profile,” said Trevor Schauenberg, CFO of EquipmentShare. “This capital will allow us to expand our US footprint, continue to invest in our T3 technology platform and further strengthen our balance sheet for future opportunities.”

Read more at PRNewswire

e2ip technologies Completes $120 Million Growth Funding Round

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: e2ip technologies, McRock Capital

e2ip technologies, a global printed electronics and embedded system technologies innovation leader of the Human Machine Interface (HMI) and Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) sectors, announced today the completion of its oversubscribed global growth funding round. The Series B financing is co-led by Export Development Canada (EDC) and McRock Capital with existing investor Investissement Québec, who more than doubles its position, and new investor DNA Fund. The round is also supported by National Bank of Canada (BNC). Founding investors W and Namakor remain.

The investment provides e2ip technologies with growth capital to productize decades of HMI and IIoT technology leadership from its high-performance engineered solutions business and to grow global revenue through the digital deployment of its productized and ready-to-use printed electronics, embedded systems, touchscreen and In-Mold-Electronics (IME) platforms.

Read more at PRNewswire

3D Glass Solutions Closes $30 Million Series C Funding Round

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: 3D Glass Solutions, Walden Catalyst Ventures, Lockheed Martin, Intel

3D Glass Solutions Inc. (3DGS), a leading innovator of glass-based three-dimensional integrated passive solutions for radio frequency (RF), photonic and datacenters today announced the closing of a $30 million Series C financing. The round was led by Walden Catalyst Ventures, with participation from existing investors, including Intel Capital and Lockheed Martin Ventures, as well as new investments from Applied Ventures, LLC, Cambium Capital, and Mesh Cooperative Ventures.

3DGS will use this funding to increase its US based manufacturing capacity for high-volume production of superior performance 3D integrated passives and substrate products. Lip-Bu Tan, chair of Walden International and founding managing partner of Walden Catalyst Ventures, will join 3DGS’ Board of Directors.

Read more at Business Wire

Cyclic Materials Raises $27m Series A to Scale Advanced Critical Metals Recycling Technology

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Cyclic Materials, Energy Impact Partners, BMW

Cyclic Materials, an advanced metals recycling company focused on producing critical materials, today announced it has raised $27 million in an oversubscribed Series A financing. The round was led by Energy Impact Partners (EIP) and BMW i Ventures (BiV) and included participation from Fifth Wall, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada (BIC), and existing Cyclic Materials investor Planetary Technologies. This funding round brings the company’s total capital raised to over $30 million and will contribute to the scale up of its technologies.

Read more at Cyclic Materials

Ox Raises $12.6M to Pioneer Human Centered AI to Dramatically Improve Frontline Supply Chain Operations

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Ox, BBG Ventures, MaC Venture Capital

Ox, an AI-powered technology platform for frontline operations, today announced the closing of a $12.6 million Series A round co-led by BBG Ventures and MaC Venture Capital. The round also includes participation from existing investors, Cortado Ventures, Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund, Florida Funders, KCRise, Tech Square Labs, and Vuzix, and new investors, Atento Capital and Agya Ventures.

Ox’s leading innovation is a patented wearable device experience that features novel voice capabilities and visual-based workflows directed through artificial intelligence. The funding will be used to fuel customer expansion, scale additional use cases, and further pioneer the human centered automation category throughout frontline operations.

Read more at PRNewswire

Good vibrations as Productive Machines raises £2.2 million for machine tool AI

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Productive Machines, University of Sheffield

Sheffield-based Productive Machines, an AI start-up has raised £2.2 million in Seed funding to expand the reach of its advanced machine tool process optimisation technology. A spin out of The University of Sheffield, Productive Machines is commercialising its The University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) six-year research project to a fully-automated Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) product.

The round was led by UK Innovation & Science Seed Fund (UKI2S)and includes NPIF – Mercia Equity Finance, ACT Venture Partners and Fuel Ventures, alongside grant funding from Innovate UK.

Read more at Tech EU

HydRegen raises £2.6 million to clean up the chemical manufacturing and pharmaceutical industries

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: HydRegen, University of Oxford

HydRegen, the Oxford-based biotechnology company enabling sustainable chemical manufacturing, has secured a £2.6 million investment as part of its latest fundraise, led by Clean Growth Fund, the UK clean-tech venture capital fund.

The new investment from Clean Growth Fund, alongside a group of existing investors, will support the commercial development and deployment of HydRegen’s technologies through the next 18 months. HydRegen plans to license its technology to companies manufacturing pharmaceutical and chemical products around the world. To do this, it also plans to expand its team over the next 12 months.

Read more at HydRegen News

Carrier Announces Portfolio Transformation to Create Global Leader in Intelligent Climate and Energy Solutions

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Acquisition

🏢 Organizations: Carrier, Viessmann Climate Solutions

Carrier Global Corporation (NYSE: CARR) today announced strategic actions that will transform the Company’s business portfolio and establish Carrier as a pure-play, global leader in intelligent climate and energy solutions.

Carrier will acquire Viessmann Climate Solutions, the largest segment of Viessmann Group, in a cash and stock transaction valued at €12 billion, subject to working capital and other adjustments. The value represents approximately 13X synergized projected 2023 EBITDA. A privately held company with a 106-year legacy of innovation, Viessmann Climate Solutions provides Carrier with an iconic, premium brand in the highest growth segment of the global heat pump and energy transition markets. In addition, Carrier announced plans to exit its Fire & Security and Commercial Refrigeration cabinet businesses.

Read more at Carrier News

Honeywell to Acquire Compress Controls Corporation, Driving the Energy Transition Through Leading Automation and Control Portfolio

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Acquisition

🏢 Organizations: Honeywell, Clayton Dubilier Rice

Honeywell (Nasdaq: HON) today announced it has agreed to acquire Compressor Controls Corporation (CCC) from INDICOR, LLC, which is owned by funds affiliated with private equity firm Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, LLC and Roper Technologies, Inc., for $670 million, which represents ~15x 2023E EBITDA on a tax adjusted basis, in an all-cash transaction. CCC is a leading provider of turbomachinery control and optimization solutions, including control hardware, software and services, and primarily serves the LNG, gas processing, refining and petrochemical segments.

Read more at PRNewswire

Rising demand for SiC chips: Bosch plans to acquire U.S. chipmaker TSI Semiconductors

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Acquisition

🏢 Organizations: Bosch, TSI Semiconductor

Bosch is expanding its semiconductor business with silicon carbide chips. The technology company plans to acquire assets of the U.S. chipmaker TSI Semiconductors, based in Roseville, California. With a workforce of 250, the company is a foundry for application-specific integrated circuits, or ASICs. Currently, it mainly develops and produces large volumes of chips on 200-millimeter silicon wafers for applications in the mobility, telecommunications, energy, and life sciences industries. Over the next years, Bosch intends to invest more than 1.5 billion USD in the Roseville site and convert the TSI Semiconductors manufacturing facilities to state-of-the-art processes. Starting in 2026, the first chips will be produced on 200-millimeter wafers based on the innovative material silicon carbide (SiC).

Read more at Bosch Press

General Motors and Samsung SDI Plan to Invest More than $3 Billion to Expand U.S. Battery Cell Manufacturing

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Partnership

🏢 Organizations: General Motors, Samsung SDI

General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) and Samsung SDI announced today they plan to invest more than $3 billion to build a new battery cell manufacturing plant in the United States that is targeted to begin operations in 2026. The plant will have more than 30 GWh of capacity and will bring GM’s total U.S. battery cell capacity to about 160 GWh when it is at full production. The companies plan to jointly operate the facility, and it is projected to have production lines to build nickel-rich prismatic and cylindrical cells.

Read more at GM Newsroom

Joby and Toyota Expand Partnership with Long-Term Supply Agreement for Key Powertrain and Actuation Components

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Partnership

🏢 Organizations: Toyota, Joby Aviation

The agreement builds on the long-standing partnership between Joby and Toyota, which has seen the two companies collaborate on a wide variety of projects to support the production and assembly of the Joby aircraft, including advising on the design of Joby’s pilot production line in Marina, CA. Toyota is also Joby’s largest external shareholder, having invested around $400 million in the Company.

Read more at Joby Aviation News