Pioneering Facility Designs to Drive Advanced Manufacturing Forward
Capturing this week's zeitgeist
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One example is planned investment into opportunity zones to create new advanced manufacturing skills in Chicago:
Today, manufacturing and hardtech innovation center, mHUB, announces the $50M acquisition and build-out of a historic manufacturing facility within Chicago’s Kinzie Industrial Corridor on the city’s Near West Side. The building is located within a designated Opportunity Zone and planned manufacturing district on a 2-acre site that will increase mHUB’s prototyping and testing facilities and office and convening spaces to become the largest independent manufacturing innovation center in the country.
But this is not a US-only phenomenon, Australia’s Adelaide region is getting an advanced manufacturing hub of its own.
Bedford, Leyton Property and Leyton Funds are partnering to create a state-of-the-art manufacturing hub in Adelaide’s north, unveiling plans for what is believed will be Australia’s largest social enterprise site.
The hub will offer employment opportunities to people of all abilities and will specialise in the advanced manufacture of furniture and the supply of components to the commercial joinery and construction industry.
This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media
Inside GE Appliance's State-of-the-Art Water Heater Assembly Plant
A variety of manufacturers produce electric and hot water heaters for residential applications, including GE Appliances, a Haier company. To increase production capacity, it recently invested $70 million in a state-of-the-art manufacturing plant in Camden, SC. The 265,000-square-foot facility also serves as the company’s Center of Excellence for water heater manufacturing. The investment included advanced systems for metal fabrication and welding, plus robots for material handling and processing.
GE Appliances’ engineers carefully considered quality, safety and ease of manufacturing when designing and laying out the plant. “Automation was selected to provide predictable, consistent quality of products in an environment that is safe and ergonomically friendly to our operations team,” explains Zimmer.
“We focused on creating a production process centered around operators,” says Scheffel. “We looked at different approaches to ensure the best way to present parts from an ease of access point of view. We paid special attention to ergonomics to ensure there were zero ‘ergo red’ jobs on the plant floor.
“In addition, the other big consideration was the efficient flow of material through the plant,” notes Scheffel. “For instance, we made the final assembly line a forklift-free zone. All materials are delivered to workstations with automated guided vehicles and tuggers.”
Advanced expertise required to execute complex cold storage warehouses
Constructing a state-of-the-art cold storage facility is only possible with the right building site. Location is key and must be close to where food is grown and/or harvested or near other manufacturing locations. The site needs access to interstates and potentially to railways, ports and waterways. A traffic assessment is necessary to determine whether the site can accommodate construction traffic and business-related traffic once the facility is in operation.
Because developers cannot build out in most urban and suburban areas, increasing the building’s footprint, they’re building up. These tall buildings often use automated storage and retrieval systems (AS/RS) designed to operate in vertical spaces. While evaluating AS/RS, it is essential to consider the factors that help drive the level of automation within a building.
In addition to labor costs, inventory turnover and SKU variety, other factors to consider may include, but may not be limited to, performance (design throughput versus actual) and proforma duration (reasonable expectation of improved performance over time). A pragmatic evaluation of these factors may prove to be a prudent approach in selecting the degree of automation within a facility.
Assystem Creates a Digital Twin for Nuclear Plants with Altair
This AI Hunts for Hidden Hoards of Battery Metals
The mining industry’s rate of successful exploration—meaning the number of big deposit discoveries found per dollar invested—has been declining for decades. At KoBold, we sometimes talk about “Eroom’s law of mining.” As its reversed name suggests, it’s like the opposite of Moore’s law. In accordance with Eroom’s law of mining, the number of ore deposits discovered per dollar of capital invested has decreased by a factor of 8 over the last 30 years. (The original Eroom’s law refers to a similar trend in the cost of new pharmaceutical discoveries.)
Our exploration program in northern Quebec provides a good case study. We began by using machine learning to predict where we were most likely to find nickel in concentrations significant enough to be worth mining. We train our models using any available data on a region’s underlying physics and geology, and supplement the results with expert insights from our geologists. In Quebec, the models pointed us to land less than 20 km from currently operating mines.
Over the course of the summer in Quebec, we drilled 10 exploration holes, each more than a kilometer away from the last. Each drilling location was determined by combining the results from our predictive models with the expert judgment of our geologists. In each instance, the collected data indicated we’d find conductive bodies in the right geologic setting—possible minable ore deposits, in other words—below the surface. Ultimately, we hit nickel-sulfide mineralization in 8 of the 10 drill holes, which equates to easily 10 times better than the industry average for similarly isolated drill holes.
How chemists could give new life to old wind turbine blades
But when it’s time to decommission one, a wind turbine’s strength can become a weakness. Because the blades are designed to be so durable, the materials used to build them can’t currently be recycled. And about 43 million tons of these blades will be decommissioned by 2050. The new work describes a way to recover the main components of wind turbine blades, breaking down the plastic that holds them together without destroying the material’s primary building blocks.
To break down the epoxy materials, researchers submerged them in a mixture of solvents and added a catalyst, which helped accelerate the chemical reaction. They heated everything up to 160 °C (320 °F) for between 16 hours and several days, until the target material was fully broken down. After some initial tests, the researchers used their method to chew up a one-inch-square chunk of a wind turbine blade. After six days, the result was nearly spotless glass fibers (and a supporting metal sheet that runs through most turbine blades) and vials of ingredients that could be used again in new materials.
AI vision for print quality inspection on bottles
Tesla’s Magnet Mystery
A minor detail in Elon Musk’s “Master Plan Part 3” made big news in an obscure corner of physics. Colin Campbell, an executive in Tesla’s powertrain division, announced that his team was expunging rare-earth magnets from its motors, citing supply chain concerns and the toxicity of producing them.
Still, it’s unlikely that Tesla is simply replacing its magnets with something far worse, like ferrite, without making other changes. “You’ll have a huge magnet to carry around in a car,” says Alena Vishina, a physicist at Uppsala University. Luckily, a motor is a fairly complex machine with plenty of other components that, in theory, can be rearranged to soften the penalty of using weaker magnets. In computer models, materials company Proterial recently determined that by carefully positioning ferrite magnets and tweaking other aspects of motor design, many performance metrics of rare-earth-driven motors can be replicated. The result in that case was a motor that’s only about 30 percent heavier, a difference that could be small relative to a car’s overall bulk.
All in all, if you’re in a business where you can make an alternative work, it probably makes sense to do so, says Jim Chelikowsky, a physicist who studies magnetic materials at the University of Texas, Austin. But there are all kinds of reasons, he says, to look for better alternatives to rare earth magnets than ferrite. The challenge is finding materials with three essential qualities: They need to be magnetic, to hold that magnetism in the presence of other magnetic fields, and to tolerate high temperatures. Hot magnets cease to be magnets.
How recovery facilities improve performance with AI residue line analysis
Residue lines hold a lot of potential for recovery facilities. That’s because they often contain more of your raw materials than you’d like, which could have been turned into revenue. Assessing the residue stream is like a blood test for your plant, if there’s a lot of valuable material on the conveyor belt, your operations need a check-up.
The more material a facility recovers, the less it sends to landfills. If this plant recovered more valuable material, they wouldn’t just make money on their products — based on UK fees, they’d save £56,000 a month by cutting unnecessary gate fees.
Enabling 3D Printing Automation with HP and Siemens
Weekly mergers, partnerships, and funding events across industrial value chains
Redaptive Closes Next Phase of Series E Funding Round with Further Investment from Linse Capital
Redaptive, a leading provider of Energy-as-a-Service solutions, today announced an additional investment in its series E funding round from long-term investor Linse Capital. This funding represents another significant step towards expanding Redaptive’s offerings and supporting more customers.
This latest investment follows recent contributions to the round made by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPP Investments), Honeywell, CBRE, and others - bringing the total amount raised for this round to approximately $250 million. With this, Redaptive will continue to support enterprise customers with data-driven energy generation and efficiency programs including HVAC, LED lighting, solar, EV, as well as Data Solutions, and other utility upgrades that can be deployed at large sites or across distributed real estate portfolios.
Joby Aviation to get investment from Tesla shareholder Baillie Gifford
British investment management firm Baillie Gifford will invest $180 million in electric aircraft maker Joby Aviation (JOBY.N), they said on Wednesday. This comes days after Joby clinched a $55 million contract extension to deliver up to nine air taxis to the U.S. Air Force, marking the company’s first revenue-generating operations.
Unlike other electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) manufacturers, which plan to sell aircraft to customers such as airlines and logistics companies, Joby’s business model is similar to a rideshare app.
BrainBox AI Announces US$20 Million Investment from Québec Government and ABB; and Enters into Agreement to Acquire ABB Multi-Site Retail Business
BrainBox AI, a leader in autonomous building technology, today announced a US$20 million fundraise to support the continued development of BrainBox AI’s cutting edge decarbonization technology and its global commercialization efforts. The company is pleased to name The Government of Québec as a lead investor for 10 million US dollars, alongside ABB, a returning lead investor and global partner to BrainBox AI.
AI and cloud enabled HVAC autonomous control, natively integrated with the leading on-premise EMS solution, will offer retailers an unparalleled ability to operate their stores and achieve their pressing decarbonization goals.
Impact Nano, chip materials startup, wins funding from Intel, Goldman Sachs
Impact Nano, a Massachusetts-based startup that makes specialty chemicals for the semiconductor industry and others, said on Thursday it raised $32 million in funding from investors including Intel Capital and Goldman Sachs Asset Management.
Stephens said Impact Nano is inventing new ways to produce chemicals that chip makers use. Among the company’s focus areas, he said, are increasing the purity of the chemicals, finding raw materials that are more abundant and comply with ethical guidelines, and making the process more environmentally friendly.
Pando raises $30 million amidst funding winter, to future-proof enterprise supply chains
Supply chain software leader, Pando, today announced its Series B funding of $30 million, bringing total capital raised so far, to $45 million. The round was led by marquee Silicon Valley investors Iron Pillar and Uncorrelated Ventures, with participation from existing investors Nexus Venture Partners, Chiratae Ventures and Next47. The fresh funds will be used to drive Pando’s growth across geographies and industries.
WAVE Equity Partners Commits $30 Million to MayMaan Research, Inc. to Fuel Sustainable Energy Revolution
MayMaan Research, Inc. (MayMaan) is pleased to announce a commitment by WAVE Equity Partners LLC (WAVE) for a $30 million Series A Preferred investment. WAVE is a leading investor in essential industries, including clean air, water, food, advanced materials, and recycling that make a meaningful environmental impact. This investment recognizes the immense potential of MayMaan’s AquaStroke® technology, which uses a unique water-ethanol based fuel to create cleaner combustion engines and generators, while reducing emissions and costs. This not only cuts carbon emissions but also provides a cleaner energy alternative to traditional fossil fuels. With this funding, MayMaan is poised to accelerate the development and deployment of its state-of-the-art clean energy solutions, thereby paving the way for a more sustainable future.
Figma co-founder backs Berlin-based engineering intelligence startup SPREAD in €14.5M funding round
Berlin-based SPREAD, an Engineering Intelligence startup for complex mechatronic products, announced on Wednesday that it has raised $16M (approximately €14.5M) in a Series A round of funding. The round was led by HV Capital with participation from existing investors Cavalry Ventures and angel investors Dylan Field – Figma Co-Founder & CEO, and the founders of logistics unicorn Sennder, among others.
SPREAD says it will use the capital to scale its early successes outside of automotive to new markets. The company will also grow the platform’s capabilities and expand the reach of the Engineering Intelligence Network.
DeepHow Raises $14M Series A Funding to Transform How Enterprises Capture and Transfer Technical Know-How
DeepHow, the AI company that turns technical know-how into smart, how-to training videos, has closed $14M in Series A funding. Owl Ventures, a specialist in education technology investing, led the round, with participation from another new investor LG Technology Ventures. Existing investors Sierra Ventures, Qualcomm Ventures, Osage Venture Partners, and Foothill Ventures also participated in this round.
DeepHow plans to invest in go-to-market initiatives to accelerate its business growth, and to ramp up its investments in product, engineering, and generative AI innovation. In response to customer demand, DeepHow has already fast-tracked development of powerful product enhancements that leverage the power of generative AI to accelerate SOP video creation, multimodal workflow generation, AI chat assistance, and strategic knowledge mapping.
Arconic to Be Acquired by Apollo Funds
Arconic Corporation (NYSE ARNC) (“Arconic” or the “Company”) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by funds managed by affiliates of Apollo Global Management, Inc. (NYSE APO) (“Apollo”), in an all-cash transaction that values the Company at an enterprise value of approximately $5.2 billion. The transaction includes a minority investment from funds managed by affiliates of Irenic Capital Management (“Irenic”).
The agreement provides that Arconic shareholders will receive $30.00 per share in cash, which represents a premium of approximately 36% to the Company’s undisturbed closing stock price on February 27, 2023. Upon completion of the transaction, Arconic’s shares will no longer trade on the New York Stock Exchange, and Arconic will become a private company.
DuPont to Acquire Spectrum Plastics Group from AEA Investors
DuPont (NYSE DD) today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Spectrum Plastics Group (“Spectrum”) from AEA Investors. The purchase price will be paid from existing cash balances. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third quarter of 2023, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions
Spectrum is a recognized leader in advanced manufacturing of specialty medical devices and components, serving 22 of the top 26 medical device OEMs with a strategic focus on key fast-growing therapeutic areas such as structural heart, electrophysiology, surgical robotics and cardiovascular.
AMETEK Acquires Bison Gear & Engineering Corp.
AMETEK, Inc. (NYSE AME) today announced the acquisition of Bison Gear & Engineering Corp. (Bison), a leading manufacturer of highly engineered motion control solutions serving diverse markets and applications.
Bison designs and manufactures custom motion control solutions for use in demanding and high precision applications within the automation, power, food and beverage, and transportation markets. With a strong focus on innovation, quality, and customer service, Bison has established a reputation as a trusted and reliable provider of highly engineered products and solutions.
Advantech and Altizon Partnership Accelerates Industry 4.0 Transformation for Sustainable, Efficient Digital Factory Operations
Advantech, a leading provider of industrial Internet of Things (IoT) hardware and automation technology, and Altizon, a global software provider of Industrial IoT platform, Datonis Digital Factory, are proud to announce the launch of their joint solution designed for ease of transformation to a smart factory.
The solution bundle includes specially selected Advantech edge hardware and Altizon’s Datonis Digital Factory platform, pre-validated and pre-installed to ensure smooth deployment. Altizon’s platform provides a ready-made suite of applications that digitize critical operational functions, such as production, maintenance, quality, energy and sustainability.
Mitsubishi Corp. to launch $1bn decarbonization fund for startups
Japanese trading house Mitsubishi Corp., together with MUFG bank and others, will launch one of the largest decarbonization funds in Japan, Nikkei has learned. The fund will invest a total of $1 billion in startup companies with promising technologies in areas such as floating offshore wind turbines and sustainable aviation fuel.