Capturing this week's zeitgeist
Working relations with suppliers tracked by Plante Moran:
The Working Relations Index measures the total commercial relationship, which is a function of perceived trust, timely communication, mutual profit opportunity, assistance, and a reduction in friction in dealings with automakers.
According to Plante Moran, the results of the study show rising tension over increased risk related to short-term cost-recovery issues, production scheduling, and supply chain disruptions as the industry transitions to electric vehicles. These are compounded by long-term strategic issues suppliers have related to adequate insight into the automakers’ EV strategy and timing so they can effectively plan for the transition in terms of adequate capital, acquisitions, and staffing investment.
From How the New Tax Code Will Impact Small Businesses by Marlin Steel:
Innovation and research and development (R&D) play a critical role in the manufacturing industry and are essential to the success of companies that want to stay competitive and meet the ever-evolving needs of their customers. Unfortunately, recent tax changes are making it more difficult for small manufacturers to invest in R&D. Companies such as Marlin Steel will be feeling the effects of these changes.
Under the new rules, businesses are now required to spread their R&D deductions over several years, whereas before, they could deduct all of their R&D expenses in the same year those expenses occurred. This change means that smaller companies, like Marlin Steel, will have a much harder time making investments in innovation.
This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media
✈️ Korean Air Makes Progress On Drone Swarm Inspections
Korean Air is making progress on its novel approach to drone-based aircraft inspections, which uses a swarm of drones to further reduce inspection time and ensure complete coverage even if one drone malfunctions. Since demonstrating the drone swarms in late 2021, the airline has refined the technology and received government support to further development.
The airline’s drone swarm approach uses the latest drone enhancements, such as pre-set inspection plans, geofencing to keep drones in restricted areas, a collision avoidance system and artificial intelligence (AI). The drones are made locally by a Korean manufacturer. AI will enable the drones to detect various defects such as dents and cracks.
Turbotech Soars with Sustainable Aviation Solutions Powered by Ansys Multiphysics Simulation
Why vibration control is key to semiconductor manufacturing
Although these manufacturing sites can be vast, most of the equipment is not directly used in the manufacture of silicon chips. Manufacturing at the nanoscale requires highly controlled conditions, so the fabs require an extensive range of heating, cooling and filtration systems. This plant equipment makes up approximately 90% of the equipment located at a typical fab.
This equipment ensures the correct temperature, humidity level and particulate level for the optimal production of chips. However, while solving one problem, it also introduces another. Mechanical systems and HVAC systems all generate vibration which, if left unmitigated, could disrupt sensitive precision manufacturing processes and interfere with chip production. ‘‘Vibration control is key to making these things work,’’ Adam explained.
One of the unique features of this project was the vast scale. In total, there were approximately 130 kilometres of piping and 3.2 kilometres of ductwork. The project therefore required a staggering 3,800 mounts. ‘‘I’ve worked on all sorts of projects at this stage of my career, but nothing can touch this one in terms of scale. Nothing is even close,’’ Adam reflected.
The Impact Of Machine Learning On Chip Design
Behind the Scenes: GE Appliances' $80 Million Dishwasher Line
Weekly mergers, partnerships, and funding events across industrial value chains
🖨️ Stratasys to Combine with Desktop Metal in Approximately $1.8 Billion All-Stock Transaction
Stratasys Ltd. (Nasdaq SSYS) (“Stratasys”) and Desktop Metal, Inc. (NYSE DM) (“Desktop Metal”) today announced that they have entered into a definitive agreement whereby the companies will combine in an all-stock transaction valued at approximately $1.8 billion. The transaction unites the polymer strengths of Stratasys with the complementary industrial mass production leadership of Desktop Metal’s brands, creating an additive manufacturing company that is expected to be well-positioned to serve the evolving needs of customers in manufacturing.
Stratasys and Desktop Metal are expected to generate $1.1 billion in 2025 revenue, with significant upside potential in a total addressable market of more than $100 billion by 2032.
BenchSci Raises $95 Million Series D Funding to Enable Drug Discovery Innovation at Scale With its Groundbreaking AI Platform ASCEND
BenchSci, a world leader in AI solutions for preclinical life sciences research and development (R&D), today announced a $95 million (US $70 million) Series D funding round led by Generation Investment Management, with participation from existing investors iNovia Capital, TCV, Golden Ventures and F-Prime Capital. The most recent funding brings BenchSci’s total funds raised to $218 million (US $170 million).
The funds will be used to expand the company’s revolutionary AI drug discovery platform, ASCEND™ by BenchSci, which enables scientists to discover biological connections, dramatically reduce trial-and-error experimentation and uncover risks early. ASCEND users from BenchSci’s top 10 customers were able to uncover novel targets and disease indications in 22% of key projects and reduced unnecessary experimentation by 40%, contributing to a new era of more efficient, AI-driven drug discovery.
Ayar Labs Adds $25 Million in Expansion of its $130 Million Series C
Ayar Labs, a leader in silicon photonics for chip-to-chip connectivity, announced it has raised an additional $25 million in Series C1 funding, bringing its total Series C raise to $155 million. The oversubscribed up round was led by new investor Capital TEN. VentureTech Alliance also entered the Series C expansion that included participation by previous investors Boardman Bay Capital Management, IAG Capital Partners, NVIDIA, and Tyche Partners. Existing strategic and financial investors include Applied Ventures, GlobalFoundries, Hewlett Packard Pathfinder, Intel Capital and Lockheed Martin Ventures.
Infinite Uptime Raises $18.85 Million in Series B3 Funding Led by Tiger Global
Infinite Uptime, a provider of predictive maintenance solutions for industrial machinery has raised $18.85 million in its Series B3 funding round. The round was led by Tiger Global, a global investment firm, with participation from existing investors GSR Ventures, VenturEast, Mayfield, and THK. The company is also backed by Belgium-based innovative impact investor, KOIS.fund.
The company claims that its cutting-edge technology digitises assets and leverages vibration monitoring to diagnose faults and provide recommendations for large-scale industrial machinery remotely. It is currently serving more than 300 customers globally. Its clientele includes Vedanta Group, JSW Group, Tata Group, THK, Schlumberger, Marubeni Group, Ceat Tyres, Aditya Birla Group and Coca-Cola. The Series B3 funding will enable the company to further strengthen its global market share and multiply value delivery and service quality across industry segments.
Volition raises $11M to scale the world's largest industrial parts marketplace
Volition today has announced an $11M seed round led by Newark Venture Partners and Quiet Capital, with major participation from Lachy Groom, Alan Rutledge, Julian Capital, and Humba (Susa) Ventures. Volition is the first and only online industrial parts marketplace designed specifically for the needs of the hardware development world. It aims to accelerate the pace of hardware innovation by serving as the hub that organizes all of the world’s components.
U. S. Steel Closes on $240 Million Financing to Support Big River 2
United States Steel Corporation (NYSE X) (“U. S. Steel” or the “Company”) today announced the closing of $240 million unsecured Arkansas Development Finance Authority environmental improvement revenue bonds, which carry a green bond designation (the “Green Bonds”). The Green Bonds, issued through Arkansas Development Finance Authority, have a coupon rate of 5.70% and carry a final maturity of 2053. Under the agreement with the Arkansas bond issuer, U. S. Steel will pay semiannual interest.
The Company will use the proceeds from the Green Bonds to partially fund work related to its new technologically advanced flat rolled steelmaking facility, Big River 2 (“BR2”), currently under construction near Osceola, Arkansas. The facility will recycle, refine, and process scrap steel into finished steel products.
🖨️ Senvol to lead U.S. Army program focused on consistency of 3D printing performance
Senvol has announced that it has received funding from the U.S. Army to lead a program focused on demonstrating that consistent part performance can be achieved on different additive manufacturing machines located at different sites.
The program is titled “Applying Machine Learning to Ensure Consistency and Verification of Additive Manufacturing Machine and Part Performance Across Multiple Sites”, and commenced in March 2023, running through March 2025.
Aaron LaLonde, PhD, Technical Specialist – Additive Manufacturing at the U.S. Navy said “For additive manufacturing to be successfully implemented into the Army’s supply chain, it is essential to be able to produce parts of consistent performance even if different machines are used at different locations. Today, that is much easier said than done. During this program, we are pleased to work with Senvol to demonstrate the use of its machine learning technology to aid in achieving what everyone in the additive manufacturing industry strives for, a truly flexible supply chain.”
🖨️ Oakland County Awards $15M for Phase 2 of World’s Largest 3-D Printing Network
Oakland County today announced it is designating $15 million in funding for Phase 2 of Project DIAMOnD, a program that was launched in 2020 to accelerate digital transformation by distributing 300 3-D printers to small and medium-size manufacturers at no cost.
Project DIAMOnD, which stands for Digital, Independent, Agile, Manufacturing on Demand, was founded to support regional manufacturers adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The result was the creation of the world’s largest 3-D printing network and what the county is calling “the most significant effort of its kind to take small and medium-sized manufacturers to the next level of manufacturing.
Automation Alley and Project DIAMOnD say they will continue to work with existing partners, Markforged Inc., Giggso, and 3YOURMIND, and are seeking additional partners, printer manufacturers, and funders to join the program.”
⚗️ Industry consortium to develop modern chemical manufacturing methods
A major consortium led by Imperial and chemical company BASF is to help make chemical manufacturing more efficient, resilient, and sustainable. Imperial will receive £17.8 million from the Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and industry partners under the EPSRC Prosperity Partnership programme in a consortium of organisations from across the chemicals value chain.
“Flow chemistry is inherently more sustainable than batch processing because it makes better use of heat and materials,” said lead investigator Professor Mimi Hii from Imperial’s Department of Chemistry. “It can also provide a powerful tool for automating production and the research and development of more sustainable processes. However, there are technical bottlenecks that are holding back its full implementation. Through this new consortium we will be in a strong position to address these.”
Australian Manufacturing growth funding tops $3 million
Recipients of the fourth Advanced Manufacturing Accelerating Growth Program round have been announced, with 11 Tasmanian advanced manufacturers sharing in almost $1 million in funding to help grow their businesses.
“The latest round of funding alone is expected to generate almost $2.7 million in total investment, a more than 3-to-1 return on our outlay. It is also anticipated to generate more than 33 FTE new manufacturing jobs locally.
Instrumental joins Siemens Dynamo Program and will complement Siemens’ Teamcenter Quality offering with AI Capabilities
Instrumental, the leading AI-powered manufacturing quality platform, is excited to announce its official collaboration with Siemens through the Siemens Dynamo program, an open innovation program serving as a commercialization vehicle for start-up companies with Siemens, its customers and partners.
In the scope of the collaboration, Instrumental will integrate its cloud-based manufacturing AI platform with Siemens’ Teamcenter® Quality software from the Siemens Xcelerator portfolio. This combination will enable engineers leveraging Instrumental’s AI-powered insights to streamline problem-solving processes in Teamcenter Quality (e.g., 8D, Corrective and preventive action – CAPA). The Siemens closed loop quality approach, empowered by AI capabilities, extends the conventional quality cycle by connecting all data along the product lifecycle.
🏢 Honeywell And Arcadis Join Forces To Help Commercial Building Owners Accelerate Their Efforts To Reduce Energy And Carbon Impact
Honeywell (NASDAQ HON) and Arcadis (EURONEXT ARCAD) have today announced a collaboration to provide tools and services that help optimize energy use and carbon emissions in commercial buildings worldwide. With an initial focus on five projects in various locations worldwide, the companies will jointly offer a range of end-to-end solutions to help clients and customers expedite progress toward their carbon-reduction goals.
For Arcadis and Honeywell, this relationship strengthens the efforts that both organizations are making to help clients that are committed to improving outcomes related to ESG. The relationship is not exclusive, and both companies expect to add additional collaborations to enhance their offerings in this space.
🚙🔌 Ford EV Customers To Gain Access to 12,000 Tesla Superchargers; Company to Add North American Charging Standard Port in Future EVs
Starting early next year, Ford EV customers will have access to more than 12,000 Tesla Superchargers across the U.S. and Canada, in addition to the over 10,000 DC fast-chargers that are already part of the BlueOval Charge Network. This will give Ford EV customers unprecedented access to fast-charging. In 2025, Ford will offer next-generation electric vehicles with the North American Charging Standard (NACS) connector built-in, eliminating the need for an adapter to access Tesla Superchargers