This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media.
Optimizing Multi-Robot Workcell Performance
What distinguishes the many possible designs? In a good design, every robot spends approximately the same amount of time per cycle; we want to avoid having some robots idle while others are still working. Similarly, in a good design, every robot is able to move without spending much time either waiting for other robots to move out of its way or taking a non-optimal path so as to avoid other robots. The goal of a design is to enable high-performance choreography of the robots.
Our team has developed Optimization-as-a-Service (OaaS), which uses a proprietary algorithm to find high-performing design options that would otherwise take months to be discovered by a team of engineers. We have obtained speedups of 5-20 percent using our OaaS (discussed later), compared to designs that were laboriously developed by experienced engineers. This result highlights that design is both very difficult and very important
What are industry trends for variable frequency drives and variable speed drives?
Introducing VFDs to the Internet of Things and Industry 4.0 environment requires VFDs to secure two-way communication that bridges the gap between information technology (IT) and operational technology (OT) capabilities. This means VFD interfaces need to be compatible with the end user’s network protocol of choice to enable remote access to machines lines and equipment, and to serve machine data to a monitoring and reporting system. By providing easy to understand diagnostic data and overall health monitoring of both the drive and connected motor. In addition, energy usage and system efficiency data for tracking carbon emissions and usage profile.
How WMS and WES platforms work together to maximize warehouse efficiency
Warehouse Management Systems (WMS) and Warehouse Execution Systems (WES) communicate with each other through integration and data exchange mechanisms. Typically, the WMS serves as the higher-level system responsible for managing inventory, orders, and overall warehouse processes. The WES, on the other hand, focuses on the real-time execution of tasks within the warehouse. These systems communicate through APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) or middleware, allowing them to share crucial information such as order details, inventory levels, and task priorities. This integration ensures that the warehouse operates efficiently, with the WMS providing instructions and data to the WES, which then orchestrates the execution of tasks on the warehouse floor.
inVia Connect simplifies the integration between inVia Logic WES software and any WMS. It streamlines integration and communication between your disparate systems, allowing for seamlessness in inventory management and order processing. With InVia Connect’s proprietary technology, it reduces manual labor and improves accuracy and efficiency – all while providing real-time visibility into every aspect of warehouse operations.
A NY startup aims to build hundreds of chip factories with prefab parts and AI
To meet the world’s growing hunger for chips, a startup wants to upend the costly semiconductor fabrication plant with a nimbler, cheaper idea, one they believe can faster spread the manufacturing of the chips inside nearly everything we use: an AI-enabled chip factory that can be assembled and expanded modularly with prefab pieces, like high-tech Lego bricks.” “We’re democratizing the ownership of semiconductor fabs,” says Matthew Putman, referring to chip fabrication plants. Putman is the founder and CEO of Nanotronics, a New York City-based industrial AI company that deploys advanced optical solutions for detecting defects in manufacturing procedures.
Its new system, called Cubefabs, combines its modular inspection tools and other equipment with AI, allowing the proposed chip factories to monitor themselves and adapt accordingly—part of what Putman calls an “autonomous factory.” The bulk of the facility can be preassembled, flat-packed and put in shipping containers so that the facilities can be built “in 80% of the world,” says Putman.
The Long Dry Spell at One of America’s Most Innovative Companies
John Banovetz, 3M’s chief technology officer, said the company’s reduction in product rollouts shows its push for quality over quantity. The company has focused its bets on potentially high-growth areas such as climate-saving technology and its fast-selling electric-vehicle components. “The R&D machine is alive and well,” he said.
Rob Kieschke, a former research director who left the company last year, said 3M’s weakening position in the smartphone display market is a symptom of its troubles. Researchers are encouraged to pursue incremental improvements to existing products rather than novel, swing-for-the fences breakthroughs. “If you start forcing people to eliminate risk, then all you end up doing is what has been done before or what everyone else is doing,” said Kieschke, who contributed to more than 20 patents.
How governments are shaping the future industrial landscape.
🇲🇦 Morocco’s carmaking sector revs up for EV era
But more important than the headline number of vehicles made in Morocco, most of which are sold in Europe, is the kingdom’s success — through a combination of stick and carrot — in forcing the backward integration of its automotive supply chain. There are now more than 250 automotive suppliers, many of them subsidiaries of foreign companies, in the country, employing some 220,000 people.
This week's top funding events, acquisitions, and partnerships across industrial value chains
Electric Hydrogen Raises $380 Million to Transform the Economics of Green Hydrogen Production
ELECTRIC HYDROGEN (EH2) announced the successful completion of an oversubscribed $380 million Series C financing. The new capital will accelerate the company’s manufacturing and deployment plans to meet strong customer demand for its power-dense green hydrogen systems. The funding round was led by Fortescue, Fifth Wall and Energy Impact Partners.
EH2’s electrolyzer systems produce green hydrogen from renewable electricity and water. Green hydrogen is needed for decarbonizing vital industrial processes such as fertilizer production, steelmaking, base chemicals and many others. Until now, switching from fossil-based sources to renewable green hydrogen has been too costly to be implemented at scale. EH2 is manufacturing and plans to deliver and commission 100 megawatt (MW) electrolyzer systems, each capable of producing nearly 50 tons of green hydrogen per day at transformational low cost to help its customers meet their decarbonization goals.
Machina Labs Secures $32 Million in Series B Investment to Revolutionize AI-Driven Manufacturing
Machina Labs, which combines AI and robotics to rapidly manufacture advanced composite and metal products, announced that it has closed a Series B investment in the amount of $32 million. The round was co-led by new investor NVentures, NVIDIA’s venture capital arm, and existing investor Innovation Endeavors, with contributions from existing and other new investors. This latest funding brings the total raised by Machina Labs to $45 million.
The investment will be used to meet accelerating customer demand, to further intensify research initiatives, and to continue delivering innovative solutions that exceed customer expectations. Robotic sheet forming is the first process enabled by Machina’s patented manufacturing platform. Using material- and geometry-agnostic technology, the platform outperforms traditional sheet forming methods that rely on custom molds or dies.
Osmoses Secures $11M to Decarbonize Projected $35B Industrial Gas Separation Market with Novel Membrane Technology
Osmoses, an industrial separations technology company that purifies gases, the world’s smallest molecules, today announced it has raised an oversubscribed $11 million seed round led by Energy Capital Ventures. Additional participating investors include Engine Ventures, Fine Structure Ventures, New Climate Ventures, Collaborative Fund, Little Green Bamboo, BlindSpot Ventures and several prominent angel investors, including Martin Madaus, the former CEO of Millipore Corporation. Osmoses will use the funding to develop commercial scale membrane modules for field deployment and establish pilot partnerships.
Osmoses has developed a patented novel membrane technology that purifies gas molecules with unprecedented flux and selectivity, meaning lower capital requirements and operating costs for customers, with a significantly smaller physical footprint than today’s traditional separation processes – all while reducing industrial energy consumption by up to 90%.
Azumuta bags €2.8M for international growth of manufacturing process management solution
Ghent-based Azumuta is tackling manufacturing shop floor issues caused by poor process management. It offers a software solution that supports employees at different levels in the production process and offers the management team a better view of their company’s performance on the shop floor streamlining work instructions, training, and audits.
The company has raised a €2.8 million funding round from Flemish investment company PMV, Angelwise, and four private investors. The funding will fuel international growth and product development. The firm will be hiring software developers and experienced sales professionals in the manufacturing sector.
Relocalize Completes Seed Round led by i4 Capital and Waterpoint Lane
Relocalize, the developer of the world’s first autonomous micro-factory for the food & beverage industry, announced today that it has raised US$2.5 million in the initial closing of a US$3.5 million seed round led by i4 Capital and Waterpoint Lane. The proceeds from the round will be used to prepare Relocalize’s autonomous production platform for scaling and to solidify its leadership position as the industry’s first mover in distributed, hyper-local food & beverage manufacturing.
Dover to Acquire FW Murphy, a Leading Supplier of Control and Optimization Solutions for the Reciprocating Compression Industry
Dover (NYSE: DOV) announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire the business of FW Murphy Production Controls, LLC (“FW Murphy”) (a subsidiary of privately-owned Genisys Controls LLC) for $530 million in cash. The transaction is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2023, subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals. Following the closing of the transaction, FW Murphy will become part of the Dover Precision Components (“DPC”) operating unit within Dover’s Pumps & Process Solutions segment (“DPPS”).
Founded in 1939 and headquartered in Rosenberg, Texas, FW Murphy is a leading provider of control, remote monitoring, digital-twin-based predictive maintenance, and adaptive performance optimization components, solutions, and instrumentation for reciprocating compressors and associated drive systems. FW Murphy’s solutions are used in natural gas production, transportation, and industrial use markets, as well as in emerging hydrogen and carbon capture applications.
European venture capital firm Atomico raises $1.1bn to defy tech slowdown
European venture capital firm Atomico has raised $1.1bn worth of new funding to invest in start-ups, defying a broader slowdown in the tech industry. The London-based group has raised the fresh money across its new venture and growth funds, according to US regulatory filings, nearing its goal of $1.35bn for both vehicles.
ABB and Altilium sign agreement to work on battery industry recycling projects
ABB has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) agreement with UK-based clean technology group Altilium to jointly explore how the integration of automation, electrification and digital technologies in plants across Europe can support the scaling up of battery materials recycling. Altilium is developing green processing technologies and building infrastructure at scale for the recycling of metals and electric vehicle (EV) battery waste, with the aim of ensuring a domestic supply chain of low-carbon battery materials for the automotive industry.