Capturing this week's zeitgeist
Tesla’s Cybertruck is finally here, and the teardowns have begun. Part of the innovation is in the Cybertruck exoskeleton which is made from a Tesla and SpaceX proprietary stainless steel alloy, referred to as the Ultra-hard 30X Cold-rolled Stainless Steel.
New materials are often differentiators for industrial companies and just like the LK-99 kerfuffle, a new commotion with generative AI has risen in the materials world. The A-lab [faces scrutiny for data inconsistencies(https://venturebeat.com/ai/ai-meets-materials-science-the-promise-and-pitfalls-of-automated-discovery/), while Microsoft unveils MatterGen, a diffusion model specifically designed for generating novel, stable materials.
This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media.
Introducing 'Factory View' a virtual look inside Aisin factories
Factory View is a tool that uses images and point cloud data to recreate a factory in virtual space, allowing users to virtually see the inside of the factory, very similar to the benefit Google Street View provides. By accessing the portal site from a computer, users can freely move around factories in Japan and overseas, and view desired locations and equipment in nearly all directions from anywhere at any time.
The measurement device used is manufactured by NavVis, a German company, and enables quick and efficient data acquisition. A worker wearing the device can acquire images and point cloud data simultaneously by walking around in a factory.
The use of Factory View may be expanded and used in overseas plants and group companies, where significant cost and time saving benefits can be expected. The system can also be used as a Business Continuity Plan measure in instances such as damage caused by large-scale earthquakes and other natural disasters.
Why Tesla’s Cybertruck Is So Hard To Manufacture
Securely sending industrial data to AWS IoT services using unidirectional gateways
Unidirectional gateways are a combination of hardware and software. Unidirectional gateway hardware is physically able to send data in only one direction, while the gateway software replicates servers and emulates devices. Since the gateway is physically able to send data in only one direction, there is no possibility of IT-based or internet-based security events pivoting into the OT networks. The gateway’s replica servers and emulated devices simplify OT/IT integration.
A typical unidirectional gateway hardware implementation consists of a network appliance containing two separate circuit boards joined by a fiberoptic cable. The “TX,” or “transmit,” board contains a fiber-optic transmitter, and the “RX,” or “receive,” board contains a fiber-optic receiver. Unlike conventional fiber-optic communication components, which are transceivers, the TX appliance does not contain a receiver and the RX appliance does not contain a transmitter. Because there is no laser in the receiver, there is no physical way for the receiving circuit board to send any information back to the transmitting board. The appliance can be used to transmit information out of the control system network into an external network, or directly to the internet, without the risk of a cyber event or another signal returning into the control system.
proteanTecs Helps Electronics Monitor Their Health with Cadence Tools
Revolutionizing Design: The Power Of Generative AI
One of the key benefits of Generative AI in architectural design is its ability to optimize designs for specific criteria or constraints. For example, an architect could use Gen-AI to explore different options for a building’s energy efficiency or structural stability. By inputting specific parameters such as materials, site conditions, and budget constraints into the algorithm, Gen-AI can generate multiple design options that meet those requirements (e.g. establishing the column numbers in a parking garage structure).
With text-to-image generation tools becoming more accessible and user-friendly, artists without extensive technical skills can create higher-quality digital art with ease. This breakthrough has the potential to streamline the design process for clients and architects, allowing both to bring concepts to life faster than ever before. The LookX.AI text-to-image application represents a significant step forward for visual content creation by enabling users to create high-quality imagery quickly and efficiently while also pushing boundaries beyond what was previously possible using traditional methods.
Creative Robot Tool Use with Large Language Models
We introduce RoboTool, enabling robots to use tools creatively with large language models, which solves long-horizon hybrid discrete-continuous planning problems with the environment- and embodiment-related constraints.
In this work, we are interested in solving language-instructed long-horizon robotics tasks with implicitly activated physical constraints. By providing LLMs with adequate numerical semantic information in natural language, we observe that LLMs can identify the activated constraints induced by the spatial layout of objects in the scene and the robot’s embodiment limits, suggesting that LLMs may maintain knowledge and reasoning capability about the 3D physical world. Furthermore, our comprehensive tests reveal that LLMs are not only adept at employing tools to transform otherwise unfeasible tasks into feasible ones but also display creativity in using tools beyond their conventional functions, based on their material, shape, and geometric features.
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Highlighting new and innovative products and services
Renishaw’s Tempus: An Algorithm for Faster Metal 3D Printing
LPBF systems have a “recoater”, which is essentially a wide blade. It pushes fine metal powder onto the print area and ensures it is completely flat. Then the laser blasts areas to fuse some of the powder into the desired part. The process repeats, layer by layer until the entire object is built. The sequence of lasering and recoating occurs over and over during a print job, with each sequence contributing to a single layer. The total duration of the print job is the sum of both the laser activity time and the recoating time.
Tempus is a new laser scanning algorithm that’s implemented on the Renishaw’s RenAM 500 series of metal 3D printers. The idea of Tempus is to light up the lasers while the recoating is still ongoing. The result is that a portion of the recoating time is eliminated because the lasers become active earlier on each layer. Renishaw told us that the savings can be as much as nine seconds per layer. They said that while the speed up effect varies depending on the job, the average savings is about 30% for each job.
Tempus can be installed on existing machines with a firmware upgrade, and company representatives explained that it should be available towards the end of Q1 2024.
PyPose: A Library for Robot Learning with Physics-based Optimization
Deep learning has had remarkable success in robotic perception, but its data-centric nature suffers when it comes to generalizing to ever-changing environments. By contrast, physics-based optimization generalizes better, but it does not perform as well in complicated tasks due to the lack of high-level semantic information and reliance on manual parametric tuning. Taking the best of both worlds, PyPose is created to address deep perceptual models with physics-based optimization.
How governments are shaping the future industrial landscape.
🇦🇺 Sovereign, smart, sustainable: Developing advanced manufacturing in Australia
There is substantial consensus on the need to focus on those industrial sectors and high-value niches where Australia can compete effectively in export markets. There is agreement on core areas such as medical and pharmaceutical manufacturing, and the value chains for mineral, energy (especially renewable energy) and agricultural resources. This inquiry did not hear anyone advocate for a return to broad-based subsidies and trade protections in areas that do not make strategic sense (for example, the mass-manufacturing of cheap, high-volume consumer goods).
Australia requires a substantial industrial transformation to transition simultaneously to net zero and Industry 4.0. At the same time, the current pace of the global transition to net zero has created a time-limited opportunity for Australia to capture market share in lucrative renewable energy value chains, and to respond to the growing risk to the carbon-intensive sectors that have been the mainstays of Australian exports and revenue.
🇭🇰 Chinese automotive chip manufacturers plan to invest billions in Hong Kong amid city’s push to reindustrialise
Hong Kong’s push to boost local advanced manufacturing is gaining traction, with semiconductor companies pledging billions of dollars of investments in research, development and production in the city, according to government officials, as the Asian financial centre endeavours to diversify its economy.
City officials said in October they would set aside HK$10 billion in government funds to support emerging industries, including advanced manufacturing, and subsidise eligible companies looking to build production facilities in the city.
This week's top funding events, acquisitions, and partnerships across industrial value chains
Pragmatic Semiconductor secures £182m ($231m)
Pragmatic Semiconductor, the world leader in manufacturing flexible integrated circuits, today announced that it has completed a first close of its Series D funding round, securing an investment of £162m ($206m). M&G’s Catalyst and UK Infrastructure Bank co-led the funding round.
The investment will enable Pragmatic to accelerate its expansion plans in the UK to meet the growing demand for its unique technology from customers worldwide. This includes building its 3rd and 4th fabrication lines at its Pragmatic Park facility in Durham.
Gecko Robotics Raises $100 Million to Extend its Series C Funding Enabling Major Growth in its Defense Business
Gecko Robotics, the industry leader in using AI-powered software and advanced robotics to maintain and build the world’s most important physical infrastructure, announced an extension of its Series C funding round bringing the total Series C raise to $173 Million.
As part of the extension, Gecko is adding representatives from US Innovative Technology Fund (USIT) and Founders Fund to its corporate board. The addition of Founders Fund and USIT, both well-known investors in the defense technology space, comes on the heels of last week’s announcement that Gecko will help the U.S. Navy increase the speed of the manufacturing process for the $132 Billion Columbia-class Sub program.
MaintainX Makes Equipment and Regulatory Downtime a Thing of the Past With $50M in New Funding
MaintainX, the leading maintenance and frontline work execution platform, announced $50M in Series C funding led by Bain Capital Ventures (BCV) with participation from existing investors Bessemer Venture Partners, Amity Ventures, August Capital and Ridge Ventures. Other strategic new investors include Jeff Immelt the former CEO of GE, Jeff Lawson the CEO of Twilio, Steve Pagliuca a Senior Advisor to Bain Capital, Rob Bernshteyn the CEO of Coupa Software, Chris Comparato the Chairman and CEO of Toast, and Allison Pickens the former COO of Gainsight. The new capital will accelerate the MaintainX feature roadmap, with additional AI-driven predictive capabilities and data-driven functionality. Following the company’s Series B in June 2021, this investment brings total funding to $104 million while achieving a valuation of $1 billion.
Actility Raises $17.3 Million to Lead Low-Power IoT Market Surge and Drive Sector Consolidation
Actility, a French company recognised as a global leader in low-power industrial IoT connectivity solutions, is announcing today a funding round of $17.3 million. This new financing will consolidate its leadership position in the global LPWAN (Low-Power Wide Area Networks) market as it enters a phase of accelerated growth.
Robotics-as-a-Service Startup Instock Announces New Funding Led by Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund
Instock Inc, an innovator in customer fulfillment robotics, announced that it raised $3.2M in new funding, led by Amazon Industrial Innovation Fund – these new investments bring Instock’s Seed financing to a total of $6.2M. Instock’s Seed round was co-led by OneWay Ventures and Lux Capital, and funding participation also includes Commerce VC, u.ventures, Cybernetix Ventures and other investors active in the robotics and eCommerce ecosystem. With the new funding, Instock continues on its plans to democratize automation of storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) using gravity-defying robots. In January 2024, Instock will launch its first production system with a tech-forward 3PL in North America.
JGC and Yokogawa Team up to Develop Lunar Plant Control System That Will Support Ultra-remote Communications
JGC Corporation and Yokogawa Electric Corporation announce the signing of an agreement on November 15 to jointly develop a control system that will support the ultra-remote communications required for the operation of plants on the lunar surface.
The construction of such a system, which will be located at a ground station and integrate the communications, process control, and operation monitoring for a plant on the lunar surface, will need to take into account constraints such as the communication delay between the earth and the moon. This joint development will make use of JGC’s know-how of energy plant control/operations and knowledge gained through the conduct of lunar plant studies, and Yokogawa’s remote monitoring and control technology. The two companies plan to quickly move ahead with the design and construction of experimental equipment that can simulate these delays, then complete by the end of 2024 a study that will identify an optimal solution for a control system that will be capable of handling ultra-remote communications.