This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media.
Looking at the future of semiconductor manufacturing
“Moving from 200mm to 300mm wafers increases the size 1.5 x 1.5,” explains Taniguchi. “A simple calculation of the area shows that we have a 2.25 times increase in production. So if you ask how Toshiba is responding to the growing demand for power semiconductors accompanying progress towards carbon neutrality and energy savings, the answer is with increased supply capacity. The introduction of production lines that can handle 300mm wafers became an initiative for everybody in our department. Seeing the entire organization working together heightened my sense of responsibility, as well as excitement from being involved in a new technology. Working out how to set up processes using 300mm manufacturing equipment – it’s a project that exhilarated me.”
Taniguchi knows all about this. “Investing in equipment is front and center in power semiconductor manufacturing, and there is a strong sense of excitement about pioneering technology. You ask yourself if there is a way to increase the productivity of the equipment, to manufacture more power semiconductors, and improve the quality…I’ve spent all day in a clean room fine-tuning the movement of the wafers and devising ways to stabilize the temperature. I got really excited when, after a lot of trial and error, I managed to adjust the conditions to get stable production.
Figure Humanoid Bot CEO Brett Adcock TESLA Competitor?
Building the NextGen Factory with Splunk and Bosch Rexroth
Splunk and Bosch Rexroth have joined forces to help manufacturers elevate their resilience and take advantage of new market trends and agile operating models leveraging OT + IT + AI/ML.
Bosch Rexroth has developed an Intelligent Factory Floor which is above all smart and flexible. Roof, walls and floor are fixed, everything else can be adapted to new orders, production methods or business models. As such, it is easy to reconfigure machinery and to scale up or scale down production lines according to requirements. The multi-color LED visualization in the floor can flexibly adjust walkways, and define safety zones and logistics areas. The Intelligent Floor collects data such as weight and distance via built-in sensors.
These rich data sources are ingested into Splunk’s data analytics platform leveraging AI capabilities. As a result, possible business outcomes not only include an optimized, agile production performance but also an elevated security posture including IT / OT cybersecurity. Predictive Analytics such as Predictive Maintenance and Predictive Quality based on the Splunk Machine Learning Toolkit can be implemented. Factory managers can finally bring cost-efficient lot size one production to life.
Blueberries MEGA FACTORY: Processing Thousands of Blueberries with AI
Using the Power of AI to Make Factories Safer
AI-powered stationary outside-in safety platforms, which monitor activity across many distributed machines or robots, can predictively and proactively orchestrate consistent safety policies. Machines and robots equipped with inside-out reactive safety can detect any specific interaction within their workspace and take appropriate measures.
If the worker continues or crosses the stop safety zone, the FORT safety stack on IGX commands (WiFi) the FORT endpoint (embedded in the machine) to activate the emergency stop (reactive safety). The Protex edge computer vision app uses NVIDIA DeepStream 6.2 and the Protex model has been trained with NVIDIA TAO Toolkit and quantized with NVIDIA TensorRT.
Mitsubishi Electric Automation Demo: Multi-Robot Bin Picking
ROS 2 and VSCode
This document provides a detailed guide for using Visual Studio Code (VSCode) to build and execute ROS 2 projects efficiently with C++ and Python. It covers a range of topics, including initializing VSCode, remote development over SSH, development using Docker, sourcing ROS dependencies, and building with Colcon. The document also delves into specific techniques for working in C++ and Python within the ROS 2 environment, offering valuable insights and tips to enhance the development process.
2 collaborative robots freeing up 10 employees per production shift
CNC detective breakthrough! Looks like Apple is using Haas DC-1 machines to make the Vision Pro. This machine was just announced on 1/16/24, and it was a bit of a mystery why they would replace their DT/DM line with a machine whose main difference is just the chips coming out the… pic.twitter.com/VyJMhrT2vp— Pete Oxenham (@peteoxenham) January 24, 2024
New Product Introduction
Highlighting new and innovative products and services
Lectra expands its Furniture On Demand offer with Valia and Vector cutting equipment to accelerate the transition of furniture industry players to Industry 4.0
Lectra supports the transformation of fashion, automotive and furniture players by providing them with technological solutions that accelerate their transition to a more efficient and more sustainable Industry 4.0. The Group announces the launch of its enhanced Furniture On Demand by Lectra offer. This solution automates, streamlines and gives total visibility over on-demand production – unitary and series – of furniture products, enabling smarter and more sustainable manufacturing. The Group is also launching a new generation of smart and connected furniture cutting equipment, VectorFurniture Q2 and VectorFurniture iX2.
This eco-designed equipment consumes 30% to 40% less energy than the previous generation, already renowned for its energy performance, maximizing efficiency. It is more compact and 200 kilograms lighter, significantly reducing environmental impacts during production, transport and use. Ergonomics and operator protection, Lectra’s key concerns, have been completely redesigned with the integration of motion detection sensors, the reduction of equipment noise levels and the introduction of new standards for circuit boards.
Precision Livestock Technologies Releases AI-Powered, Predictive Cattle Feeding Recommendations
Precision Livestock Technologies (PLT), a leading provider of software and hardware solutions related to livestock feeding and health, today announced the introduction of the first system that uses artificial intelligence (AI) to predict cattle feed intake and make feeding recommendations. The system generates daily quantitative feeding predictions based on hundreds of data points gathered from PLT’s machine vision Bunk Management System and external data sources, taking into account feeding rates, feeding times, feeding cycles, cattle behavior, ration type, weather, and other factors. The company developed its AI-based algorithms through machine learning techniques, based on over 150,000 discrete pen days.
BASF and Inditex make a breakthrough in textile-to-textile recycling with loopamid, the first circular nylon 6 entirely based on textile waste
BASF and Inditex jointly announce a breakthrough in their efforts for boosting recyclability in the textile industry. With the launch of loopamid®, a polyamide 6 (PA6, also known as nylon 6) made from 100 percent textile waste, BASF is providing the first circular solution for nylon apparel made entirely from textile waste. Zara has turned the material into a jacket made from 100 percent loopamid. Following a “design for recycling” approach, all parts, including fabrics, buttons, filling, hook and loop and zipper are made from loopamid.
Dynamic, cost-effective and reliable: the new KR FORTEC
The new KR FORTEC is now available – including with an extended arm that handles loads of 240 kg across a reach of 3700 mm. Technically, this heavy-duty robot fits between the KR QUANTEC and KR FORTEC ultra. Cross-model modularization ensures a high transmissibility of robot series components. “We developed the KR FORTEC to achieve a lower Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) and to launch a resource-saving product on the market. The KR FORTEC is up to 700 kg lighter than its predecessor,” explained Maximilian Pettkuhn, Portfolio Manager at KUKA. For customers, modularization means lower costs for spare part storage.
Intel Opens Fab 9 in New Mexico
Intel celebrated the opening of Fab 9, its cutting-edge factory in Rio Rancho, New Mexico. The milestone is part of Intel’s previously announced $3.5 billion investment to equip its New Mexico operations for the manufacturing of advanced semiconductor packaging technologies, including Intel’s breakthrough 3D packaging technology, Foveros, which offers flexible options for combining multiple chips that are optimized for power, performance and cost.
GM-Honda Begin Commercial Production at Industry’s First Hydrogen Fuel Cell System Manufacturing Joint Venture
In a pivotal moment in the commercialization of hydrogen fuel cell systems, GM and Honda today announced the start of production at their 50-50 joint venture production facility, FCSM. FCSM is the first large-scale manufacturing joint venture to build fuel cells. FCSM was established in Brownstown, Michigan, in January 2017 based on a joint investment of $85 million. The 70,000-square-foot facility has already created 80 jobs. The world-class hydrogen power solutions built at FCSM will be used by both companies in various product applications and business ventures.
How governments are shaping the future industrial landscape.
Globalisation is not dead, but it is fading: ‘glocalisation’ is becoming the new mantra
Everything that has happened since the arrival of the Covid pandemic has pointed to a new paradigm: some call it de-globalisation, others call it – perhaps more accurately – “glocalisation”. An ugly term, glocalisation is not the global free market, and it is not autarky (a nation that operates in a state of self-reliance), but something in between. It involves shorter supply chains, an emphasis on building back domestic manufacturing capacity, and a more strategic role for government. As with any form of mixed economy, the degree of glocalisation varies from country to country.
🇬🇧 Made Smarter drives £22m tech investment among SME manufacturers
300 businesses have now secured £6.5m matched funding from the government-funded, industry-backed initiative, adopting technologies as diverse as sensors, robotics, 3D printing and artificial intelligence (AI). Among the latest wave of businesses starting their journey with Made Smarter to benefit their bottom line and the environment are food and drink manufacturers: Harbourside Products, Northern Pasta Company, Brightside Brewing Company, Just Bee Honey, Studio Bakery and Chandley Ovens.
🇺🇸 Michigan Strategic Fund Approves Projects Creating Nearly 1,000 Jobs Across the State
Australian global green energy, metals, and technology company Fortescue chooses Michigan for its U.S. Advanced Manufacturing Center, citing state’s automotive leadership, strong engineering talent. Germany-based provider of EV charging stations EcoG establishing U.S. headquarters in Corktown neighborhood of Detroit, building on region’s mobility innovation ecosystem. Logistics provider Fifth Wheel Freight creating flagship headquarters in Michigan, creating 352 jobs
This week's top funding events, acquisitions, and partnerships across industrial value chains
H2 Green Steel raises more than €4 billion in debt financing for the world's first large-scale green steel plant
H2 Green Steel signs definitive debt financing agreements for €4.2 billion in project financing and increases the previously announced equity raised by €300 million. Total equity funding to date amounts to €2.1 billion. The company has also been awarded a €250 million grant from the EU Innovation Fund. H2 Green Steel has now secured funding of close to €6.5 billion for the world’s first large-scale green steel plant in Northern Sweden.
H2 Green Steel has also raised close to €300 million more from investors, bringing the equity in the project to a total of €2.1 billion. New shareholders include Microsoft Climate Innovation Fund, Mubea and Siemens Financial Services. Additionally, IMAS Foundation and Just Climate are some of the existing shareholders which are increasing their investments in H2 Green Steel.
Stuttgart-based Instagrid bags €87 million Series C to expand clean portable power to the North American market
One of Europe’s leading providers of high-performance portable battery systems, Instagrid, announced a Series C funding round of €87 million. The round was led by Teachers’ Venture Growth (TVG), with participation from Morgan Stanley Investment Management’s (MSIM) 1GT climate private equity strategy. Existing investors Energy Impact Partners, SET Ventures, blueworld.group, and Hightech Gründerfonds, as well as the chair of the advisory board, Pierre-Pascal Urbon, also contributed to the round.
Instagrid’s flagship Instagrid ONE is lightweight and mobile enough to be used in the most remote locations and powerful enough to match the performance of the grid, making it possible to use electricity from renewable sources in any location. On a single charge, the Instagrid ONE portable battery is powerful enough to run welding equipment for an entire day’s work, pump over 55,000 litres of water with a large submersible pump or cut through hundreds of metres of concrete with heavy duty equipment, as well as a host of other commercial applications.
Instagrid is building on their proven technology to offer a full range of mobile battery solutions. Their upcoming large-scale system will power entire film sets or construction sites at a fraction of the size and emissions of comparable systems. Instagrid products boast zero exhaust emissions, as well as up to 97% lower carbon footprints and 82% lower lifetime costs compared to generators.
Sion Power Raises $75 Million to Commercialize Its Proprietary Licerion Technology for Electric Vehicles
Sion Power Corporation, a leading technology developer of next-generation batteries for electric vehicles (EV), announces that it has secured $75 million in Series A funding. The round was led by leading global battery manufacturer LG Energy Solution (the investment to be executed through LG Technology Ventures and Bricks Capital Management) and repeat participation from mathematician Jim Simons’ Euclidean Capital. The company also secured new investment from former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt’s Hillspire LLC.
Sion Power is the developer of LicerionTM technology. This technology uses compression in a lithium metal battery to enhance safety, lifetime and recharging rates. It is the Sion Power belief that any lithium metal system will require compression to have a viable energy storage system. The company has developed very robust intellectual property around this concept. LicerionTM has been successfully demonstrated in large energy capacity battery cells (up to 20Ah) and it is currently in development to reach 56Ah.
With this new capital, Sion Power will achieve technical and market validation of its technology. The company plans to build a fully automated manufacturing line to produce high quality large format lithium-metal cells for testing and market development by automotive OEMs and cell manufacturers.
GreenSpark Announces $9.4 Million in New Funding To Expand Its Modern Operating System for the Metal Recycling Industry
GreenSpark Software, a modern software platform for the metal recycling industry, announced it has raised $9.4 million in new funding, bringing GreenSpark’s total financing to ~$19 million. The investment was led by Zero Infinity Partners and Third Prime with participation from Bienville Capital and select strategic individuals. This round of fundraising positions GreenSpark to expand its product suite and employee base while continuing to help metal recyclers optimize their operations and drive profitability.
Wayland Additive raises £4.2M to boost global expansion in metal 3D printing
UK additive manufacturing company Wayland Additive announced a £4.2 million fundraise to enable continued growth of global customers. A Huddersfield-based company, Wayland designs, develops, makes and sells industrial Calibur3 metal additive manufacturing machines, utilising cutting-edge electron beam 3D printing technology. It has successfully rolled out its technology to various buyers across different sectors, including aerospace, mining, engineering, medical, motorsport and military and defence, with operations across North America and Europe. This latest fundraising will allow Wayland to continue to expand its growing global customer base.
Cnergreen Secures $2M Investment from Rhapsody Venture Partners
Cnergreen, a Calgary-based startup manufacturing stable foams for CO2 injection in enhanced oil recovery (EOR), has secured a $2M Seed funding round led by Rhapsody Venture Partners, a US-based venture capital firm that specializes in hard-tech investments.
Cnergreen’s patent-pending ArmorFoamTM technology, developed at the University of Calgary, enables underground foams to remain stable for months at high pressures, temperatures, and salinities. The first application is improving CO2 enhanced oil recovery (CO2 EOR) in the oil and gas industry. For years, oilfield operators have seen an opportunity to use CO2 injection as a way to enhance oil recovery in active wells, while also permanently sequestering CO2 in geologic reservoirs. Because of the large volumes of CO2 required, CO2-EOR provides a near-term pathway for scaled carbon sequestration, while lowering the carbon footprint of produced oil.
Taqtile Adds Leading Dual-Use VC Firm, Scout Ventures, to Its Investor Roster
Taqtile, Inc., maker of Manifest®, the leading spatially-enabled work-instruction platform serving the industrial and defense sectors announces the addition of Scout Ventures as an investor. Taqtile will also add Scout Founder and Managing Partner, Brad Harrison, as a Board Observer. Scheduled to close in early 2024, this new financing will support strategic initiatives, including ramping up essential marketing programs, expanding support and sales staff, and bolstering engineering and development efforts.
Intel and UMC Announce New Foundry Collaboration
Intel Corp. (Nasdaq: INTC) and United Microelectronics Corporation (NYSE: UMC; TWSE: 2303) (“UMC”), a leading global semiconductor foundry, announced that they will collaborate on the development of a 12-nanometer semiconductor process platform to address high-growth markets such as mobile, communication infrastructure and networking. The long-term agreement brings together Intel’s at-scale U.S. manufacturing capacity and UMC’s extensive foundry experience on mature nodes to enable an expanded process portfolio. It also offers global customers greater choice in their sourcing decisions with access to a more geographically diversified and resilient supply chain.
Accenture and Mujin Establish Joint Venture to Bring AI and Robotics to the Manufacturing and Logistics Industries
Accenture and Mujin, a leader in intelligent robotics for manufacturing, logistics and supply chain operations, have established Accenture Alpha Automation, a joint venture for the manufacturing and logistics industries. Accenture Alpha Automation will help companies automate their management infrastructure with data-driven solutions that seamlessly combine data from manufacturing and logistics operations with management data. The joint venture is 70% owned by Accenture and 30% by Mujin.
The joint venture will combine Mujin’s experience in industrial robotics and automation with expertise from Accenture’s digital engineering and manufacturing service, Industry X. Accenture Alpha Automation’s solutions will integrate previously disconnected operational data from manufacturing and logistics sites with business management data, such as the company-wide supply chain status, financial information and market information. Accenture and Mujin will bring these solutions to clients to help them make faster, better decisions and hyper-automate their manufacturing and logistics processes.
Jacobi Robotics and Formic Team Up to Rapidly Configure Robotic Cells Using AI
Jacobi Robotics, a new company pioneering AI-driven motion planning for robot systems, and Formic, a leading robotics-as-a-service provider accelerating the adoption of automation across American manufacturing, today unveiled a strategic partnership to bring high-performance AI-powered robotics to manufacturers. Jacobi’s technology empowers robot solution providers like Formic to program and deploy the next wave of automation technology in less than one day compared to one month with existing tools, setting a new benchmark for operational efficiency.
The Jacobi-Formic alliance initially targets robotic palletizers that stack cases onto pallets for storage or shipment. More than $400 billion worth of American trade is exported annually on pallets. But the physically demanding task of manual palletizing ranks as the leading cause of worker compensation claims in the manufacturing sector. This challenge, coupled with a daunting labor shortage, drives the growing demand and deployment of robotic palletizers.
ABB acquires R&D engineering company to further advance AI and software-driven automation
ABB announced it has agreed to acquire a majority of software service provider Meshmind to expand its research and development capabilities in AI, Industrial IoT and machine vision. Through this acquisition ABB will integrate engineering talent, AI and software knowledge to form a new global R&D hub to further accelerate the development of innovative automation solutions within its Machine Automation division (B&R).
The integration of Meshmind’s approximately 50 employees will expand collaboration with B&R teams in a range of R&D projects, including deep learning vision systems, AI-enabled engineering tools, and IoT app development, from their office in Sarajevo, Bosnia, which will serve as B&R’s new global hub for AI and software development. Financial details of the transaction that is expected to close in Q1 2024 were not disclosed.
Angeles Equity Partners Acquires Acieta from Mitsui to Expand Robotics Integration Platform
An affiliate of Angeles Equity Partners, LLC (“Angeles”), a private investment firm focused on value creation through operational transformation, announced the acquisition of Acieta LLC (“Acieta”), a Midwest-based industrial robotics manufacturer and integrator, from Mitsui & Co. (U.S.A.), Inc. (“Mitsui”). This transaction marks the fourth strategic acquisition by Angeles in the robotics integration sector, complementing its current platform consisting of RōBEX, Mid-State Engineering, and +Vantage. Acieta further expands the business’ equipment tending, welding, and palletizing capabilities across a broader set of end markets including agriculture, foundry and die, welding and fabrication, and construction and building products.