Capturing this week's zeitgeist
Diagram of committed and expended costs during new product introduction by TheManufacturingGuy on X.
- ATX West 2024 has come and gone…
- Spending on industrial metaverse solutions and services is expected to grow at 22.8% and reach US$6.3 billion by 2030 according to ABI Research
This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media.
Robotic Tongue Licks Gecko Gripper Clean
This is Flexiv’s “Grav Enhanced” gripper, which uses a combination of pinch grasping and high friction gecko adhesive to lift heavy and delicate objects without having to squeeze them. When you think about a traditional robotic grasping system trying to lift something like a water balloon, you have to squeeze that balloon until the friction between the side of the gripper and the side of the balloon overcomes the weight of the balloon itself. The higher the friction, the lower the squeeze required, and although a water balloon might be an extreme example, maximizing gripper friction can make a huge difference when it comes to fragile or deformable objects.
Improve tire manufacturing effectiveness with a process digital twin
In the rubber-mixing stage, the recipe of various raw material constituents like rubber, chemicals, carbon, oil, and other additives plays a vital role in the control of process standards and final product quality. In the current schema of things, parameters like Mooney viscosity, specific gravity, and Rheo (the level of curing that can be achieved over the compound) are fairly manual and offline. In addition, the correlation of these parameters is conducted either on a standard spreadsheet solver or statistical package. Because of the delay in such correlation and interdependency, the extent of control a process engineer has on the deviation (such as drop temperature, mixing time, ram pressure, injection time, and so on) are limited.
There are four steps to operationalize, the first being data acquisition and noise removal—a process of 3–6 weeks with the built-in and external connectors. Next is model tuning and ascertaining what is fit for our purpose. Since we are considering a list of defect types, we are talking about another four weeks for training, validating, creating test sets, and delivering a simulation environment with minimum error. The third step is delivering the set points and boundary conditions for each grade of compound.
For example, the process digital twin cockpit has three desirable sub-environments:
- Carcass level—machine ID, drum width, drum diameter, module number, average weight, actual weight, and deviation results
- Tread roll level—machine number, average weight, actual weight, deviation, and SKU number
- Curing level—curing ID, handling time, estimated curing time, curing schedule, and associated deviations in curing time
The final step is ascertaining the model outcome and computing the simulation result (bias, Sum of Squares Error (SSE), deviation, and so on) with respect to the business outcome like defect percentage, speed of work, overall accuracy, and so on.
Industrial stream data management in Databricks
How the Water Industry Is Transforming Submersible Pump Maintenance With AI
A technology called electrical signature analysis (ESA) makes reliable, remote monitoring of submerged pumps possible. ESA measures the current and voltage being supplied to the motor driving the pump. Because it captures the electrical signals, ESA sensors are current and voltage probes that are installed in the motor control cabinet. This bypasses the need to install sensors on, or even near, submerged pumps.
One solution utility operators are increasingly deploying to improve the energy efficiency of pumps are variable frequency drives (VFDs). VFDs are a type of motor controller that drive an electric motor by varying the supply frequency. By matching fluctuating load and demand requirements, organizations can operate pumps more efficiently, saving energy and extending their lifetime.
AI-enabled Cyber-Physical In-Orbit Factory
With the ever increasing number of active satellites in space, the rising demand for larger formations of small satellites and the commercialization of the space industry (so-called New Space), the realization of manufacturing processes in orbit comes closer to reality. Reducing launch costs and risks, allowing for faster on-demand deployment of individually configured satellites as well as the prospect for possible on-orbit servicing for satellites makes the idea of realizing an in-orbit factory promising. In this paper, we present a novel approach to an in-orbit factory of small satellites covering a digital process twin, AI-based fault detection, and teleoperated robot-control, which are being researched as part of the “AI-enabled Cyber-Physical In-Orbit Factory” project. In addition to the integration of modern automation and Industry 4.0 production approaches, the question of how artificial intelligence (AI) and learning approaches can be used to make the production process more robust, fault-tolerant and autonomous is addressed. This lays the foundation for a later realisation of satellite production in space in the form of an in-orbit factory. Central aspect is the development of a robotic AIT (Assembly, Integration and Testing) system where a small satellite could be assembled by a manipulator robot from modular subsystems. Approaches developed to improving this production process with AI include employing neural networks for optical and electrical fault detection of components. Force sensitive measuring and motion training helps to deal with uncertainties and tolerances during assembly. An AI-guided teleoperated control of the robot arm allows for human intervention while a Digital Process Twin represents process data and provides supervision during the whole production process. Approaches and results towards automated satellite production are presented in detail.
Supernova - The next chapter in VLM™ technology
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Highlighting new and innovative products and services
ASML Shows Off $380 Million, 165-Ton Machine Behind AI Shift
ASML Holding NV is showing off its latest chipmaking machine, a €350 million ($380 million) piece of equipment that weighs as much as two Airbus A320s. The machine can print lines on semiconductors 8 nanometers thick, 1.7 times smaller than the previous generation. The thinner the lines, the more transistors you can fit on a chip. And the more transistors you can fit on a chip, the higher the processing speeds and memory. That’s why, ASML executives said, the system will prove essential for AI, a technology that is notorious for the intensity of the processing it requires.
Dexory to Re-define North American Logistics and Warehousing Technology Market
Dexory, a leading provider of cutting-edge AI and robotics solutions, has announced its strategic expansion into the North American market. Dexory is set to disrupt the market through its autonomous robotics and AI-powered analysis solution, DexoryView. The company is already working with global partners with a significant US presence such as DB Schenker, Menzies Aviation, Maersk and ID Logistics.
To lead the expansion, Todd Boone has joined the team as its Head of North American business. Boone joins Dexory from Zebra Technologies, where he served as Director of product management in robotics and automation. With Zebra Technologies he held several leadership roles and worked closely with Fetch, an established AMR provider in North America.
MicroAI™ Launches AIStudio – a Next-Generation, AI-Enabled, Data Modeling Platform
MicroAI, a pioneer in the development of Endpoint and Edge AI products and solutions for companies in the manufacturing, telecom, automotive, and industrial industries, today announced the launch of AIStudio, a next-generation data modeling and visualization platform. AIStudio provides data-scientists and developers the capability to rapidly ingest their asset data, fine-tune and execute AI models, visualize the impact of those models, and utilize the resulting insights to optimize IT and OT asset performance and security.
How governments are shaping the future industrial landscape.
🇺🇸🇨🇳 America Wanted a Homegrown Solar Industry. China Is Building a Lot of It.
During the past year, the world’s biggest solar companies, all of which do the bulk of their manufacturing in China, have quietly launched plans to set up or expand panel factories in locations from Ohio to Texas—part of a rush to build in the U.S. following the introduction of generous production subsidies with the Inflation Reduction Act in 2022.
China-based companies are behind nearly a quarter of the roughly 80 gigawatts in new solar-panel capacity that has been announced since that legislation, according to an analysis by The Wall Street Journal. That positions them to be big beneficiaries of government subsidies as well—as much as $1.4 billion a year collectively if the panel factories announced so far are built, according to Journal calculations.
🇪🇺 European Tech Champions Initiative celebrates one-year anniversary with €1 billion of investments
The European Tech Champions Initiative (ETCI) is excited to mark its one-year anniversary with close to €1 billion of investments aimed at mobilising up to €6 billion, to reinforce its commitment to investing in cutting-edge companies and driving digital transformation across the continent.
ETCI has supported four funds to date, including one at the final stage of closing:
- Atomico Growth VI: ETCI has invested in Atomico Growth VI, a growth fund focusing on partnering with game-changing European technology scale-up founders. Atomico Growth VI aligns perfectly with ETCI’s objective of supporting European tech companies and propelling their growth journeys.
- FSI II: ETCI has supported FSI II, a fund that supports the growth and expansion of Italian mid-cap companies, with a target fund size of €1.5 billion. FSI II targets established Italian businesses in various sectors, helping them become successful global players.
- Keensight Nova VI: ETCI has invested in Keensight Nova VI, a fund that focuses on cybersecurity, automation and robotics, enterprise software, med tech, and healthcare services. With a fund size of €2.3 billion, Keensight Nova VI aims to build a portfolio of exceptional tech and life science companies.
🇯🇵 Kioxia, Western Digital to invest $4.9bn in cutting-edge memory chips
Japan’s industry ministry said Tuesday it will help fund the mass production of cutting-edge memory chips by Kioxia Holdings and Western Digital (WD).
The two companies’ investment totals 729 billion yen ($4.9 billion), and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry will provide up to 243 billion yen in funding. The plan is to supply the chips for use in data centers, demand for which is likely to grow, driven by the increasing use of generative artificial intelligence applications.
🇨🇦 NGen Unveils $86.7 Million in New Advanced Manufacturing Projects at N3 Summit
NGen has announced over $32.3 million in Global Innovation Cluster funding for 15 new advanced manufacturing projects. With industry contributions of $54.4 million, the 15 projects are valued at a total of $86.7 million. The announcement was made during NGen’s inaugural N3 Summit, a new showcase and strategy event to promote Canadian leadership in advanced manufacturing.
This week's top funding events, acquisitions, and partnerships across industrial value chains
ZEDEDA Secures $72M in Growth Capital to Meet the Skyrocketing Demand for Edge AI and Computing
ZEDEDA, the leader in edge management and orchestration, announced the closing of $72 million in growth capital, with the Series C round led by Smith Point Capital, founded by former Salesforce Co-CEO Keith Block. The latest funding enables ZEDEDA to further expand sales and marketing activities and accelerate research and development to meet the rising demand for edge computing.
Aizon Secures $20M in Series C Funding Led by NewVale Capital to Enhance Pharma Manufacturing Outcomes
Aizon, an Artificial Intelligence (AI) SaaS provider that transforms pharmaceutical manufacturing operations, today announced that it has closed $20 million in Series C funding led by NewVale Capital, a growth equity fund that invests in proven, revenue-generating service businesses in pharmaceuticals and biotechnology. Existing investors Atlantic Bridge, Crosslink Capital, and Uncork Capital also participated in the round. This infusion of capital, combined with the continued support of key investment partners, will enable Aizon to significantly scale, accelerate its development pipeline, and better serve its customers.
Aizon leverages advanced predictive analytics, artificial intelligence, and other smart factory technologies to provide the most powerful and accessible GMP AI platform for pharmaceutical manufacturers. With Aizon, customers unlock next-generation insights and enhanced decision-making capabilities and can discover new optimisation paths, reduce costs, predict deviations, and enhance their manufacturing systems. Aizon prioritises rigorous quality and compliance and follows GAMP5 for GMP processes to ensure compliant data acquisition, storage, and consumption.
Trinity Capital Inc. Provides $20 Million Equipment Financing to Formlogic
Trinity Capital, leading provider of diversified financial solutions to growth-stage companies, announced the commitment of $20 million in equipment financing to Formlogic, a provider of autonomous precision manufacturing services intended for space companies. Formlogic has factories located in Pittsburgh spanning over 50,000 square feet. This growth capital will enable the company to acquire new CNC machines and continue to scale operations.
Formlogic is changing how precision parts are sourced and manufactured by separating engineering from physical labor. Through a combination of remote AI-based planning and autonomous production, the company has created software that performs the simulations needed to produce effectively, replacing the guess-and-check method usually done by a skilled worker.
Daedalus raises €19.4M to build world’s most advanced factories
Daedalus, a technology company building the world’s most advanced factories using AI, announced that it has secured $21M (approximately €19.4M) in a Series A round of funding.
The funding round was led by NGP Capital, with further participation from its existing investors, including Addition and Khosla Ventures. The German company will use the funds to develop its proprietary Manufacturing AI Platform and scale its production facilities in Germany.
The company uses its proprietary Manufacturing AI Platform to automate the entire manufacturing process, from quoting to delivery, for high-precision and high-mix parts. Daedalus’ production facilities utilise software to control and holistically optimise shop floor operations. Additionally, AI automates manual tasks involved in production.
AZUL Energy Raised ¥475 Million ($3.2 Million) in Series A Funding
AZUL Energy, a clean chemistry startup that develops catalysts for next-generation energy systems, announced that it has raised ¥475 million in Series A funding. The company has developed a high-performance catalyst that offers the same performance as rare metal catalysts (such as platinum) but without the high costs or significant resource constraints. They intend to implement it in various applications to promote a decarbonized and recycling-oriented society.
This new round of funding was led by Spiral Capital, Inc., with participation from TOHOKU University Venture Partners Co., Ltd., JMTC Capital LLC, Mitsubishi UFJ Capital Co., Ltd., Governance Partners Inc., and existing investor Spurcle Inc., totaling six companies in a third-party allotment of new shares.
Oslo-based OTee bags €1.25 million to be a driving force in the disruption of industrial automation
Oslo-based deep tech startup OTee has successfully closed an investment round of €1.25 million marking the largest first funding round out of Antler Norway. The investment was led by Norwegian venture capital fund RunwayFBU and Estonian fund Superangel.
Founded in 2022, OTee provides an industrial-grade engineering platform for designing, deploying, and managing virtual control systems based on open architecture and standards. At its core, the OTee platform is a potential game-changer enabling cheaper, faster, more sustainable, and secure industrial control systems for millions of automation engineers worldwide. OTee’s CEO and Co-founder, Henrik Pedersen, with 11 years of experience at ABB, firmly believes that a disruption of the Industrial automation (OT) domain is at our doorstep.
OTee’s applications range across almost all industries, showcasing the company’s limitless market potential. Focused on virtual Programmable Logic Controllers (vPLCs), OTee distinguishes itself by offering a SaaS platform built on a cybersecurity zero-trust architecture, that decouples the software and the hardware. This is making it possible to modernize an old control system with no physical intervention and remove the vendor lock-in.
Newcastle startup SQCDP secures £200,000 investment for manufacturing performance improvement
SQCDP, a Newcastle-based startup focusing on the improvement of manufacturing performance, has announced that it has secured £200,000 from London’s Q Ventures as part of a larger, still open and ongoing funding raise.
Offering a viable alternative to the costly and hardware-centric solutions prevalent in the market, SQCDP streamlines the process of collecting factory floor data, and provides access via mobile devices, tablets, and desktops, essentially rendering spreadsheets, forms, and whiteboards obsolete.
O'Shaughnessy Ventures Invests in Furno Materials
O’Shaughnessy Ventures LLC (“OSV”), a family office that invests in ambitious seed and pre-seed startups, announced that it has invested in Furno Materials Inc. (“Furno”). Founded in 2020 by Gurinder Nagra, Furno is building modular cement plants that are more carbon-efficient, cheaper to build, and less space-intensive than traditional plants.
Cement is the second most-consumed commodity in the world (behind water), and it produces 8% of global carbon dioxide emissions. Traditional cement plans are large and must be custom-built. Furno’s modular cement plants burn natural gas instead of coal. This means they release less carbon dioxide than traditional cement plants and can be heated and cooled more efficiently. Furno’s plants are designed to fit inside a shipping container, meaning they are portable and take up minimal space, which is ideal for building in developing markets.
Bollegraaf and Greyparrot Forge Strategic AI Partnership to Transform Global Waste Management Industry
Bollegraaf, the world’s largest builder of recycling plants, has entered into a strategic partnership with Greyparrot, a pioneer in AI waste analytics, to transform global waste management. As part of the agreement, Bollegraaf will transfer its AI vision business to Greyparrot and also make a cash investment, for a total value of $12.8M, in Greyparrot, obtaining a non-controlling stake in the company. It will also serve as a worldwide distributor and strategic partner for Greyparrot’s Analyzer, which currently provides 100% visibility into waste streams at recycling plants across 14 countries using AI camera systems.
The deal includes Greyparrot acquiring Bollegraaf’s vision-based computing intellectual property (IP) and esteemed AI development team. Greyparrot will also open its first office in mainland Europe in the Netherlands.
With this groundbreaking partnership, both companies aim to retrofit thousands of existing Materials Recovery Facilities (MRFs) and Plastics Recovery Facilities (PRFs) with advanced AI capabilities to significantly boost recycling rates and quantify material emissions. The collaboration will bring forth revolutionary smart recycling plants that are fully automated and agile, unlocking new value in waste streams while diverting millions of tonnes of waste away from landfills, oceans, and incinerators. In a development set to transform waste management, this marks a momentous acceleration in the global shift from a linear to a circular economy. Together, Greyparrot and Bollegraaf commit to developing further products that combine the strengths of both companies to make the vision of fully automated and intelligent sorting facilities a reality.
Supernova to Drive New VLM 3D Printing Technology, A Strategic Spin-Off by BCN3D
VLM, or Viscous Lithography Manufacturing, is a completely different 3D printing process that doesn’t use a vat of resin, as most resin processes do. Instead VLM uses a transparent film to carry a single layer of resin to the build chamber. This process repeats to build entire objects. The advantage is that VLM can produce objects using vastly thicker resins, hence the “viscous” in the process name. They say the resins can be up to 100X more viscous than typical 3D print resins.
The benefit comes from the ability to infuse different additives into the resin that could not be used by non-viscous processes. This has opened up a very wide range of possible materials, which BCN3D could exploit in the future. VLM sounds very promising, yet it is utterly different from their traditional FFF process. The process is different, the materials are very different, the applications are different, and therefore the customers will be different. Because of this divergence from the FFF trajectory, BCN3D has decided to spin off their VLM business into an entirely new and separate entity, Supernova.
Ares Management Launches Automated Industrial Robotics Inc.
Ares Management Corporation (NYSE: ARES) announced the launch of Automated Industrial Robotics Inc., a newly formed industrial automation company designed to capitalize on increasing global demand for manufacturing automation solutions. An Ares Private Equity fund has invested substantial equity capital to support AIR’s acquisition and organic growth strategy.
AIR is focused on acquiring and facilitating the growth of differentiated industrial automation companies serving diverse end markets with strong operational histories and tenured management teams. Grounded in a culture of safety, transparency and pursuit of excellent customer experience, AIR seeks to leverage complementary teams and technologies to deliver innovative, cost-competitive solutions to address the complex and challenging needs of global businesses. AIR will seek to grow through strategic investments in the technologies of the future, in pursuit of delivering excellence in automation.
In connection with the launch of AIR, the Company has acquired two foundational companies, Totally Automated Systems (“TA Systems”) and Modular Automation (“Modular”). Based in Detroit, Michigan, TA Systems has a more than 45-year history of designing and manufacturing fully integrated and stand-alone assembly machines for automotive, home appliances and other sectors. Based in Shannon, Ireland, Modular has been operating for nearly 40 years and is a leading automation solutions provider in the medical technology industry. These two companies bring a strong cultural and technological alignment as well as deep industry vertical knowledge and experience.