Automation Provides Life and Energy


Shop Talk

Capturing this week's zeitgeist

Mardi Gras is known for its carnival atmosphere, partying, and ‘throws’. The throws are usually beaded necklaces, doubloons, and other trinkets that are tossed to spectators from floats in parades. Some of the most famous U.S. Mardi Gras parades are in New Orleans. Thermo Fisher takes a look at the “Metals of Mardi Gras

Over at Disney, small, lightweight robots that are surprisingly tough enable new levels of creative freedom in the design and execution of a show.

Kaizen Blitz

According to A3, 2023 North America Robot Orders Down 30% Over Record 2022 In 2023, the strongest demand for robots from non-automotive companies came from the metal industry, followed by semiconductor & electronics/photonics; food & consumer goods; life sciences, pharmaceutical and biomedical, plastics & rubber, and others. The Robot Report asked A3’s president, Jeff Burnstein, for more insight.

ProGlove’s 2024 survey on Leadership Insights for Retail Warehouse Management is out. The Robot Report highlights the optimism about automation in retail.

The AI agent wars continue with Google’s Gemini 1.5 and OpenAI’s Sora released. Sora’s text-to-video generation “renders a richly detailed video.”

Assembly Line

This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media.

What is Advanced Industrial Analytics (AIA)?

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Vivek Murugesan

🔖 Topics: Manufacturing Analytics

🏢 Organizations: LNS Research

The AIA applications usually integrate with internal or external platforms, data connectors, and edge-to-cloud agents that facilitate data connectivity, modeling, and contextualization techniques required for effective analysis. Built on this data foundation, the applications then use several statistics, such as first principle, physics-based, and machine learning (ML) algorithms, to provide insights of varying levels of sophistication across the descriptive–prognostic spectrum.

Finally, these applications should ideally deliver value across several industrial use cases – including (but not limited to) asset performance, quality, manufacturing, productivity, process optimization, EHS, sustainability, etc., and target multiple user personas, such as engineers (industrial, process, reliability engineers), business users (cross-functional operations, quality, supply-chain, EHS personnel), and data scientists (data engineers, wranglers stewards, scientists, software engineers).

Read more at LNS Research Blog

Liebherr relies on Cisco for the modernization of its production and manufacturing processes

Customize large language models with oil and gas terminology using Amazon Bedrock

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Walt Mayfield, Felipe Lopez

🔖 Topics: Generative AI, Large Language Model

🏭 Vertical: Petroleum and Coal

🏢 Organizations: AWS, Equinor

The Norwegian multinational energy company Equinor has made Volve dataset, a set of drilling reports available for research, study, and development purposes. (When using external data, be sure to abide by the license the data is offered under.) The dataset contains 1,759 daily drilling reports—each containing both hourly comments and a daily summary—from the Volve field in the North Sea. Drilling rig supervisors tend to use domain-specific terminology and grammar when describing operations in both the hourly comments and the daily summary. This terminology is standard in the industry, which is why fine-tuning a foundation model using these reports is likely to improve summarization accuracy by enhancing the LLM’s ability to understand jargon and speak like a drilling engineer.

Generative AI has the potential to improve efficiency by automating time-consuming tasks even in domains that require deep knowledge of industry-specific nomenclature and acronyms. Having a custom model that provides drilling engineers with a draft of daily activities has the potential to save hours of work every week. Model customization can also help energy and utilities customers in other applications that involve the generation of highly technical content, as is the case of geological analyses, maintenance reports, and shift handover reports.

Read more at AWS Blog

Get it Done with Automated Tote Assembly

Nanotronics CFO explains using AI to produce more chips for AI: ‘We’re able to do everything from R&D to production’

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Sheryl Estrada

🏢 Organizations: Nanotronics

The company’s focus on Cubefabs, its AI-enabled chip factory. These “highly compact” facilities can be built in most climates and geographies around the world, and are increasingly viable alternatives to traditional megafactories, according to Nanotronics.

Cubefabs produce chips using gallium oxide, a material five times more efficient and versatile than silicon, with lower production and resource requirements, according to Globus.

Read more at Fortune

fruitcore robotics – Automatisierung der Laserbeschriftung mit Digital Robot HORST bei der MBV AG

UO researchers use electrochemistry to decarbonize iron production

📅 Date:

🏭 Vertical: Primary Metal

🏢 Organizations: University of Oregon

Using electrochemistry, University of Oregon researchers have developed a way to make iron metal for steel production without burning fossil fuels. The series of chemical reactions turns saltwater and iron oxide — cheap and abundant ingredients — into pure iron metal.

If scaled up, the process could help decarbonize one of the largest and most emissions-intensive industries worldwide. It might someday replace the carbon-spewing industrial blast furnaces currently used to produce the iron that feeds steel manufacturing. Importantly, the byproducts of the chemical reaction can all be repurposed. The sodium hydroxide that’s generated can go back into the reactor or be collected and used in carbon-capture technology. And chlorine is valuable in other industrial processes.

Read more at Around UO

Design and manufacture of mould-free fibre-reinforced laminates with compound curvature

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Christopher Jenkins, Matthew Donough, Gangadhara Prusty

🔖 Topics: Genetic Algorithm, Fibre-reinforced plastic

🏢 Organizations: UNSW Sydney

Composite manufacturing demands mould tooling to produce dimensionally accurate parts, adding substantial capital costs to their production. Recent developments in advanced manufacturing of fibre-reinforced polymer composite elements have seen the implementation of mould-free technologies that can produce complex shaped parts off a flat tool. This paper presents eccentric fibre prestress as a novel mould-free method for producing curvatures within carbon fibre and glass fibre laminates. Tailoring the flexural rigidity along the primary orientation of the laminate is shown to result in predictable compound curvature profiles with a low average root mean square error of 1.39 across the four geometries tested. An analytical model based on Euler–Bernoulli beam theory is proposed and proven to correlate closely with the experiential laminates. Finally, an inverse design approach based on a genetic algorithm is demonstrated to design an accurate laminate configuration, achieving the top surface of a NACA 4412 aerofoil section with a low root mean square error of 1.98 using the proposed eccentric fibre prestress.

Read more at The International Journal of Advanced Manufacturing Technology

AI predicts head-impact crash results at blazing speed

New Product Introduction

Highlighting new and innovative products and services

Honeywell Technology To Power The World's First Commercial Scale Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier Project

📅 Date:

🏢 Organizations: Honeywell, ENEOS

Honeywell announced that ENEOS, a leading energy company in Japan, will develop the world’s first commercial scale Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carrier (LOHC) project using Honeywell’s solution at multiple sites. The LOHC solution enables the long-distance transportation of clean hydrogen and can help meet the growing requirements for hydrogen use across various industries by leveraging existing refining assets and infrastructure. The project supports Honeywell’s alignment of its portfolio to three compelling megatrends in automation, the future of aviation and energy transition.

Read more at PR Newswire

va-Q-tec launches the “Thermal Coat” for increased temperature integrity in pharmaceutical air and sea freight

📅 Date:

🏢 Organizations: va-Q-tec

va-Q-tec, an expert in thermal energy efficiency and temperature-controlled supply chains, presents a new solution for the transport of temperature-sensitive goods in pharmaceutical air and sea freight. The so-called Thermal Coat, which is equipped with innovative va-Q-gel technology, solves challenges with its ability to coat temperature-sensitive goods directly and in a space-saving manner. The va-Q-gel consists of gelled phase change material (PCM), which is particularly leak-proof due to its composition. It can be individually pre-conditioned for the ranges +2 °C to +8 °C or +15 °C to +25 °C and then requires no further external energy supply. With a qualified performance of up to 24 hours, the Thermal Coat outperforms conventional solutions. This improves autonomous performance and buffer times during transportation and therefore the safety of the goods being transported.

Read more at va-Q-tec News

SpartanNash Advancing Retail Innovation with In-Store Robotics

📅 Date:

🏢 Organizations: SpartanNash

Food solutions company SpartanNash announced plans to implement Simbe’s autonomous inventory robot Tally in 60 additional Company-operated stores across the Midwest. This opportunity to generate actionable, real-time inventory insights represents SpartanNash’s continued investment in technology to enhance the store guest and Associate experiences.

Simbe’s Store Intelligence platform informs product stocking, ordering, merchandising, and e-commerce fulfillment with real-time inventory insights across every store area. This data precision empowers Associates to ensure items are available for store guests with accurate location and price, while freeing up their time for more engaging, guest-facing work. As part of SpartanNash’s commitment to customer-focused innovation, this Tally expansion follows the Company’s investment in other food technology solutions Upshop Magic™ and Flashfood.

Read more at PR Newswire

Now Operational: The World’s First PickUpPort™

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: BOPIS

🏢 Organizations: AutoStore, Element Logic, thansen

AutoStore™, the leading robotic technology company specializing in automated storage and retrieval systems, announces that the world’s first in-store solution equipped with an AutoStore PickUpPort™, enabling fully automatic delivery of goods to customers, is now operational at thansen’s brand-new store in Copenhagen, Denmark. This cutting-edge technology is made possible through AutoStore, in collaboration with our esteemed partner, Element Logic.

This innovative AutoStore solution, implemented by Element Logic, features 14 robots and over 18,000 bins, optimizing storage space for more than 32,000 of thansen’s 200,000 items. The warehouse’s modest size doesn’t compromise the range of goods available to customers, as items are directly accessible in the store without the need to be ordered from a central warehouse.

Read more at AutoStore News

Industrial Policy

How governments are shaping the future industrial landscape.

🇯🇵 Toyota home ground becomes base for drone and space start-ups

📅 Date:

🏭 Vertical: Aerospace

Start-ups developing future forms of transport such as space planes, drones and flying cars are emerging in central Japan’s Aichi prefecture, home to Toyota Motor and its suppliers, driven by a sense of urgency to foster industrial momentum amid challenges from the arrival of electric vehicles.

The local government hopes to build on that momentum as it prepares to open a start-up incubation centre, Station Ai, in the prefectural capital of Nagoya in October. The facility, built and operated by SoftBank, plans to accommodate about 1,000 start-ups.

Read more at Financial Times

Business Transactions

This week's top funding events, acquisitions, and partnerships across industrial value chains

Point2 Tech Secures $23 Million Series B Boost from Bosch Ventures and Molex to Revolutionize Multi-Terabit Interconnect for AI and Automotive

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏭 Vertical: Automotive

🏢 Organizations: Point2 Tech, Bosch, Molex

Point2 Technology, a leading provider of ultra-low-power, low-latency mixed-signal SoC solutions for multi-terabit interconnect, announced a $22.6 million Series B extension from Bosch Ventures, a leader in deep tech investments, and Molex, a global electronics leader and connectivity innovator, with participation from other investors. This Series B extension validates the demand for Point2’s technology in AI/ML data center applications and the potential to disrupt network interconnect in the broad automotive sector.

Point2 is also partnering with Molex, a strategic investor, to commercialize its E-Tube technology, a scalable interconnect platform that uses RF data transmission over plastic dielectric waveguide to enable multi-terabit active cables with 80% lower weight and 50% less bulk than copper cables. Compared to optical cables, E-Tube is expected to reduce power consumption and costs by 50%, with picosecond latencies that are three orders of magnitude better. Shattering the “copper or optics” paradigm for high-speed cable interconnect, E-Tube breaks the barriers of copper and optical cabling and is poised to become the next-generation multi-terabit interconnect technology.

Read more at PR Newswire

Sage Geosystems Raises $17 Million in Series A, Announces World’s First Commercial Geopressured Geothermal System (GGS) Facility

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Sage Geosystems, Chesapeake Energy

Sage Geosystems announced the first close of $17 million in Series A funding led by Chesapeake Energy Corporation and joined by technology investor Arch Meredith, Helium-3 Ventures and with continued support from existing investors Virya, LLC, Nabors Industries Ltd., and Ignis Energy Inc. The proceeds will fully fund the first of its kind 3MW commercial Geopressured Geothermal System (GGS) facility, which will be built in Texas.

The 3MW commercial facility, called EarthStore™, will use Sage Geosystems’ innovative technology that harvests energy from pressurized water stored deep underground. The facility will be able to store energy for short and long duration periods and can be paired with intermittent renewable energy sources, including wind and solar, to provide baseload, dispatchable power, and inertia to the electric grid.

Read more at Business Wire

Quilter raises $10 million for AI-powered circuit board design, led by Benchmark

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Quilter, Benchmark

Quilter announced it raised $10 million, saying it would use artificial intelligence to reduce the time to design components that power electronics in rockets, computers, smartphones and other devices. The $10 million Series A round was led by one of Silicon Valley’s most storied venture capital firms, Benchmark.

Read more at Reuters

Celadyne Secures $4.5 Million to Accelerate Industrial Decarbonization with Durable Fuel Cells

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Celadyne, Maniv, Dynamo Ventures, University of California

Celadyne, the decarbonization and hydrogen solution company, announced that they have raised $4.5M in seed investment funding. The round was co-led by Maniv and Dynamo Ventures, with major participation from EPS Ventures.

Specifically, Celadyne’s materials and technologies replace the proton exchange membrane to create fuel cells that are more durable, and electrolyzers that are more compact and efficient. This newfound durability allows fuel cells to be utilized as an environmentally-friendlier alternative to diesel engines, and makes electrolyzers that produce low cost green hydrogen as fuel.

Read more at PR Newswire

Renesas to Acquire PCB Design Software Leader Altium to Make Electronics Design Accessible to Broader Market and Accelerate Innovation

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Acquisition

🏢 Organizations: Renesas, Altium

Renesas Electronics Corporation, a supplier of advanced semiconductor solutions, and Altium Limited a global leader in electronics design systems, today announced they have entered into a Scheme Implementation Agreement (“SIA”) for Renesas to acquire Altium by way of a Scheme of Arrangement under Australian law (“Scheme”).

Together, Renesas and Altium, under a shared vision, aim to build an integrated and open electronics system design and lifecycle management platform that unifies these steps at a system level. The acquisition brings together Altium’s sophisticated cloud platform capabilities with Renesas’ strong portfolio of embedded solutions, combining high-performance processors, analog, power and connectivity. The combination will also enable integration with third-party vendors across the ecosystem to execute all electronic design steps seamlessly on the cloud. The electronics system design and lifecycle management platform will deliver integration and standardization of various electronic design data and functions and enhanced component lifecycle management, while enabling seamless digital iteration of design processes to increase overall productivity. This brings significantly faster innovation and lowers barriers to entry for system designers by reducing development resources and inefficiencies.

Read more at Renesas Press

Mitsubishi Electric, HACARUS to Expand AI Visual-inspection Business

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Partnership

🏢 Organizations: HACARUS, Mitsubishi Electric

Mitsubishi Electric Corporation and HACARUS Corporation announced today that they have agreed to expand their collaboration in the development of AI-based visual-inspection applications for manufacturing. As part of the agreement, Mitsubishi Electric will take an equity stake in HACARUS.

The strategic partnership will leverage the resources and technologies of both companies to increase synergies aimed at maximizing mutual technological and business potential. By leveraging HACARUS’ expertise, Mitsubishi Electric expects to accelerate its development and provision of integrated and automated AI-based visual-inspection solutions that will enable customers to improve manufacturing quality and overall productivity. For HACARUS, the collaboration will provide access to Mitsubishi Electric’s extensive sales infrastructure in Japan and overseas.

HACARUS Check is a visual-inspection solution equipped with a unique, compact AI. In addition to AI development, HACARUS also specializes in integrating AI with various factory automation (FA) devices. In December 2023, Mitsubishi Electric released MELSOFT VIXIO, an AI-based visual-inspection software equipped with the company’s proprietary Maisart AI technology to automate visual-inspection processes for improved manufacturing quality and to address the problem of Japan’s shrinking labor force.

Read more at HACARUS Press