Leverage Software for Frontline Collaboration


Shop Talk

Capturing this week's zeitgeist

Quartr breaks down most of the key logic board chip suppliers for Apple’s new Vision Pro. Texas Instruments, onsemi, and Apple themselves dominate the board.

Kaizen Blitz

  • Exotec reveals their “Top Warehouse Trends for 2024
    • Advanced robotics, specifically goods-to-person robotics, are emerging as efficient alternatives to traditional Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems.

Assembly Line

This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media.

Hadrian Automation’s CEO wants to defy history and revitalize American industry

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Aria Alamalhodaei

🔖 Topics: CNC Machining

🏢 Organizations: Hadrian

Hadrian is targeting high-precision CNC machining, a manufacturing process where parts frequently require tolerances down to the micron level (a single human hair is anywhere from 50-120 microns in thickness). Power said the company is focused on automating the core, labor-intensive steps that start when the customer orders a part to that part being shipped — which includes programming the CNC cutting and inspection machines but extends well beyond that, to many other aspects of factory operations: scheduling, task management, paperwork.

The idea is to leverage software as much as possible up to around 80-90%, and leave the rest to humans, possibly forever; according to Power, this strategy still gives humans what are essentially superpowers without having to wait years to solve the hardest problems.

Read more at TechCrunch

Safeguarding CNC Machines in Networked IT/OT Environments

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Danny Weller

🔖 Topics: Cybersecurity, IT OT Convergence, CNC Machining

🏢 Organizations: AMFG

In a networked IT/OT environment, threats can infiltrate CNC machines even without direct access from an attacker. IT users engaging with vulnerable websites or falling victim to phishing emails can introduce threats into the corporate network, ultimately spreading to the OT side and affecting individual machines.

To safeguard CNC machines in networked IT/OT environments, several immediate steps can be implemented. Firstly, conducting a comprehensive inventory of all CNC tools is essential to maintain a clear and up-to-date understanding of the network’s composition. Segregating the CNC machine network into its own segment is advisable, allowing for more straightforward monitoring of traffic flows, with the ability to cut off access if necessary. Additionally, deploying intrusion prevention systems (IPS) and firewalls adds an extra layer of protection to enhance overall security.

Read more at AMFG Blog

High-speed packaging lines for coffee packaging by Goglio – automated by B&R

10 cobots guarantee ‘just in time’ manufacture of gearboxes

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Cobot, Autonomous Mobile Robot, JIT

🏢 Organizations: SEAT Componentes, Universal Robots, Movvo, Volkswagen

Gearbox manufacturer SEAT Componentes needed to automate the unloading of 18,000 machined gears a day at its plant in Spain to guarantee the quality of the parts. The company integrated 10 collaborative robots from Universal Robots using only internal resources.

This formula made it possible for SEAT to keep know-how on cobot configuration in-house, eliminating extra programming and maintenance costs. The do-it-yourself installation was done without changing the existing factory layout, allowing new applications to be configured in less than 1 hour. As a result, the company has reduced errors, improved worker safety, and now has a team prepared to take on new automation projects.

Read more at The Robot Robot

Collaboration Platforms to Solve Your Frontline Workforce Challenges

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Allison Kuhn

🔖 Topics: Connected Worker, Digital Work Instructions

🏢 Organizations: LNS Research

The Connected Frontline Workforce (CFW) applications space is diverse, dynamic, and fragmented. Players range from early-stage start-ups backed by venture capital to publicly traded global tech giants. The vendors in this space offer a wide range of products and go-to-market strategies.

CFW initiatives have become a strategic imperative for many as manufacturers seek to solve critical labor shortages, skills gaps, and retention issues in frontline operations. CFW-enabling technology has been proven to help companies meet frontline workforce challenges while optimizing operational performance across safety, quality, and productivity dimensions. However, navigating the relatively immature and highly fragmented CFW Applications market to capture the opportunity fully can be challenging.

Read more at LNS Research Blog

Digital Twin Simulation of Robotic Lineside Sealant Dispense Operation

Turn a Raspberry Pi Into a PLC Using OpenPLC

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Don Wilcher

🔖 Topics: Programmable Logic Controller

🏢 Organizations: OpenPLC

OpenPLC provides a control engineering development platform that transforms various microcontrollers into programmable logic controllers. OpenPLC is compatible with platforms including the Arduino Uno, ESP32, and RP2040, and even single-board computers like the Raspberry Pi can be used as a PLC with the editor, a runtime engine, and a web server. This project article will explain the steps used to create a PLC with a Raspberry Pi using OpenPLC.

Read more at Control Automation

AMD + Ansys – Together We Advance

New Product Introduction

Highlighting new and innovative products and services

Nuclear SMR welding breakthrough: A year's work now takes a day

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: David Szondy

🔖 Topics: Electron Beam Welding

🏢 Organizations: Sheffield Forgemasters, Cambridge Vacuum Engineering

Small Modular Reactor (SMR) construction shifts into high gear, as UK company Sheffield Forgemasters welds a full-size nuclear reactor vessel in under 24 hours instead of the usual 12 months. The rollout of this game-changing tech could be massive.

The problem is that there are bottlenecks in how to build reactors of any size. One is welding the vessels used to contain the reactor core, isolating it from the outer environment. Using conventional techniques, this can take over a year, but Sheffield Forgemasters have reduced this to under a day using what is called Local Electron-Beam Welding (LEBW) to complete four thick, nuclear-grade welds.

LEBW is a revolutionary method to weld two pieces of metal together using a high-energy density fusion process centered on a high-powered electron gun operating in a local vacuum. This melts and fuses components to one another and allows for an efficiency of 95%, deep penetration, and a high depth-to-width ratio.

Read more at New Atlas

Skechers Launches High-Tech Warehouse With Hai Robotics' Automated Goods-to-Person System

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Warehouse Automation, Automated Storage Retrieval System

🏢 Organizations: Hai Robotics, Skechers, MHE Solutions

Skechers USA, a leading global footwear and apparel company, turns to Hai Robotics (“Hai”), a leading global provider of Automated Storage and Retrieval Systems (ASRS), as they launch their new distribution center in Minato City, Tokyo, Japan. Using Hai’s automated goods-to-person system, Skechers is maximizing warehouse operational efficiency, fulfillment speed, and order accuracy.

Within Skechers’ facility, the HaiPick System covers 139,705 square feet and is operated by 69 HaiPick Autonomous Case-handling Mobile Robots (ACRs), which are integrated with Manhattan Associates’ cloud-native warehouse management system (WMS). ACRs are highly intelligent, tall pieces of equipment that autonomously navigate narrow aisles of an ASRS constructed of almost any industry-standard racking or shelving with a vertical reach extending up to 32 feet. The robots pick containers off the shelving — transporting up to 8 at any given time for maximum order-batching efficiency — and deliver them to human-operated workstations.

Read more at Hai Robotics News

OSARO Debuts AI-Powered Robotics for Mixed-Case Depalletization

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Warehouse Automation

🏢 Organizations: OSARO

The OSARO® Robotic Depalletizing System is a direct replacement for manual pallet unloading — even complex mixed-case pallets. The system combines OSARO SightWorks™ Perception with advanced robotics hardware to automate the incoming inventory process and improve safety, boost efficiency, reduce labor costs, and minimize inventory shrinkage.

Read more at OSARO Resources

Special steel plant in Kapfenberg: workplace of the future

📅 Date:

🏭 Vertical: Primary Metal

🏢 Organizations: voestalpine

Procedures, working methods, systems, processes, control, collaboration: a lot is new at the Kapfenberg special steel plant. In the old plant, work was spread out over several stations, but now many people can work together in one room: melters, crane operators, plant operators. Technology and control are centralized in one place. The use of robots and manipulators means less physical effort, but digitalization comes with other challenges.

Read more at voestalpine Blog

Industrial Policy

How governments are shaping the future industrial landscape.

🇸🇦 Saudi Arabia Sets Up Industrial Robotics Facility With SoftBank

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Matthew Martin

🏢 Organizations: Softbank

Saudi Arabia’s new $100 billion investment firm announced a string of deals Tuesday, including partnerships with SoftBank Group Corp. and a Chinese surveillance equipment maker to set up local manufacturing facilities, as part of the kingdom’s efforts to transform itself into an industrial powerhouse.

The new vehicle, Alat, and SoftBank will invest as much as $150 million to establish a fully-automated manufacturing and engineering hub in Riyadh. The venture will build industrial robots based on intellectual property developed by SoftBank, with the first factory set to open in December.

Read more at Bloomberg

🇺🇸 Biden-Harris Administration Announces Preliminary Terms with GlobalFoundries to Strengthen Domestic Legacy Chip Supply for U.S. Auto and Defense Industries

📅 Date:

The Biden-Harris Administration announced that the U.S. Department of Commerce and GlobalFoundries (GF) have signed a non-binding preliminary memorandum of terms (PMT) to provide approximately $1.5 billion in direct funding under the CHIPS and Science Act to strengthen U.S. domestic supply chain resilience, bolster U.S. competitiveness in current-generation and mature-node (C&M) semiconductor production, and support economic and national security capabilities. The proposed funding would support a new state-of-the-art facility, significant capacity expansion, and the modernization of GF’s U.S. manufacturing sites in New York and Vermont, which produce essential automotive, communications, and defense semiconductor technologies.

Read more at US Department of Commerce

🇸🇬 RTX's Pratt & Whitney announces full operations of Singapore Technology Accelerator

📅 Date:

In September 2022, Pratt & Whitney announced the intent to establish the technology accelerator in collaboration with the Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB). STA has since delivered over 30 innovations which will maximize the productivity in MRO processes. STA is also working with more than 20 Singapore companies to develop new, relevant technologies in the global commercial aviation sector.

Read more at PR Newswire

Business Transactions

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

CORE Industrial Partners Announces Closing of Two New Funds Totaling $887 Million

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: CORE Industrial Partners

CORE Industrial Partners (CORE), a manufacturing, industrial technology, and industrial services-focused private equity firm, is pleased to announce the closing of $887 million in capital commitments between its $685 million flagship fund, CORE Industrial Partners Fund III, L.P. (Fund III) and $202 million in its new offering, CORE Industrial Services Fund I, L.P. (Services Fund I) with both funds exceeding their targets. In the past five years, CORE has raised more than $1.58 billion of total limited partner commitments dedicated to investing in the industrial sector.

Fund III will continue CORE’s existing flagship strategy of acquiring manufacturing and industrial technology businesses that CORE believes can benefit from its deep investment and operating experience to accelerate growth and create long-term value for investors, business owners and management teams.

CORE’s newest fund strategy, Industrial Services Fund I, brings a more concentrated focus to the highly fragmented industrial services sector that CORE believes is experiencing strong growth due to reshoring and proliferation of advanced technologies with the adoption of Industry 4.0 applications in North America.

Read more at CORE IP News

Antora Energy Raises $150 Million to Slash Industrial Emissions and Spur U.S. Manufacturing

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Antora Energy, Decarbonization Partners, BlackRock, Temasek

Antora Energy, a leader in zero-emissions industrial heat and power, raised a $150 million Series B funding round led by Decarbonization Partners, a partnership between BlackRock and Temasek. This financing round will enable Antora to ramp production of its factory-made thermal batteries to deliver billions of dollars of zero-emissions energy to industrial customers. Emerson Collective, GS Futures, The Nature Conservancy, and a subsidiary of NextEra Energy Resources, LLC also participated in this round, alongside existing investors Trust Ventures, Lowercarbon Capital, Breakthrough Energy Ventures, BHP Ventures, Overture VC, and Grok Ventures.

Antora is unlocking zero-emissions industrial energy, cheaper than fossil fuels. Antora leverages renewable electricity to heat blocks of solid carbon—a low-cost, earth-abundant, and safe storage medium that’s used extensively across industries—to glowing hot temperatures in an insulated module. The stored heat is then reliably delivered at the scale and temperatures that large industrial operations demand. Additionally, Antora’s thermal battery can output electricity at breakthrough efficiencies using Antora’s thermophotovoltaic (TPV) technology, which converts the stored heat directly into electricity without the drawbacks of a conventional heat engine.

Read more at Business Wire

Niron Magnetics Secures Funding from Samsung Ventures, Allison Transmission and Magna to Accelerate Production of Rare Earth-Free Magnets

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Niron Magnetics, Samsung, Allison Transmission, Magna

Niron Magnetics, the company pioneering the world’s first high-performance, rare earth-free permanent magnets, announced it has received $25 million in new strategic funding. This round was led by Samsung Ventures, which has the investment mandate to closely track the strategic priorities of leading consumer electronics manufacturer Samsung and encompasses investments in consumer electronics, semiconductors, telecommunications, and more. Allison Ventures, the venture capital arm of Allison Transmission, leading designer and manufacturer of vehicle propulsion solutions, was also part of this funding round, along with one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, Magna. This investment will strengthen Niron’s ability to expand its production facilities and scale manufacturing capacity for exclusive customer programs and initial sales of the Clean Earth Magnet.

With this new funding, Niron will expand its pilot production facilities, enhancing its ability to serve diverse clientele and support customer prototyping programs. The company will also scale up manufacturing capacity to meet growing demand and accelerate research and development efforts to drive continuous improvement in performance and efficiency.

Read more at Business Wire

Monumo emerges from stealth with £10.5M seed funding and advanced EV motor

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Jason Matthews

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Monumo

Monumo, a deeptech company blending artificial intelligence (AI) with traditional engineering, has emerged from stealth with groundbreaking advancements in electric motor design. The company’s patented technology, based on simulation, optimisation, and prototype frameworks, has achieved a 50% reduction in torque ripple in SRMs. Monumo’s innovative approach signifies a breakthrough in motor efficiency, making it smoother and quieter, thus more appropriate for use in EVs.

Read more at TFN

Novity Secures $7.8 Million in New Funding to Revolutionize Predictive Maintenance with its TruPrognostics AI

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Novity, WERU Investment

Novity®, the provider of the TruPrognostics™ AI, a truly predictive maintenance AI for process industry clients, is pleased to announce the successful closure of $7.8 million in financing. The investment will accelerate Novity’s mission to transform how industries manage and optimize their maintenance operations. On the heels of Novity’s commercial traction, which includes Fortune 1000 (F1000) customers, the investment was led by WERU Investment in a global consortium of investors including Myriad Venture Partners and METAWATER, Co., Ltd.

After spinning its team and technology out of Xerox PARC in 2022, Novity is now serving a growing number of Fortune 1000 clients who recognize the transformative potential of truly predictive maintenance. The TruPrognostics AI has been instrumental in reducing unplanned downtime, maintenance costs, and operational disruptions across various industries, including manufacturing, oil and gas, and chemicals.

Read more at PR Newswire

RET Ventures Leads $7.5 Million Series A in Conservation Labs to Interpret Sound for Water Conservation and Machinery Maintenance

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Conservation Labs, RET Ventures

Conservation Labs, an artificial intelligence (AI) company that developed a groundbreaking platform that decodes audio data into actionable insights in the built environment to reduce carbon emissions and energy and water usage, announced that it has raised a $7.5-million Series A funding round. The round was led by RET Ventures’ Housing Impact Fund and included the participation of Sustain VC.

To further its mission, Conservation Labs employed its AI platform to develop Sustainable Machines™, a product suite that assesses the condition of machinery. By interpreting a machine’s sound profile, the product delivers operational insights and predictive maintenance recommendations, thereby reducing maintenance costs and extending the machinery’s life. With early adopters of Sustainable Machines™ generating an ROI over 100% through increased maintenance efficiency and improved uptime, the company has already sold nearly 10,000 sensors across the country.

Read more at Business Wire

Align Capital Partners Announces Sale of SEAM Group to ABB

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Acquisition

🏢 Organizations: Align Capital, SEAM Group, ABB

Align Capital Partners announced that its portfolio company SEAM Group has entered into a definitive agreement to be acquired by ABB. SEAM Group is a provider of energized asset management and advisory services to over 3,000 customer sites across the industrial and commercial building markets. The transaction is subject to regulatory approval and expected to close in Q3 2024.

Headquartered in Beachwood, Ohio, SEAM Group provides customers holistic advisory, training and technology solutions including electrical safety, predictive maintenance programs, reliability consulting and repair services; each supported by patented software systems ensuring program metrics. ACP’s initial investment in the SEAM Group platform came via the acquisition of Lewellyn Technology in 2017. During the partnership, SEAM Group experienced strong organic growth and scaled operations through three add-on acquisitions.

Read more at Business Wire

Toyota Material Handling Europe (TMHE) and Gideon enter strategic cooperation for new automated solutions

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Partnership

🏢 Organizations: Toyota, Gideon

By implementing Gideon’s AI-powered autonomy software stack on Toyota vehicles, the market will get solution to some of the unsolved automation problems through significantly shortened project implementation timelines, focusing primarily on collaborative case picking for retail order fulfilment and autonomous truck unloading and loading.

Read more at Gideon News