Defining the Future of Supply Chain


Shop Talk

Capturing this week's zeitgeist

MODEX 2024 is set to feature over 1,175 exhibitors, 200 sessions, and keynotes this week at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta!

Three planned demonstrations caught my eye:

  • Third Wave Automation to showcase a live demo of autonomous forklifts
  • Kawasaki Robotics partners with Olis Robotics to offer remote monitoring and control of its industrial robots
  • Synergy Logistics’ latest multi-agent orchestration (MAO) technology, SnapControl

Kaizen Blitz

  • 💸 McMaster University and Celesta Capital Launch Partnership to Nurture Development of Canadian Deep Tech Startups
  • 💸⛓️ Tyson Ventures Invites Startups to Apply for Tyson Demo Day 2024 with a focus on supply chain technologies
  • 💸🚰 Twelve startups were selected for the 2024 cohort of the Xylem Partnerships Accelerator run by Xylem Innovation Labs to solve global water challenges
  • 🛡️ [Aerospace and Defense 2024 Technology Trends( by Benchmark’s Rick Gronemeyer
  • 📊 Hexagon’s 2024 Advanced Manufacturing Report uncovers evidence of fundamental shifts in how high-value products are designed and manufactured through three fundamental digital enablers – data quality and availability, workforce collaboration and empowerment, and automation.
    • Data woes contributed to 97% of manufacturers facing challenges in collaboration and productivity, which can impact their ability to innovate and delay responding to customers’ needs.
  • 🧑‍💻 Why Skilled Automation Engineers Aren’t Applying for your Job Openings

Assembly Line

This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media.

Method rapidly verifies that a robot will avoid collisions

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Adam Zewe

🔖 Topics: Collision Avoidance

🏢 Organizations: MIT

MIT researchers have developed a safety check technique which can prove with 100 percent accuracy that a robot’s trajectory will remain collision-free (assuming the model of the robot and environment is itself accurate). Their method, which is so precise it can discriminate between trajectories that differ by only millimeters, provides proof in only a few seconds.

The researchers accomplished this using a special algorithmic technique, called sum-of-squares programming, and adapted it to effectively solve the safety check problem. Using sum-of-squares programming enables their method to generalize to a wide range of complex motions.

Read more at MIT News

Defining the Future of Supply Chain & Manufacturing with Fictiv CEO Dave Evans

OEM servitization strategies: Why Equipment as a Service hasn’t taken off yet

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Matthieu Kulezak

🔖 Topics: XaaS

🏢 Organizations: IoT Analytics

In 2020, IoT Analytics questioned whether we were witnessing the start of the machine-outcome decade (the 2020s), where assets are not purchased as capital expenditures (CapEx) but, instead, are paid for on an outcome basis as operational expenses (OpEx). Moving from CapEx to OpEx helps companies with limited access to capital access equipment without a large upfront investment, and assets with unpredictable usage could be more cost-effective since the companies would only pay for what they use.

According to our latest research on the topic—the 147-page Equipment as a Service Market Report 2024–2028—the concepts of “equipment as a service” and “pay-per-use” have not taken off as much as expected, even though the greater subscription economy has. IoT Analytics’ estimates the adoption of “as-a-service” models is less than 1%—meaning that less than 1% of equipment sales in 2023 (machines, electronics, electrical equipment, etc.) was achieved with EaaS contracts.

Read more at IoT Analytics

The amazing and wonderful process of making a Japanese three-phase motor

Intelligent synthesis of magnetic nanographenes via chemist-intuited atomic robotic probe

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Quantum Computing

🏢 Organizations: National University of Singapore

Atomic-scale manufacturing of carbon-based quantum materials with single-bond precision holds immense potential in advancing tailor-made quantum materials with unconventional properties, which are crucial in developing next-generation spintronic devices and quantum information technologies. On-surface chemistry approaches, including surface-assisted synthesis and probe-assisted manipulation, are impeded by challenges in reaction selectivity control or restricted by scalability and production efficiency. Here we demonstrate the concept of the chemist-intuited atomic robotic probe by integrating probe chemistry knowledge and artificial intelligence, allowing for atomically precise single-molecule manipulation to fabricate single-molecule quantum π-magnets with single-bond precision. Our deep neural networks not only transform complex probe chemistry into machine-understandable tasks but also provide chemist intuition to elusive reaction mechanisms by extracting the critical chemical information within the data. A joint experimental and theoretical investigation demonstrates that a voltage-controlled two-electron-assisted electronic excitation enables synchronous six-bond transformations to extend the zigzag edge topology of single-molecule quantum π-magnets, triggered by phenyl C(sp2)–H bond activation, which aligns with initial conjectures given by the deep neural models. Our work represents a transition from autonomous fabrication to intelligent synthesis with levels of selectivity and precision beyond current synthetic tools for improved synthesis of organic quantum materials towards on-chip integration.

Read more at Nature

Manufacturing Driven Design for printed circuit boards

Intel Receives ASML’s First High NA EUV system

New Product Introduction

Highlighting new and innovative facilities, processes, products, and services

Aston Martin reveals the world’s most bespoke, advanced and meticulously engineered road bicycle

📅 Date:

🏢 Organizations: Aston Martin, J Laverack

The J.Laverack Aston Martin .1R uses a flawless fusion of parametrically designed, 3D printed titanium lugs and sculpted carbon fibre tubes. This ensures a frame that not only delivers an exceptional blend of response and comfort, but also sets new standards of elegance and beauty on two wheels. The smooth unions of the lugs and tubes are truly innovative and the herringboned weave of the carbon fibre on display is immaculate, despite the intricacy involved in manufacturing.

Read more at Aston Martin Media

Plataine Unveils AI-Based Autoclave Scheduling Optimization Solution

📅 Date:

🏢 Organizations: Plataine

Plataine, a leading innovator of AI-based manufacturing optimization solutions, introduces its Autoclave Scheduler Solution, part of Plataine’s Total Production Optimization (TPO) solution suite. Operating autoclaves is associated with significant expenses, a high carbon footprint, and often creating a bottleneck in production processes. The complexity of handling multiple recipes, part & machine profiles, and designated tools has historically led to inefficient utilization, with autoclaves running well below capacity.

Plataine’s AI-driven Autoclave Scheduler optimizes autoclave operations, considering real-time production factors, such as autoclave volume and capacity, part recipes, vacuum-port & daisy-chaining restrictions and considerations, digital management of physical assets (Tokenization), tool variations, human capacity, shifts and availability, and the overall production situation up- and down-stream from the autoclaves to automatically generate optimized and practical plans. The plans adhere to all restrictions, requirements, capacities, and availabilities of relevant resources and demand sets. They follow business rules, machine profiles and material recipes and priorities, ensuring due dates are met while optimizing each autoclave run to its fullest potential.

Read more at Plataine

Industrial Policy

How governments are shaping the future industrial landscape.

🇳🇱 Secret operation cabinet under code name 'Beethoven' for imminent departure ASML

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Leon Brandsema, Niels Rigter

At the ministries involved, an operation has now been rigged under the name ’ Beethoven ’, initiates tell De Telegraaf. There, the cabinet is examining what it takes to keep the chip machine manufacturer here. The company is said to have placed a number of wishes with the cabinet and have also put them on the table that expanding elsewhere is also an option, for example in France. The Hague speaks of a big puzzle.

Moving ASML parts, or expanding abroad alone, would be an extremely sensitive blow to the Netherlands, after multinationals Shell and Unilever previously moved their headquarters to the United Kingdom. Concerns about the Dutch business climate are boiling now that ASML is also threatening to take the neighborhood abroad. The company is not only of great economic value, but also strategically of great value.

Read more at De Telegraaf

🇧🇪🇨🇳 Europe’s chips research champion is cutting China ties

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Pieter Haeck

Belgium-based Imec, a world-leading research center in microelectronics, has soured on China. Imec has “drastically reduced” its Chinese partnerships, the Flemish Economy Ministry, which oversees the microchips research center, told POLITICO. The research center will continue to phase out ongoing obligations on more mature technology.

Imec’s rollback is the latest example of how “China” has become a tainted word in the chips industry. European governments are closely scrutinizing the contacts that their chip companies have with China — mostly pressured by the United States, which aims to cut off China’s access to advanced chips.

Read more at POLITICO

🇺🇸🇨🇳 Green Industrial Policy: A Holistic Approach

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Ilaria Mazzocco

In the United States, the rise of the economic-climate agenda and green industrial policy has coincided with growing attention to supply chain resilience, economic security, and a deteriorating U.S.-China relationship. As a consequence, the interaction between trade, geopolitics, domestic economic policy, and climate policy demands a new holistic approach from policymakers and civil society to find more politically sustainable and effective policy solutions. More consideration should be given to the specifics of U.S. climate strategy when it comes to trade and international relations and how to integrate climate strategy with the Inflation Reduction Act and green industrial policy efforts.

Regardless of current imports, policymakers in Washington are increasingly concerned that Chinese-made vehicles may enter the market over the next few years thanks to their extraordinary cost competitiveness. A company such as BYD sells in China and around the world a variety of models priced under $30,000. By comparison, the average price of an EV in the United States is $47,000 according to recent reporting. It is conceivable that a firm such as BYD may decide it can compete with U.S. domestic EVs despite current tariff levels—especially if more North American–made models become ineligible for tax credits because they fail to comply with supply chain requirements for battery components, critical minerals, or FEOCs.

Read more at Center for Strategic & International Studies

🇬🇧 £3.7 million awarded to advance UK smart factory projects

📅 Date:

🏢 Organizations: Rivelin Robotics, Brompton Bicycle, Flamingo Flowers, Q5D Technologies, Ultima Forma, AMFG

UK Research and Innovation’s MSI Challenge, delivered by Innovate UK, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, and the Economic and Social Research Council, has awarded grants to 11 late-stage robotics and automation projects. The projects have a focus on developing solutions to improve productivity, sustainability and resilience within factory production areas.

Read more at Center for Strategic & International Studies

🇳🇱 5 South Holland innovation campuses receive €3M in subsidies

📅 Date:

The main objective of this program is to enhance research and innovation capacity and to introduce advanced technologies. Five innovation campuses in the region have received financial support: TU Delft Campus and Leiden Bio Science Park have received €900,000, while Biotech Campus Delft, NL Space Campus, and Erasmus MC Campus have each been awarded €400,000.

Read more at Silicon Canals

Business Transactions

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

Sunfire secures more than EUR 500 million to accelerate its growth

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Sunfire

The German electrolyzer manufacturer announces a significant financial milestone with EUR 215 million raised in a Series E equity financing round, further complemented by a term loan of up to EUR 100 million provided by the European Investment Bank (EIB). In addition, Sunfire has access to approx. EUR 200 million from previously approved, undrawn grant funding to support its growth. This makes Sunfire one of the best capitalized electrolyzer manufacturers in the industry.

Sunfire’s pressurized alkaline and high-temperature solid oxide electrolysis technologies are a key enabler of the transition to renewable energy, offering a scalable and efficient means of producing green hydrogen. The company targets installing several gigawatts of electrolysis equipment by 2030 in large-scale green hydrogen projects, securing a leading position in the fast-growing global electrolyzer market.

Read more at Sunfire News

Claroty Secures $100 Million in Strategic Growth Financing

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Claroty, Delta-v Capital

Claroty, the cyber-physical systems protection company, announced it has secured $100 million in strategic growth financing. Participants include lead equity investor Delta-v Capital, as well as AB Private Credit Investors at AllianceBernstein, Standard Investments, Toshiba Digital Solutions, SE Ventures, Rockwell Automation, and Silicon Valley Bank, a division of First Citizens Bank. Combined with Claroty’s existing $635 million in funding to date, this new financing further establishes the company’s leadership position in the critical infrastructure cybersecurity market.

The funds will be used to scale Claroty’s platform approach to cyber-physical systems (CPS) protection across key verticals including the public sector and heavily regulated critical infrastructure industries, expand in emerging regions across the Americas, EMEA, and Asia-Pacific, fuel research and development for core and adjacent technologies including secure remote access, and double down on new and existing strategic partnerships.

Read more at PR Newswire

RIOS Intelligent Machines Announces Successful Completion of $13 Million Series B Funding Round

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: RIOS, Yamaha, IAG Capital Partners

RIOS Intelligent Machines, a leader in AI-powered robotics for the manufacturing industry, is excited to announce the successful completion of a $13 million Series B funding round. This significant milestone was co-led by Yamaha Motor Corporation and IAG Capital Partners, marking a continued and strengthened partnership in advancing manufacturing and automation technologies.

This new round of funding will fuel RIOS’s growth in three key industry segments: wood products, beverage distribution, and packaged food products. The company will continue to roll out highly differentiated AI and vision-driven robotics solutions, starting with a groundbreaking product in the lumber and plywood handling sector.

Read more at Business Wire

Nextron receives investment of R$26 million led by Vox Capital and Copel Ventures

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Bruna Galati

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Nextron, Vox Capital, Copel Ventures

Nextron, a climate tech that connects renewable energy generators to consumers through subscriptions, raised R $26 million in a Series A round, led by Vox Capital and Copel Ventures. The new investment will serve to expand the startup’s operations nationally in addition to scaling the proprietary customer acquisition platform, totaling more than 50 thousand subscribers by the end of 2024.

Read more at Startupi

Reshape Automation aims to reduce barriers of robotics adoption

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Steve Crowe

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Reshape Automation, Schematic Ventures

Reshape Automation has raised $1.7 million in pre-Seed funding. The round was led by Schematic Ventures and included Bee Partners. There was also a contribution from Oliver Cameron, who started the autonomous vehicle company Voyage in 2017 and sold it to Cruise in early 2021. Other robotics companies funded in part by Schematic Ventures include Plus One Robotics, Outrider, Root AI, which was acquired by AppHarvest for $60 million in 2021, and SVT Robotics.

Reshape Automation wants to make it easier for the U.S. manufacturing and logistics industries to adopt automation. At the core of the platform is an AI-powered marketplace. Reshape’s marketplace will launch with autonomous mobile robots (AMRs), robot arms, and various components and solutions from brands like Fanuc, Yaskawa, Robotize, Peer Robotics, Item, Nova Automation, Genba, OnRobot, Doosan, Fairino, and more.

Read more at Robot Report

Kawasaki Robotics partners with Olis Robotics to offer remote monitoring and control of its industrial robots

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Partnership

🏢 Organizations: Kawasaki Robotics, Olis Robotics, CRG Automation

Olis Robotics, a leader in the remote error recovery for industrial robots, announces a new partnership with Kawasaki Robotics Inc., a leading supplier of industrial robots and automation systems, to offer their customers the ability to restart production faster, reduce troubleshooting and downtime costs by up to 90%, and gain access to expert support quickly.

At Kawasaki’s booth #C5475 at MODEX 2024 in Atlanta, GA, March 11 - 14, Kawasaki and Olis Robotics will showcase their partnership by joining forces with CRG Automation, a Louisville, KY-based integration house. The partners will demonstrate a state-of-the-art robotic corner board system, integrated with a mixed palletizing and depalletizing cell, featuring a Kawasaki RS007L robot, that automates placing corner boards on pallets being wrapped, ensuring overall load stability.

Read more at Business Wire

Price Industries casts eyes on four-year, AI-enabled partnership

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Martin Cash

🔖 Topics: Partnership, Manufacturing Execution System

🏢 Organizations: Price Industries, Mode40, Innovair

Price has now teamed up with a pair of Manitoba companies to design an artificial intelligence-enabled manufacturing execution system (MES) that will take advantage of efficiency technologies that do not currently exist in the market today.

Along with Mode40 (a manufacturing software design shop out of Steinbach) and Innovair (a Winnipeg distributor of robotics equipment for the manufacturing industry), Price is working on the project partially funded by NGen, the country’s advanced manufacturing supercluster. Called “Discrete Manufacturing Assembly Transformation,” the four-year project is expected to be transformational for Price.

Read more at Winnipeg Free Press