$1 Million per Hour on Industrial R&D to Produce ‘Something Minimalistic’


Shop Talk

Capturing this week's zeitgeist

The Generative AI boom traces back to the ‘Transformers’ architecture created by eight Google engineers. The iterative trial and error harkens back to Edison.

Does it work yet? OK, move on to the next. All of these components of what we now call the transformer were the output of this extremely high-paced, iterative trial and error.” The ablations, aided by Shazeer’s implementations, produced “something minimalistic,” Jones says. “Noam is a wizard.”

Kaizen Blitz

  • 🧠 NVIDIA GTC 2024 was the major event of the week with a few significant AI technologies and partnerships announced.
    • NVIDIA Announces Project GR00T Foundation Model for Humanoid Robots and Major Isaac Robotics Platform Update
    • SAP and NVIDIA plan to collaborate to integrate generative AI into cloud solutions from SAP, which include the latest release of the SAP Datasphere® solution, SAP Business Technology Platform® (SAP BTP) and RISE with SAP®.
    • Rockwell will further integrate NVIDIA Omniverse Cloud application programming interfaces (APIs) with Emulate3D by Rockwell Automation, bringing users data interoperability, live collaboration, and physically based visualization for designing, building, and operating industrial-scale digital twins of production systems.
    • Siemens to use NVIDIA Omniverse Cloud APIs with the Siemens Xcelerator platform to offer immersive visualization that enhances product lifecycle management.
  • ⛚🏭💰 Factory investments navigate a China slowdown
    • Focusing on value-add, last-mile, logistics, distribution, e-commerce and multi-tenant facilities, Westcore has been finding ways to continue growing through industrial real estate headwinds.
    • Siemens, which has many European customers that export to China, expects the Asian country’s economy to recover in the second half with Beijing’s push to boost high-tech manufacturing.
    • Schneider Electric to Invest $140 Million in 2024 to Expand U.S. Manufacturing Presence to Support Critical Infrastructure, Industries, and Data Center Demand
    • Renault to invest $523 mn to build green car hub in Korea
  • 🚙 Automotive innovation remains competitive with Toyota spending a staggering $1 million per hour on R&D.
    • Kinetic seat cushion for vehicles, woven carbon fiber reinforced steel matrix composite, and systems and methods with dual function coil providing in-vehicle wireless power are some of the inventions putting Toyota atop the annual US patent rankings for 2023.

Assembly Line

This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media.

TSMC and Synopsys Bring Breakthrough NVIDIA Computational Lithography Platform to Production

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Lithography, Generative AI

🏭 Vertical: Semiconductor

🏢 Organizations: TSMC, Synopsys, NVIDIA

TSMC, the world’s leading foundry, and Synopsys, the leader in silicon to systems design solutions, have integrated NVIDIA cuLitho with their software, manufacturing processes and systems to speed chip fabrication, and in the future support the latest-generation NVIDIA Blackwell architecture GPUs. NVIDIA also introduced new generative AI algorithms that enhance cuLitho, a library for GPU-accelerated computational lithography, dramatically improving the semiconductor manufacturing process over current CPU-based methods.

Computational lithography is the most compute-intensive workload in the semiconductor manufacturing process, consuming tens of billions of hours per year on CPUs. A typical mask set for a chip — a key step in its production — could take 30 million or more hours of CPU compute time, necessitating large data centers within semiconductor foundries. With accelerated computing, 350 NVIDIA H100 systems can now replace 40,000 CPU systems, accelerating production time, while reducing costs, space and power.

Read more at NVIDIA News

Fusing Real-Time AI With Digital Twins

Shein to Market Its Unique Supply-Chain Technology to Global Brands

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Shen Lu

🔖 Topics: XaaS, Demand Planning

🏭 Vertical: Textiles

🏢 Organizations: Shein

Shein’s executive chairman, Donald Tang, announced the plan in a letter to investors viewed by The Wall Street Journal, calling the new initiative “supply chain as a service.” Under the plan, Shein would make its supply-chain infrastructure and technology available to outside brands and designers, allowing them to leverage Shein’s system for testing out new fashion items in small batches and track how popular they are with consumers.

Shein has revolutionized fashion manufacturing. It contracts with thousands of factories in China that churn out tens of thousands of new styles daily. It places orders to suppliers to be delivered in days, relies on real-time data to quickly analyze demand and replenishes orders as needed. That cuts down on the cost for storage and limits inventory waste, a primary reason for its ultralow prices.

Read more at WSJ

Pickle Robot Messy Trailer Unload Demonstration

Inside Siemens’ Bad Neustadt factory: A firsthand look at IT/OT convergence in action

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Victoria Carlos

🔖 Topics: IT OT Convergence, Anomaly Detection

🏢 Organizations: Siemens

The Bad Neustadt factory produces multi-axis electrical motors for Motion Control Drive systems—a high variance and high-volume production achieved through a Make-to-Order approach. This highly individualized method produces 500,000+ configurable variants for customers per year. In fact, they estimate that the factory changes the product setup process every seven minutes on average and is approaching being a lot-size of one factory where everything is made to order. To keep pace with this incredible demand, factory management at Bad Neustadt must continuously refine their production processes to meet client expectations and maintain competitiveness.

One major use case is streamlining anomaly detection for end-of-line testing. Referred to as a “reduced test effort”, it entails using historic data to derive rules for determining if a specific motor needs to be tested. The goal is to minimize testing without sacrificing the quality of the motors shipped. By applying AI algorithms, they can calculate the number of tests needed for a specific motor configuration. Combining historical data with real-time information from the factory floor, the intelligent algorithm dynamically defines the number of tests, resulting in reduced time and money spent on testing. In fact, the EWN achieved 16% less end-of-line tests for motors.

Read more at Siemens Blog

3D Vision-Guided Racking of Reflective Sheet Metal Parts

A recommender system for human operators in industrial automation

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Negar Yassaie, Ahmad W Al-Dabbagh

🔖 Topics: k-medoids, Recommender System

🏢 Organizations: University of British Columbia

This paper presents a recommender system to assist human operators in industrial automation applications, which suggests proper actions to take during process operation and those to avoid. The proposed recommender system is built based on a three-stage computational procedure. In the first stage, historical process data segments containing timestamped events are clustered using a k-medoids-based algorithm, where instead of distance metrics, structural similarity of the segments is used. This is achieved by using a Smith–Waterman-based algorithm to consider all events and their timestamps in the segments. In the second stage, a modified collaborative filtering technique applicable to time sequences is proposed, where not only operator ratings, but also the structural similarity of the segments are taken into account. In the third stage, possible actions are analyzed and accordingly, proper and improper actions are determined and presented to the human operators. The effectiveness of the proposed recommender system is examined through a power system operation example.

Read more at Control Engineering Practice

New Product Introduction

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

Teleo and Storm Equipment Introduce America's Only Remote-Operated and Autonomous Industrial Snow Plow

📅 Date:

🏢 Organizations: Teleo, Storm Equipment

Teleo, a company building autonomous technology for heavy construction equipment, and Storm Equipment, one of the largest distributors of commercial snow plow equipment, introduced the only remote-operated and autonomous industrial snow plow commercially offered in the United States. With support from Teleo dealer RDO Equipment Co., the companies worked to retrofit a John Deere 332G skid steer loader with Storm Equipment’s Metal Pless snow plow blade and Teleo Supervised Autonomy, Teleo’s technology that enables remote and autonomous operations. The machine is designed for mass snow clearing in large open areas such as industrial parking lots. Customers can order the retrofit of any make and model of heavy equipment for remote-operated and autonomous operations from Teleo, along with an autonomous-ready snow plow blade properly sized for each machine type from Storm Equipment.

Read more at PR Newswire

MiR1200 Pallet Jack: Revolutionizing pallet handling with AI

📅 Date:

🏢 Organizations: Mobile Industrial Robots

Mobile Industrial Robots A/S (MiR) announces the launch of the MiR1200 Pallet Jack autonomous mobile robot (AMR). With advanced AI pallet detection, powered by NVIDIA Jetson AGX Orin, MiR1200 Pallet Jack uses 3D vision to identify pallets and do pick up and deliver pallets with unprecedented precision.

Designed to integrate seamlessly into existing MiR AMR fleets and interoperate with MiR’s deck load AMRs, the MiR1200 Pallet Jack is a perfect match for large-scale enterprise customers who typically operate more complex workflows with larger fleets and multiple sites. These customers can now turn to MiR as a one-stop shop for material handling.

Read more at MiR Blog

Quino Energy Achieves Manufacturing Readiness Level 7 for its First-of-its-Kind Zero-Waste, Continuous Production Organic Flow Battery Process

📅 Date:

🏢 Organizations: Quino Energy

Quino Energy, a company developing water-based organic flow batteries, has achieved manufacturing readiness level (MRL) 7 for its battery active material pilot production line. This designation confirms that the line is ready for low-rate initial production of Quino Energy’s proprietary quinone battery active material, a key component of commercial and grid-scale flow batteries.

The pilot line converts cheap and abundant dyestuff chemicals into high-performance, long-lifetime quinone battery active material through an electrochemical reaction, using a modified flow battery stack itself as the chemical reactor. The product from the reaction does not require downstream purification – meaning zero chemical waste – and can be directly cycled inside a commercial flow battery system. At full production rate, the line can produce up to 100 kWh of these organic battery material reactants per day at a cost comparable to or lower than vanadium, a critical material commonly sourced from Russia or China that has been used in most flow batteries to date. This production line represents the first example of U.S. domestic manufacturing of flow battery active material and showcases how easily Quino Energy’s proprietary zero-waste production process can be scaled up to achieve lower costs.

Read more at GlobeNewswire

Industrial Policy

How governments are shaping the future industrial landscape.

🇲🇽 AMLO Prepares to Take Over Vulcan Property in Mexico’s Mayan Riviera

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Eric Martin, Amy Stillman, Michael O'Boyle

The Mexican government is preparing to take control of a quarry and port owned by Vulcan Materials Co. on the nation’s Caribbean coast after years of negotiations failed to produce a deal to buy the property, according to people familiar with the plans. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s administration is planning to declare the land south of the resort city of Playa del Carmen a natural protected area, according to the people, who requested anonymity because they were not permitted to speak publicly. That would prevent the US construction firm from extracting limestone at the site it has owned for decades.

Read more at Bloomberg

🇺🇸 Intel Gets $20 Billion in US Grants, Loans for Chip Plants

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Mackenzie Hawkins

The US will award Intel Corp. $8.5 billion in grants and as much as $11 billion in loans to help fund an expansion of its semiconductor factories, marking the largest award from a program designed to reinvigorate the domestic chip industry.

The package will support more than $100 billion in US investments from Intel, including efforts to produce cutting-edge semiconductors at large-scale plants in Arizona and Ohio, the Commerce Department announced Wednesday. The money also will help pay for equipment research and development and advanced packaging projects at smaller facilities in Oregon and New Mexico. In addition, Intel has indicated that it plans to tap investment tax credits from the Treasury Department that could cover as much as 25% of capital expenditures, according to the Commerce Department.

Read more at Bloomberg

Business Transactions

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

e-peas raises €17.5M to accelerate deployment of its energy harvesting solutions

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: e-peas, Otium Capital

Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium-based e-peas, a fabless semiconductor company that develops ultra-low power management for energy harvesting, announced on Wednesday that it has secured €17.5M in a new funding round led by Otium Capital. New investors Nomainvest and EIC Fund, and existing investors KBC Focus Fund, The Faktory, Wallonie Entreprendre, Noshaq-Leansquare, and Start.Invest, participated in the funding round. The latest funding round will help e-peas to accelerate the commercial development of its Ambient Energy Management (AEM) products and expand its product portfolio.

Read more at Silicon Canals

Buzz Solutions Raises $5M to Accelerate Adoption of its AI-Powered Platform for Visual Grid Infrastructure Inspections and Monitoring

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Buzz Solutions, GoPoint Ventures

Buzz Solutions, an AI company that inspects and protects critical energy infrastructure, announced it closed a $5 million round of growth funding. GoPoint Ventures led the round, with additional participation from Blackhorn Ventures and MaC Venture Capital. The investment follows a period of significant acceleration in customer adoptions as utilities are demanding more efficient and accurate T&D infrastructure inspections and better substation security.

The investment brings the total raised to $10.7M with a previous round of $3.3M from 2022 and two $1.2M convertible notes in 2020 and in early 2023. Buzz plans to deploy the capital to scale both PowerAI and PowerGUARD offerings across utilities in the U.S. and internationally.

Read more at PRWeb

Automated Architecture raises €3M to craft sustainable, affordable homes using robots

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: AUAR, ABB

London-based Automated Architecture (AUAR), a construction tech startup, announced that it has secured £2.6M (nearly €3M) in a Seed round of funding. The funding will fuel AUAR’s mission to build sustainable, affordable homes through its micro-factories, expand its partner network with 10 more partners as well as expand operations in the US. The investment was led by deep-tech and AI fund Miles Ahead and Robotics & Automation Ventures (ABB RA Ventures).

Read more at Silicon Canals

Rithmik Solutions Secures $2 Million in Funding to Revolutionize Mobile Mining Equipment Management

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏭 Vertical: Mining

🏢 Organizations: Rithmik Solutions

Rithmik Solutions, a leader in AI-powered analytics for mobile equipment optimization in the mining industry, is thrilled to announce the successful closure of a $2 million funding round. This investment was spearheaded by a syndicate of new and existing investors, demonstrating strong confidence in Rithmik’s innovative approach to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, enhancing equipment uptime and improving operational efficiency. Rithmik Solutions is poised to use this investment to accelerate its growth, further enhance its product offerings, and expand its reach to help mines around the world maximize the efficiency and lifespan of their mobile equipment.

Read more at Business Wire

ServiceNow Announces Acquisitions of 4Industry and EY Smart Daily Management Application to Drive Innovation for Smart Industrial Environments and Connected Workers

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Acquisition

🏢 Organizations: ServiceNow, 4Industry, EY

ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW), the leading digital workflow company making the world work better for everyone, announced it has signed an agreement to acquire 4Industry, a Netherlands-based partner whose manufacturing technology application is built on the Now Platform, and has completed the acquisition of Smart Daily Management, a connected digital worker application from EY. Together, the deals augment ServiceNow’s existing operational technology (OT) management capabilities, adding Connected Worker solutions and enhancing expertise across key industrial markets such as manufacturing, energy and transport & logistics.

This example of continued investment in European tech and talent will significantly enhance ServiceNow’s long‑term roadmap for its global customers, delivering continuity across IT, OT, and factory floor workers. ServiceNow will continue to maintain a strong alliance with EY and partnership with Plat4mation, an affiliated services company of 4Industry. It will work jointly with these companies, as innovation and implementation alliance partners for both existing OT solutions as well as future Connected Worker solutions.

Read more at ServiceNow Press

Google, Microsoft, and Nucor announce a new initiative to aggregate demand to scale the adoption of advanced clean electricity technologies

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Partnership

🏢 Organizations: Google, Microsoft, Nucor

Google LLC, Microsoft Corporation, and Nucor Corporation announced they will work together across the electricity ecosystem to develop new business models and aggregate their demand for advanced clean electricity technologies. These models will be designed to accelerate the development of first-of-a-kind (FOAK) and early commercial projects, including advanced nuclear, next-generation geothermal, clean hydrogen, long-duration energy storage (LDES) and others.

The companies will initially focus on proving out the demand aggregation and procurement model through advanced technology pilot projects in the United States. The companies will pilot a project delivery framework focused on three enabling levers for early commercial projects: signing offtake agreements for technologies that are still early on the cost curve, bringing a clear customer voice to policymakers and other stakeholders on broader long-term ecosystem improvements, and developing new enabling tariff structures in partnership with energy providers and utilities.

Read more at PR Newswire