Walking Around the Messe Blinded by AI


Shop Talk

Capturing this week's zeitgeist

Hannover Messe 2024 has come and gone and will move earlier in the year to March 31 - April 4 in 2025. Meeting many of you who stopped by the Databricks stand amidst the AWS eBike Smart Factory Showcase was a pleasure.

Kaizen Blitz

  • 📊 Survey Says
    • 10 Experts on Flexible Manufacturing by Analog Devices and Mouser
    • Cloud Radar: Manufacturing Industry Report by Infosys
  • 🏭💰 Factory investments
    • 🚙 Toyota Makes $1.4 Billion EV Investment in Indiana Facility
    • 💿 OCI to invest up to $1.5 bn in Malaysia’s polysilicon plant
    • 💿 IBM in $137M Semiconductor Agreement with Canada
  • 🤝 Labor Negotiation
    • In Historic Breakthrough, Volkswagen Workers Become First Southern Autoworkers to Win Their Union
  • 🏆 Golden Part
    • Exotec Reaches $1 Billion in Systems Sold
    • Schunk wins HERMES AWARD at Hannover Messe 2024
      • The innovative nature of the project lies in the generic, AI-based modeling of component variants and the transfer to a smaller training data set, which cuts learning times for recognition.

Assembly Line

This week's most influential Industry 4.0 media.

Hannover Messe: First Summary

3D-Printed Molds Speed New Unilever Bottle Designs to Market

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Matt Reynolds

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing, Packaging

🏢 Organizations: Unilever, Serioplast Global Services

For Unilever, bottles that are stretch blow molded with a 3D printed tool are nearly indistinguishable from the final product produced through traditional metal tooling processes, and get product to market more quickly.

Stefano Cademartiri, CAD and prototyping owner at Unilever and Flavio Migliarelli, R&D design manager at packaging supplier Serioplast Global Services have worked hand in hand to test the viability of 3D-printed molds for low-volume stretch blow molding applications. This practice has accelerated prototyping and pilot testing, cutting lead time by six weeks and costs by as much as 90%.

Typically, Serioplast would either directly 3D print Unilever bottle mockups for prototypes, or blow mold them. But until recently, 3D-printed mockups didn’t represent the right feel or transparency and were not reliable enough to be sent to consumers. However, building production-quality samples through SBM requires expensive metal tooling, adding six to nine weeks of lead time to a typical pilot testing phase due to the complexity of the process and outsourcing the production of the mold.

These SBM molds are traditionally machined from metal by CNC, which requires specialized equipment, CAM software, and skilled labor. The production of metal tooling is generally outsourced to service providers offering four- to eight-week lead time that cost anywhere from $2,000 to over $100,000, depending on the complexity of the part and the number of parts per mold.

Read more at PackWorld

Revolutionizing Textile And Apparel Manufacturing Through Digitization

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Seonyoung Youn

🏭 Vertical: Textiles

🏢 Organizations: SEDDI, Shima Seiki

The advent of 3D digital technology has revolutionized garment manufacturing processes. Virtual samples have remarkably reduced material waste and labor-intensive tasks throughout the supply chain, specifically during the preproduction stages, such as 2D pattern design, fabric arrangement, fabric cutting, garment sewing, and fitting. Traditionally, these tasks consumed a substantial lead time in garment manufacturing processes. However, virtual sampling allows easy modification and has significantly reduced the average lead time from 37 days to 27 hours. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic underlined the challenges of in-person communication between buyers, manufacturers, and outsourcing contractors during lockdowns. Consequently, digitalization has transitioned from optional to necessity, accelerating the demand for effective communication. This shift is particularly prominent among global brands, outsourcing agents, vendors and contractors.

Read more at TextileWorld

How to Build a Space Station

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Chris Cummins

🏢 Organizations: NanoRacks, Voyager Space

Nanoracks has grown from facilitating science research on the International Space Station to building a commercial space station of its own.

Our business strategy has been to understand what people want to do and find solutions to the bottlenecks that are keeping them from doing it. Customers want to do experiments; they don’t want to master NASA paperwork or learn to build a payload. They want the data from their Cubesat; they don’t want to figure out the details of deploying it.

We were one of the pioneers in having a commercial-services offering for space experiments—what’s called an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract—that made it simpler for federal agencies to use our services. We got good enough at doing the bureaucratic paperwork and the safety processes that groups at NASA used (and continue to use) our services to conduct experiments and other activities on the space station. NASA found we could get stuff through their system faster than NASA could itself.

Read more at Yale Insights

What Georgia-Pacific Is Doing With Causal AI Is Remarkable

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Steve Banker

🔖 Topics: Causal AI

🏢 Organizations: Georgia-Pacific, Parabole AI, Vassar Labs

Using words to describe Causal AI only takes you so far. Seeing the layers of knowledge modeled in a knowledge graph is more powerful. The following figure helps demonstrate the depth of causality that is modeled with these systems. For GP, softness is one of 12 critical product attributes for any of their paper products. Softness itself has 10 attributes called Influencing Attributes (IA) that can affect the Softness of the product. Further, each Influencing Attribute has many items that can affect them. BULK is one of those Influencing Attributes. But BULK, in turn, has many “Conditional Attributes” that affect it.

Georgia-Pacific used technology from Parabole.ai to build its Causal AI solution, and Vassar Labs built the interface. Before working with GP, Parabole.ai provided solutions for the financial industry.

GP’s goal was to see whether Causal AI could combine subject matter experts’ tacit knowledge with production data to make more intelligent and automated decisions. They demonstrated a 10X increase in touchless order throughput. Some order management errors that used to take days to resolve were now resolved in seconds. Of course, getting a promise right is vital. However, good customer service also demands quick answers to customers’ order inquiries.

Read more at Logistics Viewpoints

Vibration Suppression Methods for Industrial Robot Time-Lag Filtering

📅 Date:

✍️ Authors: Shichang Liu, Chengdong Wu, Liang Liang

🔖 Topics: Industrial Robot, Vibration Analysis

🏢 Organizations: Northeastern University China, SIASUN

This paper analyzes traditional vibration suppression methods in order to solve the vibration problem caused by the stiffness of flexible industrial robots. The principle of closed-loop control dynamic feedforward vibration suppression is described as the main method for solving robot vibration suppression. This paper proposes a method for time-lag filtering based on T-trajectory interpolation, which combines the T-planning curve and the time-lag filtering method. The method’s basic principle is to dynamically adjust the trajectory output through the algorithm, which effectively suppresses the amplitude of the harmonic components of a specific frequency band to improve the vibration response of industrial robot systems. This experiment compared traditional vibration suppression methods with the time-lag filtering method based on T-trajectory interpolation. A straight-line method was proposed to measure the degree of vibration. The results demonstrate that the time-lag filtering method based on T-trajectory interpolation is highly effective in reducing the vibration of industrial robots. This makes it an excellent option for scenarios that demand real-time response and high-precision control, ultimately enhancing the efficiency and stability of robots in performing their tasks.

Read more at Machines

New Product Introduction

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

UMaine’s new 3D printer smashes former Guinness World Record to advance the next generation of advanced manufacturing

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Additive Manufacturing, 3D Printing

🏢 Organizations: University of Maine

Surpassing its own 2019 Guinness World Record for the largest polymer 3D printer, UMaine unveiled a next-generation printer that is four times larger than its predecessor to catalyze the future of sustainable manufacturing in a number of industries.

The new printer, dubbed Factory of the Future 1.0 (FoF 1.0), was unveiled on April 23 at the Advanced Structures and Composites Center (ASCC) to an audience that included representatives from the U.S. Department of Defense, U.S. Department of Energy, the Maine State Housing Authority, industry partners and other stakeholders who plan to utilize this technology. The thermoplastic polymer printer is designed to print objects as large as 96 feet long by 32 feet wide by 18 feet high, and can print up to 500 pounds per hour. It offers new opportunities for eco-friendly and cost-effective manufacturing for numerous industries, including national security, affordable housing, bridge construction, ocean and wind energy technologies and maritime vessel fabrication. The design and fabrication of this world-first printer and hybrid manufacturing system was made possible with support from the Office of the Secretary of Defense through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Read more at UMaine News

First curved data link side-steps key 6G wireless challenge

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: 6G

🏢 Organizations: Rice University, Brown University

Next-generation wireless signals will no longer emanate indiscriminately from a base station as is the case now but will likely take the form of targeted directional beams. However, any physical interference ⎯ an object or a person passing nearby, for example ⎯ could interrupt the signal, posing a literal obstacle toward the implementation of ultrafast millimeter-wave and sub-terahertz wireless networks.

Researchers at Rice University and Brown University, however, have shown that data-laden curved beams can establish a link between base stations and users, effectively side-stepping intervening obstacles. In a study published in Communications Engineering, the researchers demonstrated a sub-terahertz beam that follows a curved trajectory ⎯ an achievement that could revolutionize wireless communications by making a future of wireless data networks running on sub-terahertz frequencies more feasible.

Read more at Rice News

Onto Innovation Debuts Sub-surface Defect Inspection for Advanced Packaging

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Metrology

🏭 Vertical: Semiconductor

🏢 Organizations: Onto Innovation

Onto Innovation Inc. announced the release of a new sub-surface inspection capability for the Dragonfly® G3 sub-micron 2D/3D inspection and metrology platform. The new capability enables whole wafer inspection for critical yield impacting defects that can lead to lost die as well as entire wafers breaking in subsequent process steps. Such defects were previously impossible to find in a production environment. In today’s world of wafer thinning and multi-layer wafer or die bonding, sub-surface defects are far more dangerous than ever before as bonded layers are now a tenth of their former thickness and far more brittle and therefore more susceptible to damage pre- or post-bonding. Sub-surface defects that occur during the bonding or thinning process such as micro-cracks can cause not only die yield issues, but wafers can be shattered resulting in the loss of hundreds of die in an instant.

Read more at Business Wire

Industrial Policy

How governments are shaping the future industrial landscape.

🇺🇸 TSMC’s debacle in the American desert

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Viola Zhou

Over the past four months, Rest of World spoke with more than 20 current and former TSMC employees — from the U.S. and Taiwan — at the Arizona plant. All of them requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media or because they feared retaliation from the company. In February, Rest of World traveled to Phoenix to visit the growing TSMC complex and spend time with the nascent community of transplanted Taiwanese engineers.

The American engineers complained of rigid, counterproductive hierarchies at the company; Taiwanese TSMC veterans described their American counterparts as lacking the kind of dedication and obedience they believe to be the foundation of their company’s world-leading success.

Read more at rest of world

🇧🇪 Don't say goodbye to our industry too quickly

📅 Date:

✍️ Author: Batist Leman

Now that our manufacturing industry is under increasing pressure, with thousands of jobs threatened at Van Hool, Audi Brussels and other major players seem to find that strangely enough not such a problem. That’s a mistake for more than one reason, says Batist Leman, founder and CEO of Azumuta.

If we let the production of it go away, together with the knowledge and know-how that goes with it, they will not return. It is therefore reckless to deal with this frivolously, and it boils down to strategically weakening our position.

Read more at De Tijd

🇨🇦 Honda to build Canada’s first comprehensive electric vehicle supply chain

📅 Date:

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, and the Premier of Ontario, Doug Ford, today welcomed Honda Canada’s milestone investment of approximately $15 billion to create Canada’s first comprehensive electric vehicle supply chain, located in Ontario.

This large-scale project will see four new manufacturing plants in Ontario. Honda will build an innovative and world-class electric vehicle assembly plant – the first of its kind for Honda Motor Co., Ltd. – as well as a new stand-alone battery manufacturing plant at Honda’s facilities in Alliston, Ontario. To complete the supply chain, Honda will also build a cathode active material and precursor (CAM/pCAM) processing plant through a joint venture partnership with POSCO Future M Co., Ltd. and a separator plant through a joint venture partnership with Asahi Kasei Corporation. Once fully operational in 2028, the new assembly plant will produce up to 240,000 vehicles per year.

Read more at PM of Canada

Business Transactions

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

Magnus Metal Raises $74 Million in Series B Funding to Transform Metal Part Casting With its Revolutionary Digital Casting™ Technology

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: Magnus Metal, Entree Capital, Target Global

Magnus Metal, a pioneering technology in industrial, high volume digital casting for metal alloys, announced it has raised $74 million in Series B funding, co-led by Entrée Capital and Target Global with additional participation from Caterpillar Ventures, Tal Ventures, Deep Insight Ventures, Awz Ventures, Lumir Ventures, Discount Capital, Lip Ventures, Cresson Management, Next Gear Fund and Essentia Venture Capital. Magnus Metal will use the latest capital to further develop its innovative casting technologies, while expanding its operations locally and globally to support its Fortune 100 customers.

Magnus Metal innovates the centuries-old metal casting industry by providing an Industry 4.0-based fully automatic manufacturing solution that makes the process faster, safer, and environmentally friendly while both improving quality and reducing cost. Magnus Metal is the first and only additive manufacturing technology that uses the Customer’s current metal raw material providing huge benefits in adoption rate.

Read more at PR Newswire

MARKT-PILOT strengthens international market position with $43 Million Series A led by Insight Partners

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: MARKT-PILOT, Insight Partners

Just in time for its fourth anniversary, MARKT-PILOT announces the successful completion of one of Europe’s largest Series A financing rounds, led by global software investor Insight Partners with participation from existing investor Capnamic. The Esslingen-based company will use the capital to further expand its business in Europe and the US, solidifying its position as a global player in the manufacturing market.

Since its founding in 2020, MARKT-PILOT has been revolutionizing the manufacturing industry with PRICERADAR, a unique global SaaS solution for market-based spare parts pricing. PRICERADAR automatically researches prices and delivery times of spare parts and thus shows customers their competitive position and sales potential. After PRICERADAR’s success, the company launched its second product, PRICEGUIDE, in 2023 – a solution that provides optimized and validated price recommendations for customers’ spare parts portfolio.

Read more at PR Newswire

HighByte Announces Series A Raise to Accelerate Growth in Industrial DataOps Market

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Funding Event

🏢 Organizations: HighByte, Standard Investments

HighByte®, an industrial software company, announced its Series A funding round led by Standard Investments, a platform investing in innovative growth companies at the intersection of the digital and physical worlds. Standard Investments is leading the round with participation from existing HighByte investors, including Exposition Ventures, Maine Venture Fund, and outstanding convertible note holders. New funds will be primarily allocated across research and development, strategic partner management, and customer success to accelerate market penetration and expand deployments within existing accounts.

HighByte has developed a unique Industrial DataOps software solution, HighByte Intelligence Hub, that enables manufacturers to merge, prepare, and deliver modeled industrial data to and from IT systems without writing or maintaining code. Curating and contextualizing data at the edge is foundational to the success of advanced analytics and adoption of large language models in manufacturing. First released in 2020, HighByte Intelligence Hub has now been deployed in 18 countries by more than 60 industrial companies with multi-plant facilities.

Read more at PR Newswire

Proemion Holding GmbH Agrees to Acquire TrendMiner NV to Expand Industrial Asset-Monitoring and Analytics Platform

📅 Date:

🔖 Topics: Acquisition

🏢 Organizations: Proemion, TrendMiner, Battery Ventures

Proemion Holding GmbH, a global provider of advanced data and analytics technology for mobile industrial assets, announced an agreement to acquire TrendMiner NV, an industrial analytics company, from Software AG. TrendMiner’s technology is used across industries including chemicals, oil and gas, pharmaceuticals, power generation, food and beverage, and high-tech manufacturing.

The spinout and acquisition of TrendMiner, based in Belgium, will significantly expand Proemion’s existing analytics capabilities for critical industrial equipment, which help equipment manufacturers and operators gather machine data remotely and continuously to maximize uptime and performance. TrendMiner produces a complementary, web-based, self-service analytics platform for monitoring critical equipment inside complex industrial environments. The technology allows teams to collaborate, learn and improve the overall performance of all production.

Read more at Business Wire