Assembly Line

🦾 Boosting machinery sector profitability via cloud-aided digitalization

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✍️ Authors: Marie El Hoyek, Dorothee Herring, Tarek Kasah, Florian Homann, Rafael Westinner

🔖 Topics: XaaS, Data Lakehouse

🏢 Organizations: McKinsey

Cloud capabilities open up an important potential source of revenue in the machine and equipment sector: the equipment-as-a-service (EaaS) model. This business model gives OEMs a way to satisfy customers’ increasing preference to operationalize their equipment expenses and reduce their capital expenditures. The EaaS model benefits customers by supplying them with rented equipment as part of a service that includes software updates, spare-part replacements, and predictive maintenance. And OEMs and manufacturers benefit from increased access to machine data and customers, which can lead to additional revenue.

Cloud computing also offers businesses scalability and enhanced system interoperability—for example, with supplier systems. And by taking advantage of cloud service providers’ existing networks and technology resources, machine and equipment manufacturers can more easily integrate new supply chain–enhancing capabilities such as data lakes or pretrained machine-learning models.

Cloud-based platforms allow OEMs to establish permanent connections to the digital components of the products they sell. Offering services such as predictive maintenance, steering via a product app, and remote problem solving directly to their customers can help OEMs create additional revenue streams.

Read more at McKinsey Insights

🦾 Kicking RaaS with Robotics as a Service

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✍️ Author: Julia Hider

🔖 Topics: Industrial Robot, XaaS

🏢 Organizations: Behrens Manufacturing, Rapid Robotics

One major difference between robotics as a service and more traditional models of automation is financing. Typically, users purchase automation equipment, such as robots or cobots, and pay integrators to set them up if necessary. The idea of leasing or renting equipment can be a big adjustment for manufacturers who are used to buying equipment and amortizing it. And while she says that Rapid isn’t necessarily opposed to eventually selling the system to its customers, she also points out that it might not make sense. “If you’re running the system for three shifts for five years, it’s kind of coming to the end of its guaranteed life at that point. Do you really want to own it, or do you just want it to be our problem if it breaks, or something happens to it or it needs to be replaced?”

Behrens also appreciates the service aspect of Rapid’s business model, particularly the 24/7 monitoring. “When we have a problem, sometimes Rapid is calling us to say, hey, we see one of your robots is down. We’re going to do this to fix it,” Bellingham says. A lot of service can be done remotely, which helps maintain uptime. And when remote service isn’t an option, Rapid can diagnose the problem remotely, set up a replacement system in its office and bring it to the shop to swap out. Rapid takes the faulty system back to its office to fix, minimizing downtime for manufacturers.

Read more at Modern Machine Shop

🖨️ Nagami, on printing the sustainable future of interior architecture

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✍️ Author: Edward Wakefield

🔖 Topics: 3D Printing, Additive Manufacturing, XaaS

🏢 Organizations: Nagami

Nagami was founded in Manuel’s mind during a research cluster, focussed on searching for a more sustainable way of building, at The Bartlett, UCL’s Faculty of the Built Environment. While “rethinking architecture from the very core”, the team started to explore the use of automation within the industry, something that was already very much relied-upon in other industries such as car manufacturing. Naturally, the use of robots was a worthwhile direction of exploration.

Nagami’s team is currently working on a ‘furnishing and architecture as a subscription’ model. For example, a retail store that updates its physical space every six months or so can do so through a ‘Nagami membership’. At the end of the season, this offering will enable these companies to return the 3D printed panels to Nagami, where they will be recycled, and reprinted in the design of the new shopfit, at a discounted rate.

Read more at VoxelMatters

🦾 Protolabs presents 2023 Robotics Manufacturing Status Report

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🔖 Topics: Industrial Robot, XaaS

🏢 Organizations: Protolabs

Industrial robots are also perceived as one of the most powerful ways to automate and build flexible production lines that enable customised production models like made-to-order and engineering-to-order. The latter model leads to mass customization i.e., the ability to produce highly customised products with only marginal increase in production cost.Industrial robots can automatically reconfigure production lines to produce alternative product variants with limited, or even zero, human intervention. Nevertheless, this flexible manufacturing approach is gradually reaching its limits, as radically differentiated products require changes, not only in the configuration of the production line, but also on the machinery used, especially when there is a need to manufacture a new product. Designing the production system of a new product requires efforts that are orders of magnitude higher than producing a variant of an existing product.

A key enabler of the advancement of robotics innovation is the leveraging of digital models to enable the manufacturing as a service (MaaS) paradigm. MaaS or digital manufacturing platforms offer access to various manufacturing processes, such as 3D printing, CNC machining, and injection moulding, and provide an easy transactional experience by allowing customers to upload their part designs to quickly get quotes for manufacturing costs and lead times.

Read more at Protolabs Blog

Sustainable Business Models for Manufacturing

Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace keeps its Engines Running on Databricks Lakehouse

SKF uses cloud to offer new business models

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🔖 Topics: XaaS

🏢 Organizations: SKF Group, Siemens

In production environments, there’s an alternative to owning resources and outsourcing: performance-based contracts. At SKF, for example, customers pay to use assets and benefit from guaranteed uptime. Effective delivery of Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) business models depends on data collection and processing. On top of that, MindSphere, the leading industrial IoT as a service solution, as part of the Xcelerator portfolio brings quite a few more advantages.

The advantage of so-called Everything-as-a-Service (XaaS) business models is that companies pay for only what they use. Increasingly, XaaS is being extended to production assets. An example can be found with SKF, a manufacturer of, among others, rotating equipment like bearings. The idea is simple; Instead of buying industrial bearings – whether for conveyor belts, pumps, crushers, paper machines, steel or pulp mills and railway bogies – SKF’s customers pay for uninterrupted rotation services. Under SKF’s Rotating Equipment Performance service, customers pay a fixed fee, which covers the provision of bearings, seals, lubrication and condition monitoring.

Read more at Siemens Company Stories

Ultrasound Inspection Optimizes EV Battery Manufacturing

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✍️ Author: Charlie Parker

🔖 Topics: Nondestructive Test, Quality Assurance, XaaS

🏢 Organizations: Ratel Consulting, Titan Advanced Energy Solutions

Battery cell inspection technology has been neglected in favor of other innovation categories. According to a recent MIT study, inspection has not been a factor in previous price declines and therefore increased use of cell interrogation should not come as a surprise. Seemingly this would not require an engineering leap. After all, ‘borrowed technology’ from previous chemistries and other industries has worked well enough in the past.

However, large-format cells have proven to be far more difficult to manufacture at scale, compared to their small-format counterparts that have dominated the market until recently. This difficulty is in part manifested by industry-wide low manufacturing yields. Based on reports and interviews with industry insiders, it can be estimated that large-format battery yield is somewhere between 70–90% with a ramp period of five years to reach steady state yield for a new production run.

Titan Advanced Energy Solutions (‘Titan’) is one of the companies working to meet a growing demand for better inspection technology. Their ultrasound sensing technology combined with a system-based approach to manufacturing provides early and actionable feedback to the manufacturing floor, positively impacting yield and scrap rates as well as overall cell production economics. Moreover, their scan-as-a-service business model does not burden customers with additional capital expense.

Read more at Battery Technology

Formic: Automating Abundance

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✍️ Author: Packy McCormick

🔖 Topics: XaaS

🏢 Organizations: Formic

Formic doesn’t make robots. It makes it easy for manufacturers to adopt robots. Given the huge gap between their potential impact and actual deployment, I think it’s the most important part of the stack. If Formic succeeds, we’ll manufacture more, better things, more cheaply, in the US.

Formic is delivering Robots by the Hour to customers who don’t care who makes the robot or how, just that the job gets done well. Their customers don’t even want robots, really, they want reliable labor. That’s what Formic gives them. The model, and the company, is the brainchild of Saman Farid and Misa Ilkhechi. Misa’s LinkedIn model puts the societal value proposition clearly: Robots = Unlimited Labor.

Read more at Not Boring

Tackling Problems of Significance in Physical Industries

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✍️ Author: Seth Winterroth

🔖 Topics: XaaS

🏢 Organizations: Eclipse Ventures, Silicon Valley Bank

The Eclipse team has partnered with Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) and put out a report, The State of HaaS, detailing critical metrics specific to companies in the physical industries space. In aggregate, we reported data from over 400+ surveyed startups that are active commercially, mapping out the steps necessary to create a strong foundation upon which physical industry companies can build successful businesses.

The foundation for building a successful business in physical world industries begins with an end-to-end evaluation of your systems, operations, contracts, lead time efficiency, sales cadence, and overall reliability. Keeping these metrics in mind early when building an industrial tech company will help you lay a strong foundation from which the business can scale efficiently. For example, does the system you’ve built have reasonable ROI? Does your operating margin improve as you deploy in greater volume, or do deployment costs scale linearly with revenue? How efficient are your procurement processes and vendor lead times? Have you built the infrastructure that enables efficient remote diagnostics and customer support? These are just some questions to ask when building a compelling, agile business that can bring value to the physical industry space.

Read more at Eclipse Ventures Blog

Semiconductor growth through as-a-service models

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🔖 Topics: XaaS

🏭 Vertical: Semiconductor

🏢 Organizations: Accenture

This report examines As-a-Service (AaS) as an increasingly relevant competitive growth model for the semiconductor industry. Originally successful in the software realm, AaS business models are poised to help semiconductor companies fuel growth, boost revenue, innovate faster, and deepen relationships with customers. When planned and implemented correctly, AaS can substantially increase shareholder value and improve predictability of revenue. However, if executed poorly, it can negatively impact a company’s bottom line.

Read more at Accenture Reports