The Stock is Stuck in the Past: tech is changing the warehouse (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #129)

The entire supply chain is being redefined by transformative technologies, turning on their heads old notions of manufacturing and shipping. Change is coming from multiple angles, all aimed towards a single, common goal: making the warehouse obsolete. The main reason is to address a greater need for production agility, being locked down by large inventories of items that are expensive to maintain and risk getting surpassed before even being used. The future is geared towards high customization and rapid delivery. By inching additive manufacturing closer to being a production technology, items can be produced on-demand and in-situ, jumping over a large chunk of a logistical nightmare. Speaking of which, IIoT networks are making it easier than ever to analyze the data necessary to maintain a high operational awareness, enabling pro-active planning instead of reactive.

The Rise of the On-Demand Warehouse

In China the expectations are even more demanding [than Amazon’s] — JD.com (a huge Chinese online retailer) makes 90% of its deliveries within 24 hours, with 57% arriving within 12 hours. Experiences like this are delightful for the customer and fascinating for the investor. What allows such a supercharged supply chain to exist? What hurdles have to be overcome? And, more importantly, what are potential future opportunities and what would it take to get there?

Read the full article at Medium.

3D Printing Is Finally Ready For Its Close-Up

Selective laser melting, direct metal laser sintering, 3d printing, industry 4.0

Zero inventory” has been mostly unobtainable for manufacturers. But cutting-edge 3D printing technology is giving managers renewed hope. Carbon announced Tuesday it raised $260 million in growth funding. This San Francisco company is developing a platform executives claim will bring 3D printing to high-volume production. This would mean the end of inventories, and the beginning of new business models.

Keep reading at Forbes.

Why logistics scenarios matter for the future of the industrial IoT

A tanker at sea.

We will see faster speeds throughout the chain, which will become more efficient, convenient and sustainable by orders of magnitude. That’s because 5G will power the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT), enabling large-scale, real-time connectivity all the time. What if all of these devices could interact with one another without human intervention? What would this type of constant connectivity look like at scale, in complex logistics operations, for example?

Read the full article at World Economic Forum.

 

 

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How Data is supercharging everything around us (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #127)

We are strong advocates of the power of data and the opportunities extend well beyond the industrial setting. Everything around us is being uplifted through the aggregation and analysis of data to get insights that would otherwise pass unnoticed or be difficult to grasp. And that is the key: making the data understandable and actionable. IIoT networks submerge businesses’ data centers with information and, to make it work to their advantage, new technologies like AR and VR are stepping in to make it all human-readable. Similarly, transposing medical scans into tangible, bleeding replicas for the doctors to practice on is all about bringing the data closer to the end user. In our eagerness to digitize everything we find ourselves often surprised by data we have gathered that, in hindsight, we never knew we needed. Reparations for the tragic fire at Notre Dame in Paris will be aided by 3D scans of the cathedral that were done in 2015.

Augmented reality: the new business tool driving industry 4.0

Augmented reality: the new business tool driving industry 4.0 image

How can organisations deploy augmented reality (AR) at scale, solve meaningful business problems with the technology and embrace industry 4.0, as a result, Four end-user organizations discussed these questions and their own AR journeys during a panel at LiveWorx 19. Howden […] emerged in the peak of the first industrial revolution but is now committed to embrace the fourth industrial revolution, or industry 4.0. It has done this, in one way, by looking to AR.

“AR has provided us with transformation and consistency,” said Maria Wilson PhD, global leader data driven advantage at Howden.

Read the full article at Information Age.

Prepping For Surgery With 3D-Printed Organs May Become Commonplace

Many doctors are using 3D-printed replicas of human organs to practice for complex surgeries like transplants. Technology is still expensive, but Knowable Magazine reports that as 3D printing gets cheaper, rehearsing a surgery on a 3D-printed replica of a specific patient’s organ could become the norm rather than the exception — a bizarre example of how emerging technology could make personalized medicine cheaper and safer for more patients.

Read more at Futurism.

Fortunately, There Are Incredible 3D Scans of Notre Dame

Thanks to the meticulous work of Vassar art historian Andrew Tallon, every exquisite detail and mysterious clue to [Notre Dame’s] construction was recorded in a digital archive in 2015 using laser imaging. These records have revolutionized our understanding of how the spectacular building was built — and could provide a template for how Paris could rebuild.

According to Wired, “architects now hope that Tallon’s scans may provide a map for keeping on track whatever rebuilding will have to take place.”

Keep reading here.

 

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Why “Edge Computing” is edging closer and closer (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #121)

There are various reasons to be excited about edge computing. It proposes a localized way to deal with data analysis, making individual nodes independent of a central hub. This offers greater levels of security, isolating data to where it needs to be processed, as well as quicker responsiveness, obtaining actionable insights without the need for data transfer. There are still a few roadblocks to sort before the technology becomes fully applicable to all industrial settings. Mainly, these have to do with the convergence of IT and OT fields, enabling easier communication and action. The technology is there when it comes to processing and data transfer. Next generation PLCs address the needs of an edge network, reducing complexity along with installation time and costs. In parallel, 5G connection will enable extremely fast communication for large volumes of data (already proving itself valuable for autonomous cars). Decentralizing operations, in manufacturing and elsewhere, will lead to more secure and optimized workflows.

Is IIoT Edge Computing Ready Yet?

Image of a cloud and edge computers linked to it

Edge computing is evolving because of the high demand to move computer processing closer to sensors to decrease latency and improve efficiency. The IoT device at the edge must be responsible for computing, storing and network connectivity, all in a small form factor. Depending on the requirement, processed data from the sensors can be sent to the cloud either in parts or all at once.

Read the full article here.

The IIoT Challenge

https://www.automationworld.com/Benson%20Hougland%2C%20Opto%2022

[…] getting that data from the edge of the network where it’s produced to the databases and people who need it can be a challenge. Communication for control as well as monitoring and data acquisition can be even tougher. For the IIoT applications we’re doing now, we need a new approach—a new product that does much more than a PLC or PAC, a product that shrinks the middleware and improves security. That product has recently appeared. It’s called EPIC—Edge Programmable Industrial Controller. Because an EPIC replaces middleware and reduces the steps required to get data, it reduces complexity, lessens security risks, and decreases the time and expense of installation and maintenance.

Read the full article at Automation World.

5G’s Important Role in Autonomous Car Technology

5G in the auto industry

The fifth-generation wireless technology is expected to connect almost everything around us with an ultra-fast, highly reliable, and fully responsive network. 5G will allow us to leverage the full potential of advanced technologies such as AI, VR, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Self-driving cars use hundreds of sensors to make vehicles faster and smarter. These sensors generate unprecedented amounts of data, much more than any other IoT adoption would. Handling, processing, and analyzing this amount of data requires a much faster network than the existing 4G technology. Autonomous cars, systems require incredible data processing capabilities and speeds needed to mimic the timing of human reflexes.

Read the rest here.

 

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IIoT is the future of workplace safety (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #118)

The increasingly connected systems in place at the factory floors are enabling safer workplaces. The most straightforward approach here is to don workers with sensors that can detect hazardous environment parameters like air quality and temperature or even automatically alert someone if they are injured. In most cases, however, it’s about bypassing the need for human workers to do dangerous tasks. Technologies like predictive analytics can do tremendous work in alerting supervisors before parts get broken and become hazards. Similar smart systems need to be put in place when cooperative robotics start working alongside human counterparts. Using machine learning and computer vision, safety can be guaranteed as robots can have comprehensive knowledge of their surroundings and predict human actions, as well as maximizing the robot’s effectiveness.

Using IIoT-Connected Devices for Worker Health & Safety

IBM announced collaborations with Garmin, Guardhat, Mitsufuji and SmartCone to help organizations monitor their workers’ safety with Watson IoT. Source: IBM

Workplace safety is important in any field. For example, in my line of work, I’m always vigilant of dangers from hot coffee, eye strain, or paper cuts. But in industrial environments such as the manufacturing, petrochemical, or mining industries, the potential dangers are more severe. That’s why researchers and engineers are exploring new ways to use industry 4.0 technology to protect the health and safety of industrial workers.

Read the full article here.

How IoT and Computer Vision Can Enhance Industrial Safety

Welder's safety is protected by IoT

Using IoT sensors can feed the algorithm with real-time data and allow it to make decisions on the spot. For example, if sensors detect gas leakage, increased temperatures or unwanted humidity, work can stop at once or at the very least inform the floor manager. These type of decisions are deterministic and don’t provide much insight into the future. Another way of creating a safer environment is to use the power of computers and machine learning. By creating different scenarios, the algorithm can sense the difference between what is safe and what is not.

Read the rest here.

Collaborative Robots Learn to Collaborate

An automated mobile robot (AMR) uses 3d vision and machine learning to navigate in a more natural manner past a person moving a cart in a warehouse aisle.

To be truly collaborative, robots must be capable of more than working safely alongside human beings. Russell Toris, director of robotics at Fetch Robotics, says robots also need to act (and “think”) more like people. This is particularly true of autonomous mobile robots (AMRs) like those manufactured by Fetch. Typically employed for material transport and data collection (such as counting inventory), these wheeled systems use vision sensors and navigation software to dynamically adapt to new environments and situations. Increasingly common in warehouses and distribution centers, this technology is likely to spread to other applications and industries, including our own.

Read the full article here.

 

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Between the tech and results there is a big skill gap (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #117)

The best technology and infrastructure won’t do if what’s missing is a properly skilled team to make it work and translate into actionable insights. IIOT is more than a great marketing pitch, there are enormous benefits for companies willing to make the investment: increased operational monitoring and insights, predictive analytics and much more. However, it is an ever-changing field, with no lack of dangers and optimizations to be made along the way. As such, it is hard to find employees with the right skill set to approach the challenge. This goes for additive manufacturing too, with companies ready to invest in machines but unsure whether they have the right personnel to get the operation going. Fortunately, there are many initiatives that have popped up from this specific need and hope to educate people not only on the technical know-how but also on the importance of these new technologies for the future of manufacturing.

Lack of Expertise Makes Predictive Maintenance a Challenge for Manufacturers despite Promise of IIoT

Predictive maintenance is one element of the industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) that can help manufacturers increase productivity, streamline operations, improve efficiency and reduce costs – but global manufacturing companies are finding it a struggle to implement production-level IIoT projects, according to research from Bain & Company. The majority say it has been more difficult to reach scale with the IIoT than they had anticipated – particularly in terms of predictive maintenance – and their expectations have dropped slightly. Lack of technical expertise and integration struggles are slowing adoption.

Read the full article here.

New initiative to boost digital skills in manufacturing sector

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Koh Poh Koon trying out a drone demonstration unit yesterday at the inaugural Aerospace Engineering Week at ITE College Central, where he also launched the Worker 4.0 Digital Readiness Certificate. The

A new training programme has been launched to help manufacturing workers pick up digital skills such as coding and using emerging technology. The Worker 4.0 Digital Readiness Certificate, which is made up of 17 short modules, will be offered to at least 1,000 workers in manufacturing industries this year. National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) deputy secretary-general Koh Poh Koon said yesterday that the scheme should help to bridge the skills gap faced by technicians and associate professionals (TAPs).

Read the rest at Strait Times.

Phillips Corporation Launches Additive Manufacturing Training Services For Federal Facilities

Phillips Corporation, a Maryland-based supplier of industrial machinery solutions, has launched an additive manufacturing training service for federal facilities called MyAM.

“With MyAM, customers will be able to move from ideation to creation and prototype to production safely, efficiently, and rapidly,” said Howard Marotto, part of Phillips Business Development team. “This will enable increased productivity, performance, and innovation in ways previously unachievable with traditional training tools and manufacturing techniques.”

Keep reading here.

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The problems, and solutions, to the IIoT (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #110)

The Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) is taking hold on many industrial settings, and yet we are still far from reaping its true benefits. There are multiple reasons for this, and they have to do with the technical limitations of dealing with a large number of sensors and data, how to interpret it correctly and efficiently and how to create a reliable mesh network to tie it all together. AI may look promising for data handling and predictive systems. However, there are many angles to iron out before these make feasible solutions. AI’s prowess on self-teaching may fall short when, to be useful, it would have to learn and predict countless possibilities of a complex industrial setting. Established technologies, or novel combinations of them, can bring exciting opportunities to the table. RFID tagging for warehouse traceability is a dream come true for spoiling inventories while merging long-range connectivity with cloud services can satisfy a large portion of IIoT applications.

How IIoT and RFID deal with perishable inventory

Screen Shot 2019-02-25 at 11.17.42 AM

In North America alone, billions of dollars of food spoil before reaching customers each year. In the pharmaceutical industry, temperature-sensitive products are regularly damaged due to inappropriate shipping and storing conditions. To gain better visibility into the location and the condition of perishable inventory items, businesses can turn to RFID and IIoT technologies.

Read the full article at Smart Industry.

Is Artificial Intelligence the Answer for IIoT?

Many AI methods are self-taught, so they avoid the need for process mapping and other tedious analytical processes, making it seem to be the right fit for IIoT. Yet, only a few methods will apply. The most useful methods are not greedy for impossible amounts of data. They focus machine learning in explainable ways. The rest will fail badly.

Read more here.

Using LoRa and Google Cloud for IIoT Applications

Image of a gateway communicating with the cloud on LoRa

Pairing LoRa connectivity with the Google Cloud Platform (GCP) can serve a wide range of industrial IoT (IIoT) use cases. The longevity and resilience of LoRa paired with GCP’s robust architecture and commitment to scalable innovation provides industrial operators with the tools they need to build the world of tomorrow.

Read more here.

 

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Sideways innovation: unexpected avenues of discovery (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #109)

Innovation isn’t always a straightforward process. Sometimes to even begin to diagnose the problems we need a new perspective on the system as a whole, and that might mean researching curious tangents. Take flying taxis as an example: in our quest to one day see them whizzing over us, we never considered the systemic bottleneck of the manufacturing of high-tech materials like carbon fibers. Insights like this happen when we look beyond sheer innovation, thinking holistically of the topic at hand and not being blindsided by the shiny new technological grail. IIoT may one day benefit greatly from the blockchain, but is it ready for prime time in cybersecurity applications? Should we look at more traditional and effective approaches while we crack the infrastructure that will make it viable? Let’s look beyond the initial goal, let’s find interesting tangents to our research. Old materials can be reinvented with 3D printing, one of the many technologies that give us the tools to question everything.

Blockchain May Be Overkill For Most IIoT Security

Blockchain crops up in many of the pitches for security software aimed at the industrial IoT. However, IIoT project owners, chipmakers and OEMs should stick with security options that address the low-level, device- and data-centered security of the IIoT itself, rather than the effort to promote blockchain as a security option as well as an audit tool.

Read the full article at Semiengineering.

The Need For Carbon Fiber Could Ground The Flying-Car Future

Icon’s struggle to ramp up production of an airplane it initially promised for $139,000 can be blamed mostly on its heavy use of carbon fiber—a material that cuts weight and adds strength, but also adds complexity and cost to the manufacturing process.

Read more here.

Dichroic 3D-printing material changes color with point of view

A miniature goblet printed from the new material appears both opaque brown and translucent violet

In use since at least the 4th century AD, dichroic glass displays different colors depending on how it’s being viewed. Now, Dutch scientists have produced the effect in a material that can be used to create 3D-printed objects – and it’s not just a novelty, as it could have practical applications.

Read the full article here.

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Additive in Aviation is Growing Even Faster! (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – #105)

Many would say that with the GE Fuel Nozzle, the 1000 additive parts in the Airbus 350 and now the GE ATP engine, additive has already arrived in aviation. But this week we witnessed an event greater acceleration: At Hill Air Force Base, engineers are already validating and installing replacement parts for their $150 million F-22 aircrafts, printed to the highest standards and with greatly enhanced lead times and life-cycles. If you couple the capabilities of 3D printing with predictive maintenance and an intelligent IIoT network of manufacturing and storing, there’s opportunity to redefine the whole model. Airbases are already disposing 3D printers for in-situ manufacturing and new partnerships are bringing more and more industrial capabilities to the runways. At Authentise, we’re proud to apply the principles of predictive maintenance to our customers’ printers themselves, bringing an added tier of intelligent planning, along with a pervasive MES framework that can bring this dream to the real world.

Learn more about the modules that make us unique at https://authentise.com/modules.html

 

Metallic 3D Printing May Revolutionize Maintenance for F-22 Raptor

 An airman removes the intake covers of an F-22 Raptor before a training mission. The first metallic 3D-printed part was installed on an operational F-22 in December at Hill AFB, Utah. (US Air Force photo/Michael Holzworth)

The world’s most expensive fighter jet soon may be flying with parts made from a 3D printer. Maintainers at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, last month installed for the first time a metallic 3D-printed bracket on an operational F-22 Raptor, according to the Air Force and Lockheed Martin, the company that produces the $150 million aircraft.

“Once we get to the more complicated parts, the result could be a 60 to 70 day reduction in flow time for aircraft to be here for maintenance,” Robert Lewin, 574th Aircraft Maintenance director at Hill.

Read the full article here.

 

3D Printing Brings Maintenance Efficiency And Improved Healthcare To Travis Air Force Base

Joshua Orr, 60th Aircraft Maintenance Squadron, uses a 3D scanner to scan an aircraft part. Photo via U.S. Air Force/Heide Couch

Travis Air Force Base (AFB) in Fairfield, California has recruited the help of 3D printing technologies. The Air Base has employed 3D scanners to reduce maintenance time. Having 3D printers on the base will ensure rapid replacement of aircraft parts.

“Once we have this additive manufacturing capability in place, we will likely be able to print and replace parts in a few hours and return our aircraft to flying status much quicker,” Master Sgt. Christopher Smithling, assistant section chief for aircraft structural maintenance, 60th Maintenance Squadron.

Read the rest here.

 

EOS and Etihad Airways expand 3D printing capabilities

Etihad Airways Engineering claims to be the largest aircraft maintenance repair and overhaul services provider in the Middle East.

Industrial 3D printing company EOS and Etihad Airways Engineering, the largest aircraft maintenance, repair and overhaul services provider in the Middle East, have agreed a strategic partnership which will significantly expand local capabilities for industrial 3D printing in aviation. Following a structured selection process, suitable cabin interior parts will be produced through the AM process, which offers a substantial value-add in terms of optimised repair, lightweight design, shorter lead times and customisation options, particularly during aircraft modifications.

Read the full article here.

 

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Automation and the human dilemma (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 99)

Automation is a buzzword that’s more often than not associated with negative press. After all, it is eroding the job market for an increasing number of manual jobs. How is the human going to cope with a rising automated workplace? The picture doesn’t seem that straighforward though. The question in itself is in doubt when studies show that the shift is adding new jobs for the skilled workforce, alongside a rise in wages. Furthermore, automation is tackling those jobs that are repetitive, menial and reward-less. At the same time, we seem to not fully understand the scope of change that is about to hit us in the very near future and, in turn, are not prepared for it. Our society will need to adapt to new ways of getting things done. Data is king and AI systems will be unmatched. We humans must find a way to collaborate with this societal shift, bringing the best of what humans can do in a world dominated by robots.

Industrial robots increase wages for employees

Industrial robots increase wages for employees

In addition to increasing productivity, the introduction of industrial robots has increased wages for the employees. At the same time, industrial robots have also changed the labor market by increasing the number of job opportunities for highly skilled employees, while opportunities for low-skilled employees are declining.

Read more at Phys.org

Are We Mature Enough To Deal With The Dilemmas Of Automation?

We have no choice but to address the challenge of how our societies are going to evolve, how we are going to reinvent ourselves when we free ourselves from so many boring or demeaning tasks and which models are appropriate for a society in which the eight-hour (or longer) working day is as outdated as the manual labor our forefathers endured. The dilemmas of automation require a new way of thinking: the technology exists, the question is whether we have the vision to adopt it. In short, the problem isn’t technology per se, it’s about adapting our society to make the best use of it. And I’m not sure we have the maturity yet to do so.

Read the full article here.

Learn to love robots, automation and artificial intelligence

Innovation expert Charles Leadbeater says people should not be frightened by AI’s rise. For him, the danger of AI is that we’ll become more like second-rate robots. He believes education needs to produce first-rate humans, able to work with robots.

 

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How to fund Digital Manufacturing? (Authentise Weekly News-In-Review – Week 80)

Funds like Atomico are already forming a portfolio of startups poised to disrupt many verticals through IIoT, robotics and AI, and they are showing excitement for the future as well. There is tremendous value to be created through digital startups, many of which take on daunting challenges. The aptly named Automation Everywhere wants to bring, you guessed it, automation to any mundane human task, both physically and digitally, and has just raised $1.8 billion valuation. Similarly, company Katerra wants to reinvent how the construction industry is structured and has already raised $865 million in venture capital. But is Venture Capital really the right way to fund a B2B industry with slow sales? The fact that Automation Everywhere waited 15 years to raise its first funding, and Katerra is backed with $865m from Softbank indicates maybe not. Maybe more patient private capital, or even public markets – with their more limited growth objectives – are the right source of funding. Foxconn backing Andrew Ng, while Flex has backed ex-Autodesk CEO Carl Bass with $200m indicates it may be so. Our prediction: We’ll see a lot more interesting funding mechanisms in this industry going forward.

Data, AI & Robots: Atomico’s Take on Industry 4.0

Inexpensive sensors, cheap wireless communications infrastructure, highly scalable cloud-based data processing and novel machine learning methods have converged to a point where the building blocks are in place for a new Machine Age. Venture capital investment in internet-of-things in Industry (the decidedly ugly-sounding “IIoT”) is at an all time high, according to a CB Insights report on the topic, with over $1bn invested in Q4 2017 alone.

Read the full article at Medium.

Silicon Valley company that automates ‘mundane’ tasks with robots gets nearly $2 billion valuation

A Silicon Valley company that uses bots to automate certain tasks previously done by human workers has reached a $1.8 billion valuation with a new fundraising from several companies, including Goldman Sachs. San Jose, California-headquartered Automation Anywhere this week announced a $250 million round of fundraising — its first round of outside funding despite being in business for 15 years.

Read the rest here.

Can Silicon Valley Disrupt How We Build?

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Katerra announced that it had acquired Michael Green Architecture, a 25-person architecture firm in Vancouver, British Columbia. On June 12, the company revealed that it had bought another, larger architecture firm, Atlanta-based Lord Aeck Sargent. This comes five months after Katerra raised $865 million in venture capital from funders led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund, which has also invested heavily in the co-working startup WeWork. “The construction industry is ripe for digital disruption,” said co-founder and chairman Michael Marks in a press release. “This new round of funding will enable us to further invest in R&D and continue to scale the business.”

Read the full article here.

 

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