Industry News

The race to dominate the EV market

Tesla’s gigafactory in Nevada, producing batteries on a huge scale for the company’s electric vehicles (EVs), is bound to be the building with the largest footprint on Earth once fully completed. In contrast, British start-up Arrival is turning ex warehouses into microfactories, with plans to build a second microfactory in the United States that offers ultra-flexible production. What’s the best approach? Here Claudia Jarrett, US country manager at automation parts supplier EU Automation, delves into the pros and cons of both gigafactories and microfactories.

With an astounding floorspace of 5.3 million square feet and an impressive array of cutting-edge production technologies, Giga Nevada, also known as Gigafactory 1, stands in sharp contrast with the desert landscape in which it’s situated. In perspective, its total floorspace distributed on several levels occupies the equivalent of about 90 football fields — and the already built portion represents only 30 per cent of the final project. 

However, it’s not size alone that makes this gigafactory remarkable. Giga Nevada can take care of all aspects of battery production in-house, from processing raw materials to shipping the final products. Effectively, it can gather all the nodes of one of the most complex supply chains in the world under one roof. 

The gigafactory will also be one of the most sustainable buildings in the world, with the ability to recycle legacy batteries and plans to rely entirely on on-site solar, wind and geo-thermal energy to power its facilities. Tesla’s founder, Elon Musk, strongly believes in going bigger and even stated that 100 such facilities could power the entire world and complete the global transition from fossil-derived to sustainable energy. 

Is bigger, better? 

Gigafactories have several advantages over smaller facilities. They can eliminate some of the risks of complex supply chains, they are built with sustainability in mind from day one and they spur economic growth by creating employment opportunities for thousands of people. 

However, these facilities perpetuate the linear manufacturing approach introduced in the meatpacking industry and applied on a large scale by Ford Motor Company more than 100 years ago. In this sense, gigafactories are not different from other standard manufacturing facilities — they’re just much bigger. While offering many advantages in terms of efficiency and optimised logistics, the linear assembly model has limited flexibility. For example, if a new station is to be added to the current set up, production needs to stop, and the factory layout would likely need to be revised. 

This is one of the reasons why Arrival is favouring agility and innovation over sheer size. In fact, the company is investing in a multitude of microfactories, that are small facilities with flexible set ups that are built closer to where the final vehicles will be distributed and used. 

Smaller in design

The concept of the microfactory was first developed in 1990 in Japan by the Mechanical Engineer Laboratory (MEL). It typically involves highly automated processes along with the miniaturisation of equipment and systems, with the goal of cutting costs and saving energy. 

While Arrival has embraced the microfactory concept, its final products are not small as the theory suggests. The company specialises in vans and buses that are produced in highly automated facilities, occupying about 200,000 square feet and where stations are arranged modularly instead of linearly. 

This means that if they want to add an additional station, they can simply install it anywhere in the facility without interfering with the current set up. Plant managers just need to modify the software to send vehicles to that station before they continue their journey to the next one. 

In fact, from the success of these microfactories, Arrival’s second US microfactory will be producing two different classes of EV vans for U.S. customers, with the company’s first U.S. microfactory being used to assemble electric buses. Arrival is investing about $41.2 million in the production center, which will have the capacity to assemble up to 10,000 electric delivery vans each year. 

The reason why Arrival’s vehicles can be built in a microfactory is simple — they’ve been designed alongside the manufacturing process. For example, instead of using traditional welding processes, they rely on fixing methods from the aerospace industry, such as adhesives and mechanical fixings, which allows the company to eliminate welding stations entirely. 

Moreover, Arrival has eliminated one of the most crucial steps of automotive manufacturing — painting. Instead, the colour is moulded into the material itself, removing not only the cost of fixing cosmetic damage such as scratches, but also the need for a paint shop. 

It is still early to determine who will win the race to dominate the very profitable EV market, but one thing is sure — Arrival’s tiny factories demonstrate the potential of thinking outside the box. By completely reinventing such an established process as vehicle manufacturing, the start-up has managed to emerge in a landscape dominated by corporations with virtually unlimited cash flow. 

Another conclusion we can draw by comparing these two antithetical models is that, regardless of size, automation is the key to efficiency. In the case of gigafactories, for example, autonomous guided vehicles (AGVs) are essential to move materials and finished products efficiently in such a vast space. In Arrival’s microfactories, modular clusters — known as cells — contain four robots running on the company’s proprietary software that can be easily set up to complete a wide variety of tasks and can be quickly reprogrammed to meet changing production needs.

Whether manufacturers decide to invest in a gigantic facility or prefer to reinvent traditional processes to favour flexibility and scalability, end-to-end automation is crucial to streamline production, cut waste and increase efficiency. To learn more about the benefits of automation and to have access to a wide range of new, reconditioned and obsolete automation parts, visit the EU Automation website.

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Mike MacArthur Selected to Lead RobbJack Corporation

Lincoln, CA – October 1st, 2021 – RobbJack, the United States leading Premium Rotary Cutting Tool company, is pleased to announce the selection of Michael MacArthur as RobbJack’s new President.

Mr. MacArthur is a 26-year veteran of RobbJack.  During his tenure as sales manager, he developed a reputation for building relationships and providing innovative solutions to meet customer challenges in the machining of myriad components for manufacturers and subcontractors alike.  Mike has a clear vision for RobbJack’s future and a unique knowledge of RobbJack and its products.

David Baker, former President and Chairman of the Board, commented, “The Board of Directors, who comprise the successor search team, believes that Mike’s vision for RobbJack, knowledge of the cutting tool industry and his ability to identify cutting tool opportunities make him the choice to provide the strongest path forward for our company.  I am confident that Mike will continue the tradition started by Bob Eitreim and Jack Petersen and encouraged by me; a responsive and innovative business supported by the highest quality products and dedicated owner-employees”.

Mike and the RobbJack team congratulate Dave for 47 years of service and wish him the best in retirement.

RobbJack and its subsidiaries Crystallume and Crystallume PVD, are in their 61st year as a manufacturer of premium rotary cutting tools, coatings, and accessories.  Founded in 1960, its acquired experience and expertise in the industry are unmatched.  RobbJack employees pride themselves, as a 100% employee-owned company, on their dedication to their products, their industry, and their fellow employees.  RobbJack will continue to be a forward-looking company, providing excellence in quality, performance, and service to all our customers.

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Global Automated Trucks Market Sales to Surge, LiDAR Trucks to Expand at 10% CAGR: Fact.MR Study

The global automated truck market is projected to grow at a healthy CAGR of over 22% from 2021 to 2031, touching an impressive valuation of over US$ 1.5 Bn, concludes a recently published market intelligence report. Rising concerns regarding road safety is prompting increased automation in the automotive industry, stimulating growth.

From 2016 to 2020, sales of automated trucks recorded an impressive surge, closing in at US$ 210 Mn by the end of the historical period. Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, prospects further inclined, as mandatory social distancing norms prompted automotive manufacturers to invest a considerable portion of their funds to develop driverless systems- a trend which is expected to become the new normal in forthcoming years.

The technology is hailed by the automotive sector since it has helped in significantly curbing the risk of accidents caused due to negligence. An ESOMAR-certified market research and consulting firms recent market intelligence study has identified that automotive trucks will be a thriving market. The demand for automated trucks is forecast to surge in the coming years especially because they are in-built with advanced technological systems such as improved cameras and sensors for quick response.

Key Takeaways from Market Study

  • Global automotive trucks market to expand 7x from 2021 to 2031
  • Logistics to remain primary end user, capturing approximately 1/3rd of the revenue
  • LiDAR based automated trucks to hold considerable sway, expanding at a CAGR of 10%
  • Class 8 & Class 9 trucks to be top selling, capturing half of the global sales
  • Level 3 autonomy automated trucks to capture majority share, accounting for 3 out of 5 sales
  • U.S to register staggering growth, expanding at a CAGR of 15% through 2031
  • 35% of global automotive sales likely to be spurred by U.K
  • Asia to be a highly opportunistic market, China to be the vanguard of regional demand

“Rising penetration of automation in the global automotive industry and the increasing need to streamline logistical operations by reducing delays due to unforeseen circumstances such as accidents is heightening automated trucks adoption,” comments Senior Research Analyst.

Competitive Landscape

Some of the prominent players in the automated truck market include Uber Technologies Inc., Daimler AG, Ford Motor Co., AB Volvo, BMW AG, Tesla Inc., Google Inc., IVICO, MAN, DAF, Scania, among others.

These players focus on adopting various strategies to expand product offerings and strengthen geographic presence. With the advancement in technology, new players are expected to enter the market.

For instance, in May 2021, TuSimple – a provider of autonomous freight semi-truck solutions – announced that their technology will be operational by 2024. For the same, over 5,700 vehicles have been reserved by sophisticated shippers or carriers in just the first four months, which makes TuSimple’s timeline look more realistic.

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ServiceNow’s Latest Now Platform Release Helps Businesses Workflow the Biggest Challenges of the Hybrid Work Era

SANTA CLARA, Calif. — September 16, 2021— ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW), the leading digital workflow company that makes work, work better for people, today announced the Now Platform Rome release. The latest version of the Now Platform delivers hundreds of innovations designed to empower organizations to adapt to the hybrid work era – evolving business models, managing the employee fatigue crisis, and scaling automation and app development across the enterprise.

With a customer base representing nearly 80% of the Fortune 500, ServiceNow helps organizations across industries and geographies meet the challenges and opportunities of a new world of work. As the global economy expands at its strongest post‑recession pace in 80 years, the Now Platform Rome release gives organizations the tools they need to quickly create agile work environments, deliver compelling customer and employee experiences, and accelerate innovation, so they can thrive in a new economy.

“The rapid onset of hybrid work has accelerated the digital imperative and forever changed 21st century business models,” said Chirantan “CJ” Desai, chief product and engineering officer at ServiceNow. “Our customers need digital platforms that enable seamless, compelling employee and customer experiences in any environment, and help them stay agile, resilient, and productive. With our latest release, ServiceNow is workflowing solutions to help businesses navigate work moments that matter in a new economy.”

Reducing employee fatigue with simple, engaging experiences

With the Now Platform Rome release, new employee‑focused solutions delivered via a unified employee experience platform allow organizations to create simple, engaging employee experiences from anywhere, so employees can navigate work moments that matter with ease and confidence. New and enhanced solutions include:

  • Employee Center serves as the digital command center for the hybrid workforce. It provides a single, connected interface for employees to quickly and easily find personalized information, complete tasks, get help and request services across departments – including IT, HR, facilities, procurement, and legal – all in one place. Employee Center reduces the time it takes employees tolook for help and reduces application fatigue by integrating necessary information in one place. Organizations can easily curate information and services into dynamic, personalized topic pages that make it easy for employees to find the answers they need. Employee Center will also integrate with Microsoft Teams to meet employees where they are.
  • Employee Journey Management guides employees through the moments that matter with connected experiences for cross‑departmental journeys like onboarding, work transitions, and offboarding. It also empowers HR teams and managers to personalize resources, plans, and needs – all on the same platform.

In today’s increasingly challenging talent environment – 3.6 million Americans quit their jobs in May 2021 alone, with fatigue a likely factor of departures – digital transformation is no longer only a driver of growth and productivity. It is an imperative to help employees find better balance in the hybrid world of work and keep them creative, productive, and engaged.

“In the transition to hybrid work, organizations will be tasked with making the holistic employee experience efficient, frictionless, and collaborative, which will in turn spur engagement and productivity increases,” said Phil Carter, GVP and WW CIO Suite Tech Agenda Lead at IDC. “Simplifying the employee experience will be vital in achieving this, making sure employees have access to work solutions in one place, from anywhere, and in multiple ways. We anticipate that ServiceNow’s new solutions will offer more resources for employees in an effort to make their lives easier for a new era of work.”

Accelerating automation across the entire enterprise  

The shift to hybrid work, compounded by widening talent shortages, is accelerating automation across the enterprise. Automation at scale will be an imperative for 21st century businesses to alleviate employees from managing mundane tasks and free them up to focus on projects that drive business value.

With the Now Platform Rome release, ServiceNow brings powerful new AI and automation capabilities that empower IT teams to work smarter, simpler, and more efficiently from anywhere:

  • Automation Discovery identifies the top ten opportunities for automating work from more than 180 topics with ServiceNow applications, such as Virtual Agent, Auto Routing, and Agent Assist.
  • Health Log Analytics Enhancements helps detect issues before they occur and impact users, as well as automates issue resolution, by using ITOM Predictive AIOps. This extends ServiceNow ITOM Predictive AIOps – previously launched with the Now Platform Quebec release – and is built on Loom Systems’ innovative technology.

Enabling rapid development of modern, on‑the‑go mobile experiences

Every company is now a software company, reinventing and creating new business models with digital products and services. In the hybrid world of work, employees and customers need access to critical business apps from anywhere via mobile.

To address the needs of an increasingly on‑the‑go workforce, ServiceNow is introducing Mobile App Builder, allowing developers to rapidly build and configure engaging mobile apps for iOS and Android with a single intuitive interface, enhanced functionality, and guided experiences.

Creating seamless customer experiences that solve issues quickly

Organizations must be able to scale service operations to deal with heightened customer expectations and requests, providing customer service agents and teams with the information they need to resolve customer requests quickly, from anywhere and on one platform.

The Now Platform Rome release helps businesses across every industry solve issues fast and deliver better customer experiences, improving customer satisfaction and loyalty. The new Customer Service Playbooks: Focused Layout enhances the user experience and allows agents to resolve issues fast, so they can focus on key process tasks and data that drive better business outcomes.

What customers and partners are saying about the Now Platform Rome release:

“We use ServiceNow to provide twenty‑first century services to citizens in the way that they need them today, especially post‑COVID when digital customer service is key,” said Joseph Cevetello, CIO, City of Santa Monica.

“Our organization continues to drive greater agility, while simplifying and standardizing workflows across the globe to offer 350,000+ employees a central place to access everything they need. The significant increase in hybrid work has only accelerated the need to address complex business processes. Employee onboarding and return to workplace are great examples of how the Now Platform is helping to transform our employee experience while providing tangible benefits,” said Stephen Mansfield, CIO Deloitte Americas. “ServiceNow is enabling us to consolidate siloed employee systems and processes, transforming work into digital workflows and creating great experiences for our people and for our clients, ensuring they too are delivering personalized experiences and keeping their employees connected across the enterprise.”

“The new capabilities for monitoring our Instances Health have been instrumental in helping me identify discrepancies, issues and to enhance the awareness and how to follow ServiceNow best practices for our ServiceNow developers,” said Christian Ring, ServiceNow Technical Platform Architect at DnB Bank. “A task that previously took hours and involved a large amount of manual work on my part is now an automated process and a part of our developers’ workflow. This enhances the quality for future implementations and strengthens our ServiceNow instances overall health. The Now Platform Rome release will give us additional opportunities to automate our development pipelines within ServiceNow, something that I’m very excited about.”

“In the last few years, ServiceNow has become one of the main platforms to drive digital transformation and to consume digital processes at Mercedes‑Benz,” said Mishel Podolskis, Head of the Mercedes‑Benz ServiceNow Platform. “The user experience of our employees is of central importance for a goal oriented, efficient transformation. Employee Center will take us to a new level of evolution and allows employees a single view to consume a variety of company services.”

“At Kiwibank, our purpose is to make Kiwi better off. We live this by focusing on creating insanely simple experiences for both our customers and our own employees. This can be complex with disparate systems and manual processes,” said Nathan Hopkins, Product Manager, Digital & Technology at Kiwibank. “We’re seeing significant value from the Now Platform as we continue to streamline, standardize and digitize processes across the organization, and are redistributing saved productivity minutes into higher value activities daily with ServiceNow. We’re looking forward to ServiceNow’s continued investment in Playbooks and our future use of these, especially in Customer Service Management to help drive growth, increase productivity and strengthen business resilience.”

“The COVID‑19 pandemic presented an enormous challenge and opportunity for SnapNurse. We are proud to provide greater access to education and COVID vaccines through our SnapClinics in underserved urban and rural communities in the U.S.,” said Cherie Kloss, founder and CEO of SnapNurse. “The ServiceNow Platform and ServiceNow Vaccine Administration Management solution has helped us manage scheduling, inventory and reporting of COVID vaccinations, ensuring the flow of data is secure, consistent, and up to date. We see ongoing value in the ServiceNow Platform to continue to deliver healthcare to citizens across the U.S.”

Availability

The Now Platform Rome release is generally available today.

Additional information:

  • Watch a demo of Employee Center.
  • Read blog detailing new innovations designed for manufacturinghealthcare and life sciencestelecommunications and financial services also being announced with Rome.
  • ServiceNow’s Chief Product and Engineering Officer, CJ Desai, shares additional insights and innovations in his blog.

About ServiceNow:
ServiceNow (NYSE: NOW) is making the world of work, work better for people. Our cloud‑based platform and solutions deliver digital workflows that create great experiences and unlock productivity for employees and the enterprise. For more information, visit: www.servicenow.com.

© 2021 ServiceNow, Inc. All rights reserved. ServiceNow, the ServiceNow logo, Now, and other ServiceNow marks are trademarks and/or registered trademarks of ServiceNow, Inc. in the United States and/or other countries. Other company names, product names, and logos may be trademarks of the respective companies with which they are associated.

###

Contacts:

Jacqueline Velasco
(408) 561‑1937
press@servicenow.com

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Overcoming the rare earths shortage with the circular economy

A report by Adamas Intelligence predicts that if the global rare earth industry continues to exploit these resources in the same way, in three to five years demand will outgrow supply. This is worrying news for manufacturing, as a scarcity of rare earths would affect the production of high-tech products like electric vehicles and robots. Here, Claudia Jarrett, US country manager at automation part supplier EU Automation, discusses the importance of rare earths in manufacturing and how a circular economy model can help limit their use. 

According to the author of The Structure of Rare-Earth Metal Surface, rare earth elements that we use today were born in a supernova explosion around ten billion years ago. They are in many products that are part our daily lives — inside fluorescent light bulbs, in the hard drives of PCs, mobile phones, electric vehicles and many other everyday products.  

Physically, rare earths are not scarce. They are even more common in the earth’s crust than many other metals such as gold, uranium, or tin. However, they are considered rare because their mineable concentrations are less common than for most other ores. Since there is no way of reproducing them artificially, we have only a limited supply of these materials and no alternative to them can be found.

Applications of rare earths 

Featured with unique magnetic, catalytic and optical properties, rare earths are widely used in many high-tech and low-carbon technologies, from hard disk drives, electric vehicles and fibre optic cables to missile guidance system, medical devices, and clean energy technologies. 

Five rare earth minerals, tantalum, silver, lithium, gallium and indium, are widely used in modern technologies. For example, tantalum has been commonly used in the electronic capacitors in computers and mobile phones for its energy-storing capacity. Owing to its low failure rate, it has also been used in automotive and aerospace electronics, atomic energy and wind turbines. 

Another important rare earth mineral, gallium, is used in its liquid form for human machine interfaces (HMIs), screens and solar panels. Since it has a low melting point but a high boiling point, it is used in gallium arsenide (GaAs) and gallium nitride (GaN) compounds in semiconductors for its heat-transfer and cooling properties. 

In short supply

The complicated recycling process and environmental impacts of these materials is one of the reasons why rare earth minerals are in short supply. Some minerals like gold can be extracted from legacy technology through recycling. However, it’s more difficult to recycle rare earth minerals because the process, known as smelting, is very energy-intensive, may produce harmful emissions, and requires further downstream separation processes. 

The fact that nowadays people own more technology items but don’t know how to reuse or recycle them is also contributing to the scarcity of rare earths. According to an Ipsos MORI survey commissioned by the Royal Society of Chemistry, 51 per cent of UK households have at least one unused electronic device. Of these, 82 per cent have no plans to recycle or sell their devices. Hoarding redundant tech has become even more common during the COVID-19 pandemic, when many people shifted to remote work and education. 

Rare earth elements are used to produce high-strength permanent magnets that have enabled the production of consumer electronics, such as mobile phones and laptops, as well as automation technologies adopted in manufacturing. For example, servo motors rely on magnetic materials containing neodymium and dysprosium. If no measure is taken, the rapidly growing demand for magnet rare earths like neodymium, praseodymium, dysprosium and terbium might exceed their supplies in the next two decades.

Circular economy 

To contribute to limiting the global use of rare earths, manufacturers could consider replacing their traditional linear economy model with a circular model. In the circular economy model, products and materials are recovered and regenerated at the end of their service lives. That being said, when automation parts that contain rare earths break down, sourcing obsolete or reconditioned parts could be a more sustainable solution. 

EU Automation offers a comprehensive supply of refurbished and obsolete automation parts. For more information, please visit the website here

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KraussMaffei supplies highly efficient extrusion technologies for ground-Breaking PureCycle recycling process

(Hannover, 2 September 2021) Stock market listed PureCycle Technologies (Nasdaq: PCT) launches a multi-million dollar recycling project in the USA.

PureCycle uses a highly innovative process to convert carpet scraps based on polypropylene (PP) composite material into high-purity pellets that are equivalent to virgin material. The company’s flagship plant is underway in Ohio and is scheduled to begin operating at scale in 2022. The plant will be equipped with several extruders delivered by Hannover-based KraussMaffei Extrusion, based primarily on its unparalleled expertise and uncompromising customer support.

“We are extremely pleased about this order and the trust PureCycle has placed in us,” says Carl Philip Pöpel, Director of Product Management at KraussMaffei. “Acting as a full-line provider of various extrusion technologies, we are in a position to deliver an outstanding high-performance package solution that enables efficient and resource-conserving plastics recycling and offers substantial added value.”

PureCycle sets new standard in plastics recycling
PureCycle uses proprietary technology licensed from The Procter & Gamble Company (P&G) to recycle waste PP into ultra-pure recycled-PP for applications spanning consumer goods, automotive, building and construction, and industrial uses.

“Thanks to PureCycle’s technology, we have succeeded in removing all impurities, odors, and dye residues from carpet remnants so that the PP pellets produced are equivalent to virgin material, both in terms of appearance and mechanical properties,” explains Brett Hafer, VP Manufacturing at PureCycle. “Now that PureCycle has passed the pilot phase successfully, we are building the world’s most modern PP recycling line.”

Processing of up to eight metric tons of PP waste carpet per hour
The core component of the new PureCycle line is the extraction process. The technique cleans melted PP composite material from dye residues, foreign plastics and odors, providing for a pure PP melt and a recycled, re-usable co-product. The circulating solvent is then purified and returned to the process.

Two twin-screw extruders from KraussMaffei serve for melting the dry PP carpet scraps that are used as feedstock for the PureCycle process. These extruders are characterized by their ideal ratio between free volume and high specific torque, which makes them the first choice for processing the large-volume carpet scraps. Thanks to the high torque density of up to 16 Nm/cm³, they plasticize the starting material even at moderate temperatures and low speed and thus ensure optimum material homogenization and minimum energy consumption. Both high-performance extruders supply up to 8 metric tons of processed feedstock per hour via a melt pipe into the PureCycle process.

After passing PureCycle’s first processing stage, the cleaned melt is fed into the degassing extruder specifically designed to effectively remove any high-molecular residual monomers. Volatile matter like solvent residues and other impurities, such as adhering odorous substances and low-molecular compounds, are gently separated from the melt. The result is pure PP pellets that can easily be used to manufacture a wide variety of products by injection molding or extrusion coating processes.

“The collaboration and support we received from KraussMaffei has been exceptional. Collectively, we achieved real technical innovations and developed an exceptional solution for our process. We look forward to continuing this relationship as we scale our Ultra-Pure Polypropylene Technology globally,” said Scott Brown, Vice President of Program Management at PureCycle.

“We are exceedingly proud that – based on the tests carried out in our R&D center and the jointly developed modular concept – PureCycle has opted for KraussMaffei’s extrusion technology and that we can now make a decisive contribution to the world’s most modern PP recycling plant,” says Carl Philip Pöpel.

The complete installation of the plant will be an important milestone in the history of plastics recycling.

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Velo3D and Launcher Expand High-Performance Liquid Rocket Engine Component-Manufacturing Collaboration

CAMPBELL, Calif. – September 1, 2021 – The partnership between Velo3D Inc., a leader in additive manufacturing (AM) for high-value metal parts, and Launcher, a developer of high-performance rockets for small satellites, is proving out the value of 3D printing for delivering these satellites to orbit cost-effectively and with destination-orbit flexibility. Launcher purchased a Velo3D metal additive manufacturing solution to print Inconel parts in April 2021 and has recently added a second one that prints Titanium.

Following successful testing at NASA’s Stennis Space Center of Launcher’s liquid oxygen (LOX) turbopump for its high-performance closed cycle liquid rocket engine, Launcher is now working with Velo3D to 3D print its fuel pump, flight turbine housing parts, and Orbiter pressure vessels—the latter to be manufactured with the second Velo3D Sapphire® metal AM system.

“Velo3D really delivered on our turbopump, including its 3D-printed rotating impeller, all of which functioned perfectly the very first time at 30,000 rpm, using the first prototype,” said Max Haot, founder & CEO of Launcher.

“Rocket engine turbopump parts typically require casting, forging, and welding. Tooling required for these processes increases the cost of development and reduces flexibility between design iterations. The ability to 3D print our turbopump—including rotating Inconel shrouded impellers, thanks to Velo3D’s zero-degree technology—makes it possible now at a lower cost and increased innovation through iteration between each prototype.”

Founded in 2017, Launcher is an emerging-technology company dedicated to developing efficient rockets that can deliver small satellites to orbit. Their “Launcher Light” rocket will carry payloads of up to 150 kg (330 labs) to low-earth orbit, using a single E-2 engine. A first launch is scheduled for 2024.

One of the company’s strategies is to use additive manufacturing in as many rocket components as possible. While Launcher’s new advanced manufacturing facility in Los Angeles will include a wide variety of in-house capabilities, the company also plans to take advantage of Velo3D’s contract manufacturing partners like Stratasys Direct Manufacturing when scaling up production, particularly for AM.

“We’re very excited about working with innovative companies like Launcher,” said Benny Buller, founder and CEO of Velo3D. “Not only have they already proven out the value and experienced the quality of advanced metal AM through current projects, they understand the potential that this technology holds for expanding the success of their out-of-this-world enterprise.”

In March, Velo3D announced plans to merge with JAWS Spitfire Acquisition Corporation (NYSE: SPFR) and become a public company.

To learn more about how Velo3D empowers engineers and designers to imagine more and additively manufacture nearly anything, follow Velo3D on LinkedIn or visit velo3d.com.

About Velo3D

Velo3D, one of Fast Company’s 2021 World’s Most Innovative Companies, empowers engineers and designers to imagine more and additively manufacture nearly anything with a fully integrated patented solution of software, hardware, and process-control featuring FlowTM print preparation software, AssureTM quality assurance software and the Sapphire® family of laser powder bed 3D printers. Velo3D additive manufacturing solutions for 3D-printing high-value metal parts allow for previously impossible geometries, so businesses can make the mission-critical parts they need without compromise. Customers include some of the world’s most visionary companies, such as Aerojet Rocketdyne, Chromalloy, Honeywell, LAM Research and Raytheon Technologies. For more information, follow Velo3D on LinkedIn or visit velo3d.com.

About Launcher

Launcher is developing the world’s most efficient rocket and orbit transfer vehicle to deliver small satellites to orbit via dedicated and rideshare launch with a common service and vehicle. Launcher Light is a low cost, responsive & dedicated small satellite launch vehicle built upon our staged combustion engine for maximum efficiency to achieve a low cost to orbit. Launcher Light’s third stage is Orbiter – our rocket-agnostic orbital transfer vehicle and satellite platform, uniquely compatible with rideshare launch vehicles. Orbiter is contracted to make its inaugural flight to sun-synchronous orbit via SpaceX Falcon 9 rideshare mission in October 2022. With Orbiter, Launcher is offering rideshare launch services to tailored orbits that better meet a spacecraft customer’s mission needs along with a common launch service on a small dedicated launch vehicle when a satellite’s mission requires it. Visit Launcherspace.com or email sales@launcherspace.com for more information.

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Kleiner Perkins, Tiger Global Lead Series B Investment in Rapid Robotics

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 18, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Rapid Roboticscreator of the first ready-to-work robotic machine operator, today announced $36.7M in Series B funding led by Kleiner Perkins and Tiger Global, with existing investors NEA, Greycroft, Bee Partners and 468 Capital also participating. The latest round is Rapid’s third in less than a year, bringing its total funding to $54.2M.

Since emerging from stealth in late 2020, Rapid Robotics has quickly established itself as a must-take meeting for American manufacturers, as they grapple with a crippling labor shortage that COVID-19 turned into a full-blown crisis.

According to a recent study from Deloitte and The Manufacturing Institute, by the end of 2020 the manufacturing industry had regained only 63% of jobs lost during the pandemic, even with job openings at near-record levels.

“Given the foundational role the manufacturing sector plays in our nation’s economy, it is deeply concerning that at a time when jobs are in such high demand nationwide, the number of vacant entry-level manufacturing positions continues to grow,” Paul Wellener, Deloitte vice chairman and U.S. industrial products and construction leader, said in a statement accompanying the study.

Most of these open positions are for machine operators, the employees who work the machines that mold, stamp and assemble components for every product we buy. Without operators, these simple plastic and glass parts cannot be made. Without those components, entire factories sit idle.

“We hear a lot about the semiconductor shortage, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Contract manufacturers can’t produce gaskets, vials, labels—you name it. I’ve seen cases where the inability to produce a single piece of U-shaped black plastic brought an entire auto line to a halt,” said Jordan Kretchmer, CEO of Rapid Robotics.

Rapid’s solution is the Rapid Machine Operator (RMO), the world’s first cobot specially designed and priced for machine operation. Previous robotics solutions were too expensive for machine-tending tasks. Between hardware, software, integration and maintenance, they wound up costing more than they saved.

The Rapid Robotics RMO, by contrast, arrives trained and ready to perform the most common machine-tending tasks. Rapid’s RMO comes with all necessary components, including grippers and computer vision, can be put to work in hours (typical robotics solutions take weeks or even months) and can be easily transferred between tasks as needed, no retraining necessary. With Rapid’s OpEx-friendly subscription model, factories can “hire” an RMO for less than $2,100 per month, a small fraction of the cost of conventional robotics, bringing automation within reach of manufacturers of all sizes.

“Until now, only the largest facilities could benefit from robotic automation,” said Griffin Schroeder, Partner, Tiger Global. “But most manufacturing in America is done in smaller factories, which have been deeply challenged by the machine operator shortage. For them, the Rapid Machine Operator provides the additional support they need to thrive.”

Manufacturers appreciate how the Rapid Machine Operator delivers positive ROI from day-one, but the value for regional producers goes far beyond that, said Rapid Robotics Midwest GM Aaron Halonen, an auto-industry veteran with decades of experience in design, engineering and quality control.

“Factories around here are in a tough spot,” Halonen said. “Without a way to work their machines, they can’t bid on jobs. No bidding means no business. No business means no revenue, obviously. But it also means no hiring or upskilling in other positions. It has a ripple effect on the entire economy.”

“I had one factory manager grab me on my way out. He said, ‘You know, we were going to manufacture these parts in Mexico, but with the RMO I think we don’t have to,’” he added.

It’s not just the auto industry either. Manufacturers across America are racing to put Rapid’s RMOs in place. Next-generation healthcare infrastructure company Truepill has hired RMOs at its Hayward, California facility to fill and label prescription vials.

“At Truepill, we work behind the scenes to help companies build and power more advanced, efficient and automation-driven pharmacies, fulfilling up to 100,000 prescriptions per day and creating customized, white-labeled experiences delivered directly to consumers’ doors,” said Matthew Alley, Head of Fulfillment and Supply Chain at Truepill. “Rapid is helping us further scale these fulfillment capabilities by providing RMOs that are easy to set up and integrate seamlessly with our staff.”

“With the RMO, Rapid Robotics has come up with the right product at the right time,” said Wen Hsieh, General Partner at Kleiner Perkins. “Rapid Robotics pinpointed an urgent problem in a multi-billion-dollar industry and solved it in a matter of months. They’ve found the perfect balance of innovation, affordability and ease of implementation and use.”

“Since we launched the RMO I’ve been meeting several manufacturers a week, and it’s clear to me that in every part of the country, this industry is ready for a comeback,” Kretchmer said. “With the RMO, our customers are ramping up, winning deals and hiring staff. Together, we’re bringing back American manufacturing one machine at a time.”

About Rapid Robotics

Rapid Robotics is the creator of the first affordable robotic machine operator (RMO) designed for simple machine tasks. Available for just $25K a year and requiring absolutely no programming, systems integration, specialized hardware or robotics skills, the Rapid Machine Operator enables manufacturers to easily deploy a pre-trained cobot in hours, moving it between tasks as needed and seeing ROI in months.

Rapid Robotics’ founding team combines robotics and manufacturing expertise with a SaaS business model to deliver affordable solutions to real-world industry problems. Investors include Tiger Global, Kleiner Perkins, NEA, Greycroft, Bee Partners and 468 Capital. Rapid Robotics is based in San Francisco, California.

Media contact
Chris Ulbrich
rapidrobotics@firebrand.marketing
415 848 9175

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Global Container Handling Equipment Demand Influenced by Electric/Hybrid Vehicles: Fact.MR

According to a new market intelligence study by an ESOMAR-certified market research and consulting firm, the global market for container handling equipment is expected to increase at a value CAGR of 4.2% over the forecast period, to reach a market surpass US$ 2 Bn by 2031.

Historically, between 2016 and 2020, sales of container handling equipment surpassed US$ 1.5 Bn by the end of 2020. Due to COVID-19, transportation around the world was halted. Restricted movements by the government around the globe slowed down the growth of container handling equipment.

The increasing number of new terminals and the advent of automation is one of the most prominent trends in the container handling equipment market. As container terminals aim for higher productivity and more efficient operations, automation is making significant strides across the globe.

In order to meet the challenges of larger vessels and taller cranes the automated solutions will get adopted by port terminals. Automation of ports not only shrinks the turnaround and waiting time for container handling equipment but also cuts the container handling duration. Manufacturers of container handling equipment are focusing on reducing carbon emissions due to stringent rules and regulations.

Key Takeaways from Market Study

  • By propulsion, electric/hybrid container handling equipment sales to soar, expanding at around 4% CAGR
  • Automated stacking cranes demand to experience substantial growth, generating over 40% revenue
  • U.S market to expand at a CAGR of 2.4%, attributed to increasing port infrastructure development
  • U.K to account for over 1 out of 5 sales of container handling equipment in Europe
  • East Asia to generate a total incremental opportunity of about US$ 176.5Mn
  • South Asia likely to generate US$ 280 Mn incremental opportunity through 2031

“Higher productivity, better operations and consistent efforts at reducing emissions are driving the container handling equipment industry to new heights” says a Senior Research Analyst.

Competitive Landscape

Prominent container handling equipment manufacturers profiled in market intelligence report include Liebherr, Hyster-Yale Materials Handling Inc., Cargotec Corp, Konecranes, SANY and Kalmar among others. Prominent expansion strategies include forging strategic partnerships, launching new products and expanding existing production capacities.

  • In 2019, Sany Heavy Industry Co., Ltd. partnered with ANGST Group and VCE (Vienna Consulting Engineers) ZT GmbH to form a joint venture called Palfinger Structural Inspection GmbH (STRUCINSPECT).
  • Likewise, in the same year, Konecranes acquired one of largest crane service companies in Italy, Italian Trevolution Service SRL, specializing in crane modernizations, repairs, maintenance, spare parts and hoists, and components.

These insights are based on a report on Container Handling Equipment Market by Fact.MR.

E-mail: shantanu@factmr.com

Web:    www.factmr.com

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Teledyne’s new AI software allows learning at runtime

WATERLOO, Ontario, Aug. 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Teledyne is pleased to announce its Sapera Vision Software Edition 2021-07 is now available. Sapera™ Vision Software from Teledyne DALSA offers field proven image acquisition, control, image processing and artificial intelligence functions to design, develop and deploy high-performance machine vision applications.

The new upgrades to the Sapera Vision Software include enhancements to its AI training graphical tool Astrocyte™ and the image processing and AI libraries tool Sapera Processing.

“We are excited to introduce continual learning to the Astrocyte package. This helps improve the accuracy of a classifier ‘on the field’ by training only the samples that fail, without having to retrain from scratch,” said Bruno Ménard, Software Director for Teledyne’s vision solutions group. “Astrocyte now includes a new anomaly detection called ‘pixel-level anomaly detection’. This new algorithm is much more robust and precise than the previous one. It also has the ability to generate heatmaps at runtime,” he continued.

Sapera Vision Software is ideal for applications such as surface inspection on metal plates, location and identification of hardware parts, detection and segmentation of vehicles and noise reduction on x-ray medical images.

New features in this release:

  • Continual Classification: New algorithm allows to pre-train a classifier in Astrocyte and then perform further training at runtime in Sapera Processing.
  • New Anomaly Detection with Output Heatmaps: New Anomaly Detection algorithm which is more robust in locating defects while providing the ability to generate output heatmaps. Heatmaps at runtime are very useful for obtaining the location and shape of defects without the need for graphical annotations at training.
  • Live Acquisition for Dataset Creation: When creating dataset in Astrocyte you can now acquire live video from a camera and generate a series of files automatically prior to training. During acquisition images are prepared for training (i.e. adjusted for size and aspect ratio) before being saved to disk.

For more information visit our website.

About Teledyne
Teledyne’s imaging businesses form an unrivalled collective of expertise across the spectrum with decades of experience. Individually, each company offers best-in-class solutions. Together, they combine and leverage each other’s strengths to provide the widest imaging and related technology portfolio in the world. From aerospace through industrial inspection, scientific research, spectroscopy, radiography and radiotherapy, geospatial surveying, and advanced MEMS and semiconductor solutions, Teledyne offers world-wide customer support and the technical expertise to handle the toughest tasks. Their tools, technologies, and vision solutions are built to deliver to their customers a unique and competitive advantage.

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