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This week we will reveal the future of manufacturing and the role of smart data in the transition towards fully automated production facilities.

Problem Statement: With the overall increase in demand for products, but also the increase in their complexity, factories are struggling to make automation fast, flexible and affordable. Most of all, the pandemic has highlighted how important it is for factories to be able to control the production remotely. Currently, most of the assembly processes are done manually, such as screwing, and pick & place, which often require more than one human operator per unique station. Additionally, factories often face low yields when issues on the production line occur that compromise the quality of a product.

Technological Advances: Microfactories are highly automated and technologically advanced manufacturing setups. This innovation consists of blocks that can be combined in endless configuration options to serve a wide range of applications. It allows for remote control and enables factories to produce several variances of a piece with switchover time of just a few minutes. All that fits the dimensions of a cubic meter can be produced via this innovative assembly line. Artificial intelligence, machine learning and production data are the key technologies behind microfactories, increasing efficiency, flexibility and adaptability, which results in a production output increased by a factor of 10.

Solution of the Week – Bright Machines: Founded in 2018, the San Francisco-based startup covered the market gap for smart manufacturing immediately, raising $179 million in the series A investment round during the same year. The company received the title of Technology Pioneer from The World Economic Forum for leveraging advances in computer vision, machine learning, cloud computing and adaptive robotics to fundamentally transform the manufacturing industry. In the future, Bright Machines plans to use the software-defined approach to fully automate the entire production line.