Cobots: Paving the Way for Advanced Manufacturing

Arpita Halder | June 08, 2022 | 96 views
COBOTS_PAVING_THE
The International Federation of Robotics predicts that cobot sales will reach $1.94 billion per year in 2028, which is 15.7% of the total market for robots. Collaborative robots, popularly known as cobots, have been one of the most impressive sectors of the robotics industry in terms of market growth. Cobots are designed to work alongside as well as near humans, unlike other robots operating in 4-D environments that require separation from humans to operate securely. In manufacturing, the use of cobots is on the rise because they make workers and businesses safer and more productive.


The Rise to Prominence:

When compared to their human coworkers, these computers may be "taught" to execute repeated jobs and are significantly less prone to making mistakes. Cobots are also relatively simple to operate with minimal training and can usually be set up in a short time span. Cobots also appeal to manufacturers because they are smaller and can move around more easily than traditional industrial robots.

A wide range of cobot types may be wheeled from one industrial station to another swiftly and easily. They are, in most cases, software-flexible, allowing them to be reprogrammed to perform multiple jobs rather than just one. Cobots are also appealing because their naturally safe design eliminates the need for often costly safety attachments, saving both money and factory floor space. With such benefits, as well as manufacturing's preference for flexibility considering high variability, low volume, and short product life, it's easy to see why cobots are so valuable.


Early Adopters of Cobots:

The automobile sector was one of the first to use cobots. University research programs and the General Motors (GM) Robotics Center produced the first cobots in the mid-1990s. These robots were later used by BMW and Volkswagen in 2013. BMW's cobot worked with humans during the door construction process. Volkswagen used cobot to install glow plugs into cylinder heads. Both companies wanted to reduce the physical strain of their workers by having robots perform repetitive and unergonomic tasks.

The use of cobots is no longer restricted to the automobile industry. It has diversified into various other processes and industries.


Good News for Every Industry:

Cobots can be utilized to bring industrial automation to a variety of corporate processes. Each machine can be used for a variety of activities, from fine detail work to palletizing, but some versions are better suited to specific tasks. A business that wants to automate non-load-bearing operations may benefit from a tabletop model like the UR3e, but a larger cobot arm will be able to pull its weight with heavier jobs.

One of the most valuable qualities of cobots for a small firm is their versatility. They can be reprogrammed in a short time to address gaps that arise in nearly any aspect of the business, from palletizing to the production line. The adaptability of cobots is due to one key component: their end effectors.

End effectors, also known as end of arm tooling (EOAT), are an important part of every cobot. They attach to the robotic arm's end and enable it to do specialized activities ranging from tedious tasks like selecting and packing to technical jobs like welding and sanding. Depending on a company's needs, a single cobot could accomplish up to a dozen jobs in a working week.

 

Final Thoughts:

Following the industry's initial skepticism of this new technology, cobots acquired remarkable traction in entering production lines. The advancement was spurred in part by the buzz around cobots, but it is obvious that the ease of use and versatility of cobots made robotization accessible to small and medium-sized firms. Because cobot development has made a big step forward, one can surmise that it will be used in almost every part of manufacturing in the future.

Spotlight

PPG Industries

We work every day to develop and deliver the paints, coatings and materials that our customers have trusted for more than 135 years. Through dedication and creativity, we solve our customers’ biggest challenges, collaborating closely to find the right path forward. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, we operate and innovate in more than 70 countries and reported net sales of $15.4 billion in 2018. We serve customers in construction, consumer products, industrial and transportation markets and aftermarkets.

OTHER ARTICLES

Three Business Examples That Effectively Practice Lean Manufacturing

Article | December 13, 2021

Lean manufacturing principles enable manufacturing businesses to achieve spectacular results and overhaul their conventional operations. A wide range of industries have adopted lean manufacturing because of its enormous advantages, and they have seen excellent results as a result. The 2010 Compensation Data Manufacturing survey indicated that 69.7% of manufacturing organizations employ lean manufacturing principles. By consuming this data, we can understand how far organizations have progressed toward incorporating lean principles into their operations. “Many companies are not willing to change or think they are done once they make a change. But the truth is technology, consumer demands; the way we work, human needs, and much more are constantly changing.” –Michael Walton, Director, Manufacturing Industry Executive at Microsoft Let's look at some examples of lean manufacturing from some well-known companies. These leading-edge examples of lean manufacturing will shed light on how lean principles positively affect. Leading Companies Using Lean Manufacturing Effectively Successful manufacturing businesses like Toyota, Nike, and Caterpillar are currently employing lean manufacturing ideas in their production processes. In addition, Intel, Parker Hannifin, and John Deere embrace these techniques. From them, we've described three different organizations in various sectors that are successfully adopting lean manufacturing. JOHN DEERE John Deere has also implemented a lean manufacturing strategy. As a result, many of their quality control procedures are automated, which means that more components can be checked for flaws in less time. This means that more supply can be released each day, and the product can be supplied at a lower price to the consumer. Additionally, these controls monitor the manufacturing process for each component of their products, ensuring that they never manufacture more than is required and waste essential materials in the process. INTEL Intel, known for its computer processors, has used lean manufacturing techniques to provide a higher quality product for an industry that requires zero defects. In the past, it took more than three months to get a microprocessor to the manufacturer, but this principle has helped shorten that time to less than ten days. Intel rapidly learned that creating more but worse quality was not the way to raise revenues and increase consumer satisfaction with its products, which were extremely precise and technical. Instead, both parties gain from quality control and waste reduction initiatives. This is even true in the tech industry, where goods are constantly changed and upgraded. TOYOTA Toyota, the world's largest automaker, was the first to implement lean manufacturing in its manufacturing operations. But, even more importantly, they've learned how to limit products that don't match customer expectations by eliminating waste. To achieve these goals, Toyota employs two essential procedures. The first is a method known as Jidoka, which loosely translates as "automation with the assistance of humans." This implies that, although some of the work is automated, humans always ensure that the result is of the highest quality. When something goes wrong, the machines have built-in programs that allow them to shut themselves down. Known as the Just In Time (JIT) model, this is the second stage. Once the last part of a process has been finished, the next phase can begin. No unnecessary work will be done if there is a problem with the assembly line. This lean manufacturing technique has inspired thousands of other businesses. Final Words Lean manufacturing principles and their execution require discipline and patience to get the results out of them. When we see the successful lean manufacturing examples, it is not a fraction of a second success. They have devoted their time, energy, and efforts to modifying every single operational process in order to become a part of lean manufacturing. Lean manufacturing is not a method; it is a way of life that transforms your business practices and takes your firm to a new level of operations. Gain insights from renowned organizations' lean manufacturing success stories to help you become a part of the lean companies of 2022. FAQ What is the effect of lean manufacturing? Lean is a performance-based, continuous-improvement strategy that removes waste and unnecessary processes from organizational operations. As a result, your company becomes more focused on the results. Is it possible for lean manufacturing to fail? It is conceivable in some circumstances, such as failing to focus on a single system implementation or implementing too many system changes at once and failing to have a sound follow-up system to check that everything is working effectively. Why do certain businesses struggle with lean manufacturing? Most businesses fail to see that lean is a management philosophy, not a set of tools. As a result, most corporate leaders either don't understand or lack the patience and control to implement lean manufacturing. { "@context": "https://schema.org", "@type": "FAQPage", "mainEntity": [{ "@type": "Question", "name": "What is the effect of lean manufacturing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Lean is a performance-based, continuous-improvement strategy that removes waste and unnecessary processes from organizational operations. As a result, your company becomes more focused on the results." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Is it possible for lean manufacturing to fail?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "It is conceivable in some circumstances, such as failing to focus on a single system implementation or implementing too many system changes at once and failing to have a sound follow-up system to check that everything is working effectively." } },{ "@type": "Question", "name": "Why do certain businesses struggle with lean manufacturing?", "acceptedAnswer": { "@type": "Answer", "text": "Most businesses fail to see that lean is a management philosophy, not a set of tools. As a result, most corporate leaders either don't understand or lack the patience and control to implement lean manufacturing." } }] }

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AGV ROI Starts with a Delivery Commitment

Article | January 4, 2022

So much emphasis has been placed on features, advantages, and benefits; too little attention has been paid to delivery dates. The best automation solution on paper means nothing if it cannot be delivered in 2022. Selling the sexy sizzle of new, clever, even remarkable AGVs means nothing if manufacturers and distribution centers cannot take delivery of the product until 2023. Throughout industrial manufacturing and distribution the lead time from many AGV manufacturers is more than a year. That means product ordered in Q1 2022 will not be delivered until the following year. That is an absurd lead time and reflects poor planning and unnecessary supply chain constraints.

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Eliminate 8 Wastes of Lean Manufacturing: Boost Factory Productivity

Article | January 31, 2022

Every industrial facility generates waste in some form or another. However, not all waste has to be physical; some can appear within the processes that occur throughout the manufacturing cycle. It is critical that you adopt strategies that enable you to generate less waste. “Lean is a way of thinking, not a list of things to do.” – Shigeo Shingo, a Japanese Industrial Engineer Lean manufacturing is a method for optimizing and simplifying the way a company operates and interacts with its surroundings on a strategic level. Additionally, it is an efficient method of decreasing and managing existing waste within an organization.In this article, we'll look at the eight types of waste in lean manufacturing and the lean tools that may help reduce them and improve the precision and customer focus of your business operations. How to Eliminate the 8 Types of Waste in Lean Manufacturing Transport Transport is a prominent example of lean manufacturing waste. It may be from machining to welding, or from a factory in China to an assembly line in America. This transportation adds no value to the product, does not alter it, and does not satisfy the customer. Transport waste may cause your firm to lose money rapidly; you must spend on material handling equipment, employees, training, safety precautions, additional space for material transportation, etc. Transportation requires strategic planning and logistical assistance to be lean and optimum. Transportation performance should be monitored routinely using analytical measures and KPIs. For example, Toyota's Toyota Production System (TPS) has developed the tools and practices of Lean Manufacturing, and many of its suppliers are located near to their factories, which helps them reduce the transportation waste of their business. To start applying lean thinking to transportation management, you must first understand transportation expenses, which are divided into unit and productivity costs. Focus on long-term solutions that reduce overall mileage, trailer use, waiting times, and adherence to routing guides. Value stream mapping can help locate transportation waste. With value stream mapping, processes are documented and evaluated in terms of customer value. Any transportation that cannot be connected to value is reduced or eliminated. Inventory One of the main benefits of current Point of Sales (POS) and production technologies is that companies may produce things only when there is demand. Inventory waste is no longer an unavoidable issue. When this type of lean manufacturing waste occurs, it is usually the result of excessive production or a process breakdown. Order management and inventory monitoring solutions assist in decreasing inventory waste. Creating real-time inventory visibility and accuracy requires the use of a computer-based system, such as ERP software. Additionally, it has been demonstrated that scanning barcodes significantly reduces errors associated with manual procedures. This type of solution offers a far more detailed and fast inventory tracking strategy. Moreover, an active cycle counting program is critical for a manufacturing company's inventory management to improve. Movement/ Motion Movement/motion waste is the unnecessary transport of objects. Motion waste, on the other hand, also refers to unnecessary human actions or movements. Motion waste is commonly caused by unoccupied or untidy workspaces. To address motion waste, lean practitioners invented the 5S method. It decreases workplace inefficiency and motion waste. Each of the five steps in the 5S technique begins with the letter S, which are: Sort: Removing unnecessary material from each work area. Set in Order: Set the goal of creating efficient work areas for each individual. Shine: Maintaining a clean work area after each shift helps in identifying and resolving minor concerns. Standardize: Documenting changes to make applications in other work areas more accessible. Sustain: Repeat each stage for continuous improvement. Waiting Waiting time occurs when two interrelated processes are out of sync. This may include waiting for parts, instructions, labor, or repairs. Total Productive Maintenance (TPM) is a comprehensive approach that helps to eliminate waiting by reducing equipment downtime. It emphasizes empowering operators by assisting them in maintaining their own equipment. This method promotes shared accountability and increases the involvement of frontline workers. Over-production Overproduction happens when there is a surplus of goods produced. Overproduction is a major source of waste in the 8 wastes examples of lean. It is costly, reduces quality, and generates other wastes such as inventory and transportation. Kanban is another lean manufacturing approach designed to decrease overproduction waste. Kanban is a Japanese word that means “visual board”. As the name suggests, this approach initiates action based on visual clues. It is a "pull" method that addresses demand rather than anticipating it. Additional inventory is generated only when existing inventory is "pulled" from stock. Over-processing When simple processes are replaced by complex ones, this is known as over-processing. Excessive processing might entail the addition of features to products that buyers do not require. The employment of expensive equipment that isn't strictly necessary is another example of excessive processing. Value stream mapping may be quite beneficial for locating instances of excessive processing. It assists manufacturers in developing a sound action plan to leverage their available resources while also ensuring that materials and time are spent efficiently. Defects Defects in manufactured products are expensive to repair since the damaged product must be scrapped or re-made, interrupting the manufacturing process. Lean manufacturing approaches strive for a zero-defect output by recording problems, determining their causes, and adopting corrective action. There are several strategies for identifying and eliminating defect wastes; nevertheless, lean manufacturing seeks to prevent them from developing in the first place. This defect prevention is accomplished through a variety of techniques ranging from automation / Jidoka (machines with "human" intelligence that can detect when a non-standard event has occurred) to Pokayoke devices that detect if a product is defective, either preventing the process from running or highlighting the defect for action. 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Inappropriate task assignments are one typical source of talent waste. Additionally, unnecessary administrative chores, poor communication, ineffective leadership or teamwork, and inadequate training are further untapped talent lean wastes examples. The greatest method to reduce talent waste is to empower employees rather than micromanage them. Many unseen abilities and talents emerge when employees feel empowered, making it simpler to identify and develop accessible talent. Following are a few ideas that can be adapted to any workplace: Refine training programs. Set up process management checklists that allow for flexibility. Create remote monitoring systems to reduce micromanagement. Hold frequent team meetings so they may express their views and ask questions. How Did Nike Benefit from Lean Manufacturing? According to the company's FY10/11 Sustainable Business Performance Summary, the supply chain has run more effectively after adopting a lean strategy. They termed it "better manufacturing" as it eliminated wasted resources and time. As part of its sustainability mission, the study noted, the corporation attempted to remove waste, wasted time, and materials from its processes. According to the survey, Failure rates were 50% lower in contracted factories that used the lean strategy than in companies that did not. It was shown that lead times for deliveries from lean manufacturing were on average 40% shorter. Lean factories have also claimed gains in productivity of 10% to 20% and a 30% decrease in the time required for launching a new model. Final Words We've discussed the lean strategies to deal with the eight forms of waste in manufacturing. Identifying the lean manufacturing types of waste is critical for evaluating business loopholes and overcoming impediments to company growth. Despite the industry’s transition journey from 1.0 to 4.0, many manufacturing professionals agree that lean manufacturing is still applicable today for running a business with the least amount of resources necessary to thrive. It is ideal for businesses looking to stay ahead of emerging industry trends, such as new technology and associated workforce shifts. By using Lean concepts, technologies, and digital operations, businesses may increase their agility and customer focus. FAQ How is lean different from Six Sigma? Lean aims to reduce waste, speed up operations, and improve flow. Six Sigma lowers variation and lean decreases waste. Six Sigma targets 3.4 defects per million opportunities, whereas lean emphasizes speed. What are the five principles of lean manufacturing? According to Womack and Jones, there are five key lean principles: value, value stream, flow, pull, and perfection. What is the objective of lean manufacturing? Companies looking for ways to enhance efficiency and reduce waste should adopt lean thinking. The ultimate objective of lean manufacturing is to manufacture excellent goods that satisfy customers while using minimal resources.

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How to Boost Your Manufacturing Sales: 5 Ideas to Consider by C-level Execs

Article | April 29, 2022

Manufacturing sales occur when a manufacturer sells their finished goods, which are produced from raw materials or components. At the very least, that was an apt definition before industry 4.0, digitization, and consumerization. Manufacturing sales nowadays must accomplish a great deal more. Smart manufacturing technologies accelerate innovation across all verticals, and manufacturers are making every effort to meet B2C expectations. In this article, we'll look at five great ways to enhance manufacturing sales, so that manufacturers may get back on track with stalled sales deals. 5 Tips to Boost Your Manufacturing Sales Develop an ‘inbound' Sales Mindset Most salespeople have a reputation for being pushy. How frequently have you felt compelled to acquire something that wasn't appealing to you? If you answered yes, you've probably dealt with an outbound salesperson who was pushy, interruptive, and purely focused on selling. 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Make an Online Interactive Product Catalog Having a PDF download of your product catalog is insufficient in today's digital age. Businesses want a catalog of products that customers can search for, explore, and analyze online. Products should not be merely posted on a page, but should be integrated into a true product database, allowing for the electronic distribution of particular product listings to prospective buyers via a link or social media. This shortens the sales cycle and provides better support for your sales team as they present products. Demonstrations of products via video would be an extra bonus for any business transaction. Final Word Manufacturing sales are influenced and shaped by market conditions, industry-specific variables, manufacturing type, and distribution mix. Manufacturers may respond to these problems and develop agile and sustainable sales strategies for the future by leveraging digital sales solutions and industry 4.0 technologies. Manufacturers can retain margins, increase customer happiness, and most crucially, grow revenue through digital manufacturing sales. A customer-centric approach prepares producers for the future of a commercialized B2B market. FAQ What are manufacturing sales? Manufacturing sales are intended to provide raw materials that can be turned into finished products to meet market demand. What are direct sales? Direct sales do not involve any intermediaries. Manufacturers or producers sell directly to B2B customers. It's a good cost-cutting strategy because the producer retains complete control over marketing, sales, and shipping. What are indirect sales? Indirect sales allow manufacturers to quickly expand their sales networks, increase brand recognition, outsource sales operations costs, and reach new consumer groups or market sectors.

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Spotlight

PPG Industries

We work every day to develop and deliver the paints, coatings and materials that our customers have trusted for more than 135 years. Through dedication and creativity, we solve our customers’ biggest challenges, collaborating closely to find the right path forward. With headquarters in Pittsburgh, we operate and innovate in more than 70 countries and reported net sales of $15.4 billion in 2018. We serve customers in construction, consumer products, industrial and transportation markets and aftermarkets.

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HWAFUNE Breaks Through Textile Difficulties with Porlite by Creating New Trends in Functional Fabrics

HWAFUNE | June 28, 2022

When mentioning Taiwan's traditional manufacturing, what pops into your head may be the textile industry. As a global hub for textile manufacturing, Taiwan has undergone significant changes over the past 30 years. Two of the most important changes are the relocation of industries to China and the government's New Southbound Policy. While Taiwanese textile manufacturers' decision to relocate is mainly driven by the need to reduce costs using cheap overseas labor, the rising labor costs in Southeast Asia have forced the manufacturers to constantly move their production to other regions, turning them into textile industry nomads. Despite these two relocation trends, HWAFUNE Textile which specializes in manufacturing functional fabrics has insisted on keeping production in Taiwan to provide reliable, high-quality products for esteemed customers. Instead of blindly pursing low costs and low prices through contract manufacturing and ending up in the red ocean, HWAFUNE Textile has strengthened the foothold of the Taiwanese textile industry in the global luxury market. One of the hot topics in the functional apparel market in recent years is the European Union's ban on fabrics containing PTFE. Currently, membranes made of PU, TPU, and PTFE account for the majority of functional apparels. With superior moisture permeability and breathability, PTFE has been adopted more widely than the other two materials. However, when heated to high temperatures during the manufacturing process, PTFE will generate PFOA which is classified as a possible human carcinogen. In addition, greenhouse gas is produced when fabrics containing this material are incinerated. Even if the fabrics are buried in landfills, PFOA will not decompose and will be washed into the ocean by rain. It then gets into the atmosphere via evaporation and is transported to everywhere by airflow or rain. PFOA has even been found in polar bears' livers. Considering the potential impact of the EU's ban on the clothing market and consumers' fear of toxic substances, upmarket brands have been looking for alternative functional fabrics. Therefore, HWAFUNE has joined hands with Phoenix Innovative Materials to develop the functional fabric brand Porlite, which has rapidly won the heart of high-end functional apparel brands. "In Light of Future Trends, HWAFUNE Develops Porlite Fabrics with Phoenix Innovative Materialsto take interest in PP membranes five years ago. Although HWAFUNE has the ability to mass produce fabrics featuring PTFE, PU, and TPU membranes, he believes PP membranes will become a trend in the functional apparel industry since the lifecycle of the material, from the production of the membrane and the manufacturing of the fabrics to the disposal of the clothing, is more in line with increased environmental awareness, I can guarantee that Porlite is capable of replacing existing functional fabrics and can fully address high-end brands' product development requirements" -Jackson Chang,ChairmanHWAFUNE. Turning the ambitious vision into reality is not easy. In the past three years, these two companies worked closely on the manufacturing, testing, and modification of the membrane. Besides functionality, HWAFUNE also considered the needs of consumers during testing, such as waterproof, moisture permeability, and even the appearances of the fabrics after washing. The reason that Chairman Chang is so committed is because he has put himself in consumers' shoes in the first place. He thinks environmental protection, safety, non-toxicity, and practicability should be combined perfectly. Product developers should not need to choose between them, nor should they force consumers to compromise on environmental protection, price, or quality. Dr. Chang, who is responsible for technology development at Phoenix Innovative Materials, explains the three major advantages of Porlite which is produced through non-toxic manufacturing processes in Taiwan. Firstly, there are 10 billion pores arranged in an orderly manner on the membrane. As the pores are smaller than water molecules and bigger than air molecules, the fabric can resist water penetration, even under pressure, while maintaining breathability. 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Both the PP membrane developed by Phoenix Innovative Materials and the Porlite fabric created by HWAFUNE are manufactured in Taiwan. Thanks to their insistence on domestic production, the companies have established a high-tech brand image for Taiwanese textile companies widely recognized by overseas esteemed customers. These are valuable experiences for both Phoenix Innovative Materials and HWAFUNE. Instead of pursuing short-term profits through contract manufacturing services, Chairman Chang and Dr. Chang spent five years developing the Porlite fabric whose overwhelming advantages for environmental protection and functionality have spoken for itself. The goal is to establish bio-based manufacturing processes by using natural materials such as weeds as raw materials and to provide biodegradable products in 10 years.

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Time Manufacturing Company Acquires France Elévateur

France Elévateur | June 28, 2022

H.I.G. Capital ("H.I.G."), a leading global alternative investment firm with over $49 billion of equity capital under management, is pleased to announce that its portfolio company, Time Manufacturing Holdings, LLC (“Time Manufacturing” or the “Company”), a leading, global provider of vehicle-mounted aerial lifts, has acquired France Elévateur (“FE Group”). The pairing of the two companies, who share a mutual dedication to quality and safety, strengthens the combined platform’s global manufacturing capabilities while enhancing value to customers through a broader portfolio of complementary products and services. Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Flavigny, France, France Elévateur is a leading manufacturer of vehicle-mounted aerial platforms for customers in various trades including public lighting, electric utility, roofing, telecommunications, rail networks, and other fields requiring access solutions. Through its two manufacturing sites in France and Spain and its footprint of 15 service facilities, France Elévateur provides quality machinery and comprehensive after-market services across Europe. “The France Elévateur acquisition represents a meaningful step forward in our global growth plan by adding more than 450 experienced professionals, a world-class regional product line, and over a dozen facilities across France, Belgium, and Spain. Leveraging our existing reach in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Switzerland, The FE Group improves our reach in the important national markets of Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Eastern France and Spain.” -Curt Howell, Chief Executive Officer of Time Manufacturing Company. “Together, Time Manufacturing and France Elévateur can leverage their combined portfolio of vehicle-mounted access products to bring additional solutions to all customers.” -Charles Goffin, Chief Executive Officer of France Elévateur. France Elévateur is a highly complementary addition that brings further diversification to Time Manufacturing’s suite of aerial lifts, and strengthens the Company’s global leadership position, said Tenno Tsai, Head of North American Industrials at H.I.G. Klaas Reineke, Managing Director at H.I.G., added, We are thrilled to continue supporting management and the Company in their efforts to enhance our European operations, particularly in the utility and telecommunications end markets. About Time Manufacturing Company- Time Manufacturing Company is a global manufacturer of bucket trucks, digger derricks, cable placers, truck bodies, buckets, and other specialty equipment for electric utility, telecommunications infrastructure, bridge inspection, tree care, and other fleet-supported industries. Selling via the Versalift, BrandFX, Aspen Aerials, Ruthmann, Steiger, Ecoline and Bluelift brands, the Company employs more than 2,000 associates worldwide. For more information, visit https://timemfg.com. About France Elévateur- France Elévateur is a leading manufacturer of vehicle-mounted aerial platforms for customers in various trades including public lighting, electric utility lines, roofing, telecommunications networks, rail networks, equipment rental, and other fields requiring access solutions. Through its two manufacturing sites in France and Spain and its footprint of 15 service facilities, France Elévateur provides quality machinery and after-sales services across Europe. For more information, visit https://france-elevateur.fr. About H.I.G. Capital- H.I.G. is a leading global alternative assets investment firm with over $49 billion of equity capital under management.* Based in Miami, and with offices in New York, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Atlanta in the U.S., as well as international affiliate offices in London, Hamburg, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Bogotá, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, H.I.G. specializes in providing both debt and equity capital to small and mid-sized companies, utilizing a flexible and operationally focused/ value-added approach: H.I.G.’s equity funds invest in management buyouts, recapitalizations and corporate carve-outs of both profitable as well as underperforming manufacturing and service businesses. H.I.G.’s debt funds invest in senior, unitranche and junior debt financing to companies across the size spectrum, both on a primary (direct origination) basis, as well as in the secondary markets. H.I.G. is also a leading CLO manager, through its WhiteHorse family of vehicles, and manages a publicly traded BDC, WhiteHorse Finance. H.I.G.’s real estate funds invest in value-added properties, which can benefit from improved asset management practices. H.I.G. Infrastructure focuses on making value-add and core plus investments in the infrastructure sector. Since its founding in 1993, H.I.G. has invested in and managed more than 300 companies worldwide. The firm's current portfolio includes more than 100 companies with combined sales in excess of $30 billion.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Akoustis Signs New DARPA Contract to Advance XBAW Technology

Akoustis Technologies | June 27, 2022

Akoustis Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKTS) (“Akoustis” or the “Company”), an integrated device manufacturer (IDM) of patented bulk acoustic wave (BAW) high-band RF filters for mobile and other wireless applications, announced today that it has entered into a new multi-year, multi-million dollar contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to pursue new materials and device manufacturing methods. As a result of the expected advances, the program could extend the Company’s patented and proprietary XBAW® technology to 18 GHz, opening up significant new commercial and defense applications to Akoustis. Traditional scaling of BAW resonators to X and Ku bands typically results in unacceptably low Q (quality) factors, degraded electromechanical coupling and much lower power capability driven by leaked energy from much smaller resonators. One approach to BAW frequency scaling is simple overtone mode operation which severely degrades electromechanical coupling. In this DARPA program, XBAW® technology utilizes a novel approach to circumvent trade-offs inherent in traditional BAW frequency scaling approaches. Akoustis plans to introduce, at the completion of the program, XBAW® filters and resonators that fully exploit the entire kt2 of the underlying piezoelectric material. “A different frequency scaling approach is required for BAW resonators to operate at higher frequencies above 10GHz, such as X and Ku bands.In this DARPA-funded effort, we intend to introduce a new method of BAW overtone operation that can maintain high Q factor while mitigating the decrease in coupling. Combining our existing, patented XBAW® technology along with the successful mode overtone operation which we plan to develop under this program, we expect to advance the state-of the-art in BAW RF filter technology at lower frequencies for 5G and Wi-Fi—specifically in terms of power handling, Q factor and frequency operation relative to incumbent BAW technologies in the market today.” -Jeff Shealy, founder and CEO of Akoustis Akoustis is actively delivering volume production of its Wi-Fi 6 tandem filter solutions, shipping multiple 5G small cell XBAW® filter solutions, delivering initial designs of its new 5G mobile filter solutions to multiple customers and has entered the market with its new Wi-Fi 6E coexistence XBAW® filter solutions. Given the rapidly growing sales funnel activity as well as ongoing interaction with customers regarding expected ramps in 5G mobile, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E in calendar 2022, the Company is increasing the annual production capacity at its New York fab to approximately 500 million filters per year. About Akoustis Technologies, Inc- Akoustis® is a high-tech BAW RF filter solutions company that is pioneering next-generation materials science and MEMS wafer manufacturing to address the market requirements for improved RF filters - targeting higher bandwidth, higher operating frequencies and higher output power compared to incumbent polycrystalline BAW technology deployed today. The Company utilizes its proprietary and patented XBAW® manufacturing process to produce bulk acoustic wave RF filters for mobile and other wireless markets, which facilitate signal acquisition and accelerate band performance between the antenna and digital back end. Superior performance is driven by the significant advances of poly-crystal, high-purity and single-crystal piezoelectric materials and the resonator-filter process technology which enables optimal trade-offs between critical power, frequency and bandwidth performance specifications. Akoustis plans to service the fast growing multi-billion-dollar RF filter market using its integrated device manufacturer (IDM) business model. The Company owns and operates a 120,000 sq. ft. ISO-9001:2015 registered commercial wafer-manufacturing facility located in Canandaigua, NY, which includes a class 100 / class 1000 cleanroom facility - tooled for 150-mm diameter wafers - for the design, development, fabrication and packaging of RF filters, MEMS and other semiconductor devices. Akoustis Technologies, Inc. is headquartered in the Piedmont technology corridor near Charlotte, North Carolina.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

HWAFUNE Breaks Through Textile Difficulties with Porlite by Creating New Trends in Functional Fabrics

HWAFUNE | June 28, 2022

When mentioning Taiwan's traditional manufacturing, what pops into your head may be the textile industry. As a global hub for textile manufacturing, Taiwan has undergone significant changes over the past 30 years. Two of the most important changes are the relocation of industries to China and the government's New Southbound Policy. While Taiwanese textile manufacturers' decision to relocate is mainly driven by the need to reduce costs using cheap overseas labor, the rising labor costs in Southeast Asia have forced the manufacturers to constantly move their production to other regions, turning them into textile industry nomads. Despite these two relocation trends, HWAFUNE Textile which specializes in manufacturing functional fabrics has insisted on keeping production in Taiwan to provide reliable, high-quality products for esteemed customers. Instead of blindly pursing low costs and low prices through contract manufacturing and ending up in the red ocean, HWAFUNE Textile has strengthened the foothold of the Taiwanese textile industry in the global luxury market. One of the hot topics in the functional apparel market in recent years is the European Union's ban on fabrics containing PTFE. Currently, membranes made of PU, TPU, and PTFE account for the majority of functional apparels. With superior moisture permeability and breathability, PTFE has been adopted more widely than the other two materials. However, when heated to high temperatures during the manufacturing process, PTFE will generate PFOA which is classified as a possible human carcinogen. In addition, greenhouse gas is produced when fabrics containing this material are incinerated. Even if the fabrics are buried in landfills, PFOA will not decompose and will be washed into the ocean by rain. It then gets into the atmosphere via evaporation and is transported to everywhere by airflow or rain. PFOA has even been found in polar bears' livers. Considering the potential impact of the EU's ban on the clothing market and consumers' fear of toxic substances, upmarket brands have been looking for alternative functional fabrics. Therefore, HWAFUNE has joined hands with Phoenix Innovative Materials to develop the functional fabric brand Porlite, which has rapidly won the heart of high-end functional apparel brands. "In Light of Future Trends, HWAFUNE Develops Porlite Fabrics with Phoenix Innovative Materialsto take interest in PP membranes five years ago. Although HWAFUNE has the ability to mass produce fabrics featuring PTFE, PU, and TPU membranes, he believes PP membranes will become a trend in the functional apparel industry since the lifecycle of the material, from the production of the membrane and the manufacturing of the fabrics to the disposal of the clothing, is more in line with increased environmental awareness, I can guarantee that Porlite is capable of replacing existing functional fabrics and can fully address high-end brands' product development requirements" -Jackson Chang,ChairmanHWAFUNE. Turning the ambitious vision into reality is not easy. In the past three years, these two companies worked closely on the manufacturing, testing, and modification of the membrane. Besides functionality, HWAFUNE also considered the needs of consumers during testing, such as waterproof, moisture permeability, and even the appearances of the fabrics after washing. The reason that Chairman Chang is so committed is because he has put himself in consumers' shoes in the first place. He thinks environmental protection, safety, non-toxicity, and practicability should be combined perfectly. Product developers should not need to choose between them, nor should they force consumers to compromise on environmental protection, price, or quality. Dr. Chang, who is responsible for technology development at Phoenix Innovative Materials, explains the three major advantages of Porlite which is produced through non-toxic manufacturing processes in Taiwan. Firstly, there are 10 billion pores arranged in an orderly manner on the membrane. As the pores are smaller than water molecules and bigger than air molecules, the fabric can resist water penetration, even under pressure, while maintaining breathability. Moreover, since most outdoor exercises are relatively intense and will create a lot of sweat during the process, Porlite can also transport moisture from the clothing to the atmosphere by diffusion through the membrane, thus providing moisture permeability and breathability that no other functional apparel on market can achieve. Porlite Captures Top Brands' Heart with Non-Toxic Manufacturing, Sustainability, Fastness to Washing, and Moisture Permeability In line with the HWAFUNE's commitment to sustainability, the Durable Water Repellent (DWR) for Porlite can endure at least 30 laundering cycles and rain-resistant for period of time, thus providing a longer life span. Manufacturing in Taiwan is one of the main reasons that Porlite has won favor with Europe-based tier-one sportswear brands. The high quality enables Porlite to stand out from other competitors and meet customers' needs for upscale and reliable products. Both the PP membrane developed by Phoenix Innovative Materials and the Porlite fabric created by HWAFUNE are manufactured in Taiwan. Thanks to their insistence on domestic production, the companies have established a high-tech brand image for Taiwanese textile companies widely recognized by overseas esteemed customers. These are valuable experiences for both Phoenix Innovative Materials and HWAFUNE. Instead of pursuing short-term profits through contract manufacturing services, Chairman Chang and Dr. Chang spent five years developing the Porlite fabric whose overwhelming advantages for environmental protection and functionality have spoken for itself. The goal is to establish bio-based manufacturing processes by using natural materials such as weeds as raw materials and to provide biodegradable products in 10 years.

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Time Manufacturing Company Acquires France Elévateur

France Elévateur | June 28, 2022

H.I.G. Capital ("H.I.G."), a leading global alternative investment firm with over $49 billion of equity capital under management, is pleased to announce that its portfolio company, Time Manufacturing Holdings, LLC (“Time Manufacturing” or the “Company”), a leading, global provider of vehicle-mounted aerial lifts, has acquired France Elévateur (“FE Group”). The pairing of the two companies, who share a mutual dedication to quality and safety, strengthens the combined platform’s global manufacturing capabilities while enhancing value to customers through a broader portfolio of complementary products and services. Founded in 1984 and headquartered in Flavigny, France, France Elévateur is a leading manufacturer of vehicle-mounted aerial platforms for customers in various trades including public lighting, electric utility, roofing, telecommunications, rail networks, and other fields requiring access solutions. Through its two manufacturing sites in France and Spain and its footprint of 15 service facilities, France Elévateur provides quality machinery and comprehensive after-market services across Europe. “The France Elévateur acquisition represents a meaningful step forward in our global growth plan by adding more than 450 experienced professionals, a world-class regional product line, and over a dozen facilities across France, Belgium, and Spain. Leveraging our existing reach in Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, and Switzerland, The FE Group improves our reach in the important national markets of Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Ireland, Eastern France and Spain.” -Curt Howell, Chief Executive Officer of Time Manufacturing Company. “Together, Time Manufacturing and France Elévateur can leverage their combined portfolio of vehicle-mounted access products to bring additional solutions to all customers.” -Charles Goffin, Chief Executive Officer of France Elévateur. France Elévateur is a highly complementary addition that brings further diversification to Time Manufacturing’s suite of aerial lifts, and strengthens the Company’s global leadership position, said Tenno Tsai, Head of North American Industrials at H.I.G. Klaas Reineke, Managing Director at H.I.G., added, We are thrilled to continue supporting management and the Company in their efforts to enhance our European operations, particularly in the utility and telecommunications end markets. About Time Manufacturing Company- Time Manufacturing Company is a global manufacturer of bucket trucks, digger derricks, cable placers, truck bodies, buckets, and other specialty equipment for electric utility, telecommunications infrastructure, bridge inspection, tree care, and other fleet-supported industries. Selling via the Versalift, BrandFX, Aspen Aerials, Ruthmann, Steiger, Ecoline and Bluelift brands, the Company employs more than 2,000 associates worldwide. For more information, visit https://timemfg.com. About France Elévateur- France Elévateur is a leading manufacturer of vehicle-mounted aerial platforms for customers in various trades including public lighting, electric utility lines, roofing, telecommunications networks, rail networks, equipment rental, and other fields requiring access solutions. Through its two manufacturing sites in France and Spain and its footprint of 15 service facilities, France Elévateur provides quality machinery and after-sales services across Europe. For more information, visit https://france-elevateur.fr. About H.I.G. Capital- H.I.G. is a leading global alternative assets investment firm with over $49 billion of equity capital under management.* Based in Miami, and with offices in New York, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Atlanta in the U.S., as well as international affiliate offices in London, Hamburg, Madrid, Milan, Paris, Bogotá, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, H.I.G. specializes in providing both debt and equity capital to small and mid-sized companies, utilizing a flexible and operationally focused/ value-added approach: H.I.G.’s equity funds invest in management buyouts, recapitalizations and corporate carve-outs of both profitable as well as underperforming manufacturing and service businesses. H.I.G.’s debt funds invest in senior, unitranche and junior debt financing to companies across the size spectrum, both on a primary (direct origination) basis, as well as in the secondary markets. H.I.G. is also a leading CLO manager, through its WhiteHorse family of vehicles, and manages a publicly traded BDC, WhiteHorse Finance. H.I.G.’s real estate funds invest in value-added properties, which can benefit from improved asset management practices. H.I.G. Infrastructure focuses on making value-add and core plus investments in the infrastructure sector. Since its founding in 1993, H.I.G. has invested in and managed more than 300 companies worldwide. The firm's current portfolio includes more than 100 companies with combined sales in excess of $30 billion.

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Akoustis Signs New DARPA Contract to Advance XBAW Technology

Akoustis Technologies | June 27, 2022

Akoustis Technologies, Inc. (NASDAQ: AKTS) (“Akoustis” or the “Company”), an integrated device manufacturer (IDM) of patented bulk acoustic wave (BAW) high-band RF filters for mobile and other wireless applications, announced today that it has entered into a new multi-year, multi-million dollar contract from the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to pursue new materials and device manufacturing methods. As a result of the expected advances, the program could extend the Company’s patented and proprietary XBAW® technology to 18 GHz, opening up significant new commercial and defense applications to Akoustis. Traditional scaling of BAW resonators to X and Ku bands typically results in unacceptably low Q (quality) factors, degraded electromechanical coupling and much lower power capability driven by leaked energy from much smaller resonators. One approach to BAW frequency scaling is simple overtone mode operation which severely degrades electromechanical coupling. In this DARPA program, XBAW® technology utilizes a novel approach to circumvent trade-offs inherent in traditional BAW frequency scaling approaches. Akoustis plans to introduce, at the completion of the program, XBAW® filters and resonators that fully exploit the entire kt2 of the underlying piezoelectric material. “A different frequency scaling approach is required for BAW resonators to operate at higher frequencies above 10GHz, such as X and Ku bands.In this DARPA-funded effort, we intend to introduce a new method of BAW overtone operation that can maintain high Q factor while mitigating the decrease in coupling. Combining our existing, patented XBAW® technology along with the successful mode overtone operation which we plan to develop under this program, we expect to advance the state-of the-art in BAW RF filter technology at lower frequencies for 5G and Wi-Fi—specifically in terms of power handling, Q factor and frequency operation relative to incumbent BAW technologies in the market today.” -Jeff Shealy, founder and CEO of Akoustis Akoustis is actively delivering volume production of its Wi-Fi 6 tandem filter solutions, shipping multiple 5G small cell XBAW® filter solutions, delivering initial designs of its new 5G mobile filter solutions to multiple customers and has entered the market with its new Wi-Fi 6E coexistence XBAW® filter solutions. Given the rapidly growing sales funnel activity as well as ongoing interaction with customers regarding expected ramps in 5G mobile, Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E in calendar 2022, the Company is increasing the annual production capacity at its New York fab to approximately 500 million filters per year. About Akoustis Technologies, Inc- Akoustis® is a high-tech BAW RF filter solutions company that is pioneering next-generation materials science and MEMS wafer manufacturing to address the market requirements for improved RF filters - targeting higher bandwidth, higher operating frequencies and higher output power compared to incumbent polycrystalline BAW technology deployed today. The Company utilizes its proprietary and patented XBAW® manufacturing process to produce bulk acoustic wave RF filters for mobile and other wireless markets, which facilitate signal acquisition and accelerate band performance between the antenna and digital back end. Superior performance is driven by the significant advances of poly-crystal, high-purity and single-crystal piezoelectric materials and the resonator-filter process technology which enables optimal trade-offs between critical power, frequency and bandwidth performance specifications. Akoustis plans to service the fast growing multi-billion-dollar RF filter market using its integrated device manufacturer (IDM) business model. The Company owns and operates a 120,000 sq. ft. ISO-9001:2015 registered commercial wafer-manufacturing facility located in Canandaigua, NY, which includes a class 100 / class 1000 cleanroom facility - tooled for 150-mm diameter wafers - for the design, development, fabrication and packaging of RF filters, MEMS and other semiconductor devices. Akoustis Technologies, Inc. is headquartered in the Piedmont technology corridor near Charlotte, North Carolina.

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