MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

MicroAI FactoryTM Expands the Use of Edge-Native AI in Manufacturing for Real-Time Analysis and Increased Equipment Effectiveness

MicroAI FactoryTM | March 04, 2022

MicroAI FactoryTM Expands the
On March 3, MicroAITM, the pioneer in edge-native artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) software, announced MicroAI Factory's General Availability (GA). Edge-native AI is used to get data from existing systems and sensors on the factory floor. This helps improve overall equipment effectiveness (OEE), real-time cycle time analysis, and predictive maintenance.

A MicroAI Factory is a locally deployed industrial computing device that ingests data from programmable logic controllers (PLCs) and sensors linked with machines or humans on a manufacturing or industrial site. It then employs an edge-native AI engine to automatically generate cycle time analyses and behavioral models that provide a wealth of information about how machines and humans operate. Thanks to this modeling, real-time analysis of performance, productivity, and uptime can be done. It can also detect operational irregularities and set up maintenance and alarms based on pre-set thresholds.

"MicroAI Factory improves overall equipment effectiveness for manufacturers by providing a holistic, real-time, cycle-time analysis of operations and providing advanced, early anomaly detection to predict potential failures and performance issues, Ultimately, the MicroAI Factory will transform equipment from human-managed to self-managed."

-Yasser Khan, CEO of MicroAI.

Philippe Cases, CEO of Topio Networks, a leading industry catalyst tracking Industry 4.0 and the hyperconnected world, said: In addition to innovating with AI on the shop floor, MicroAI doesn’t create any additional work to maintain the application on-site, thereby significantly lowering the cost of ownership for predictive maintenance applications." MicroAI is the first hassle-free manufacturing software company. 

A MicroAI Factory is placed at the edge of the factory or industrial facility in a small-form-factor computing appliance coupled to PLCs and sensor systems. The data is processed, analyzed, and stored entirely on-site, removing the concerns about data security and connection reliability that come with cloud computing.

A single point of command and control is given for operation management. Dashboards can be viewed within the facility through a local area network (LAN) or remotely via the internet. Servers can be networked across several sites to share information without revealing sensitive data. MicroAI Factory can be used as a stand-alone solution in a single facility or across many locations that work independently but share insights and keep data integrity at each location.

Spotlight

The world of additive manufacturing is at a crucial point. There have been breakthroughs in printing larger parts. More metals are being developed for use in 3D printers. An additive is becoming part of the game plan of many different manufacturers. At the same time, there have been new challenges as 3D printing becomes more industrialized. Manufacturers are studying where 3D printing fits in with their factories. That includes how 3D printing should be integrated with traditional subtractive manufacturing, where parts are cut and ground.

Spotlight

The world of additive manufacturing is at a crucial point. There have been breakthroughs in printing larger parts. More metals are being developed for use in 3D printers. An additive is becoming part of the game plan of many different manufacturers. At the same time, there have been new challenges as 3D printing becomes more industrialized. Manufacturers are studying where 3D printing fits in with their factories. That includes how 3D printing should be integrated with traditional subtractive manufacturing, where parts are cut and ground.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY,DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION

Cepton Partners with Fabrinet to Deliver Flagship Automotive Lidar Program

Cepton | July 21, 2022

Cepton, Inc. (“Cepton” or the “Company”) (Nasdaq: CPTN), a Silicon Valley innovator and leader in high-performance MMT® lidar solutions, today announced that it has selected Fabrinet (NYSE: FN), a leading provider of advanced precision optical and electronic manufacturing services, for the production of its Vista®-X90 lidar, which will be deployed in the industry’s largest ADAS lidar series production program. Cepton selected Fabrinet for its deep expertise in advanced optical packaging and precision optical, electro-mechanical and electronic manufacturing services for the production of high-performance, proprietary assemblies of its Vista-X90 lidars. Trusted by the world’s most demanding OEMs, Fabrinet is known for its delivery of high-quality complex optical, mechanical and electrical assemblies for optical communications and automotive applications. A strategic move, the partnership furthers Cepton’s goal of making lidar an essential and standard auto part in everyday consumer vehicles. The Vista-X90 lidar features Cepton’s patented MMT (Micro Motion Technology), a highly efficient lidar imaging mechanism that enables long-range and high-resolution 3D imaging through a unique, dense scan pattern. Free of rotation, mirror and friction, MMT was specifically designed to address the need of the automotive industry for scalable lidar solutions that achieve the right balance between performance, reliability and cost. In addition to MMT, Vista-X90 also packages Cepton’s proprietary lidar engine ASICs, designed for optimal illumination control, detection and signal processing. Utilizing Fabrinet’s expertise in high-volume optical and opto-electrical manufacturing, Cepton will be able to deliver high-quality and cost-effective assemblies to ramp up production and achieve scalable growth. “At Cepton, our goal is to be the world’s go-to supplier of automotive lidar solutions, and working with an OEM-trusted and validated manufacturing partner is a crucial part of that effort, Fabrinet has earned a strong reputation within the automotive industry with its excellent service and precision-manufacturing expertise. We are excited to work with Fabrinet to accelerate the production of our Vista-X90 lidar, as the partnership is a crucial step towards getting our lidars into an unprecedented volume of automobiles through our flagship ADAS lidar program.” -Dr. Jun Pei, Co-founder and CEO of Cepton. We are excited that Cepton has chosen Fabrinet to manufacture their flagship lidar program, said Seamus Grady, CEO at Fabrinet. With our advanced manufacturing capabilities and significant expertise, Fabrinet is well-positioned to support Cepton in ramping production of their ADAS lidar program. We look forward to our continued partnership with Cepton in pursuit of their long-term ambitions. About Cepton, Inc: Cepton is a Silicon Valley innovator of lidar-based solutions for automotive (ADAS/AV), smart cities, smart spaces and smart industrial applications. With its patented Micro Motion Technology (MMT®), Cepton aims to take lidar mainstream and achieve a balanced approach to performance, cost and reliability, while enabling scalable and intelligent 3D perception solutions across industries. Cepton has been awarded the largest known ADAS lidar series production award in the industry to date, based on the number of vehicle models awarded, to support General Motors’ Ultra Cruise program. Cepton is also engaged with all other Top 10 global OEMs. Founded in 2016 and led by industry veterans with decades of collective experience across a wide range of advanced lidar and imaging technologies, Cepton is focused on the mass market commercialization of high performance, high quality lidar solutions. Cepton is headquartered in San Jose, CA and has a center of excellence facility in Troy, MI to provide local support to automotive customers in the Metro Detroit area. Cepton also has a presence in Germany, Canada, Japan, India and China to serve a fast-growing global customer base. About Fabrinet: Fabrinet is a leading provider of advanced optical packaging and precision optical, electro-mechanical, and electronic manufacturing services to original equipment manufacturers of complex products, such as optical communication components, modules and subsystems, automotive components, medical devices, industrial lasers and sensors. Fabrinet offers a broad range of advanced optical and electro-mechanical capabilities across the entire manufacturing process, including process design and engineering, supply chain management, manufacturing, advanced packaging, integration, final assembly and testing. Fabrinet focuses on production of high complexity products in any mix and any volume. Fabrinet maintains engineering and manufacturing resources and facilities in Thailand, the United States of America, the People’s Republic of China, Israel and the United Kingdom.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

AHF Products to Purchase Certain Assets of Armstrong Flooring, including Certain U.S. Manufacturing Facilities

AHF Products | July 14, 2022

AHF Products announced today that it has received bankruptcy court approval to purchase certain assets of Armstrong Flooring, Inc., strengthening AHF Products' leadership position in resilient flooring solutions and adding another gear to its expanding commercial market business. The purchase includes the purchase and operation of three U.S. manufacturing facilities, in Lancaster and Beech Creek, PA and in Kankakee, IL. "Our investments in new brands, products and capabilities, both organically and through acquisitions, has fueled our growth. Our strategic acquisitions have been a key driver in expanding both our reach and product offering to provide our customers with industry-leading commercial and residential products, including hardwood, resilient and laminate. That is, and will continue to be, our strategy moving forward, Our ongoing commitment is to create products that bring more value to our customers, across categories. Our stable of top brands allows us to bring our channel partners the right style, value, innovation and marketing to enable them to differentiate themselves and grow market share. We will continue to be a leader and a one-stop-shop for our customers." -Brian Carson, President and CEO, AHF Products. Since its inception, AHF Products has grown rapidly in both the residential and commercial flooring segments by innovating and broadening its product offerings through its world class brands, manufacturing capabilities and channels of distribution. AHF Products continues to invest in U.S. manufacturing and this purchase expands AHF Products' domestic footprint, enhancing the company's customer base, production efficiencies and logistical capabilities. Ten U.S. facilities mean sustaining American manufacturing jobs and boosting local economies. Further, the company's domestic production capacity provides insulation from volatility around tariffs, duties and high shipping costs, which positions AHF Products to continue providing superior customer service given the dislocated global supply chain. AHF Products is well situated to continue its remarkable growth trajectory through continued innovation and industry-leading customer service. Headquartered in Mountville, Pa., AHF Products is a leader in hardwood, vinyl plank, laminate and commercial products. After acquiring the Armstrong assets, the company will operate 11 manufacturing facilities – seven wood plants and three vinyl facilities in the U.S., and one engineered hardwood plant in Cambodia. Three domestic distribution facilities serve customers through a multi-channel strategy that includes dealers, home centers and distributors. About AHF Products- AHF Products is a leading hardwood flooring manufacturer in the USA with a family of trusted brands serving the residential and commercial hardwood and vinyl flooring markets. With decades of experience in award-winning wood flooring design, product development, manufacturing and service, we create quality flooring to last for generations through inspiring designs, product innovation and a deep commitment to outstanding customer service. Our residential flooring brands include Bruce®, Hartco®, Robbins®, LM Flooring®, Capella®, HomerWood®, Hearthwood®, Raintree®, Autograph™, Emily Morrow Home™ and tmbr®. Our commercial brands include Bruce Contract™, Hartco Contract™, AHF Contract™ and Parterre®. Headquartered in Mountville, Pennsylvania, with manufacturing operations across the United States and in Cambodia, AHF Products employs over 2,600 dedicated team members

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Chase Corporation Acquires NuCera Solutions

NuCera Solutions | July 19, 2022

Chase Corporation (NYSE American: CCF), a leading global manufacturer of protective materials for high-reliability applications across diverse market sectors, today announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire NuCera Solutions, (“NuCera” or the “Company”) from SK Capital (a private equity firm headquartered in New York). NuCera is a recognized global leader in the production and development of highly differentiated specialty polymers and polymerization technologies serving demanding applications, offering products critical to enabling end-product functionality, performance and reliability. NuCera is headquartered in Houston, Texas with its primary production facility based in Barnsdall, Oklahoma and additional international sales offices in France and Singapore. The Company employs approximately 130 people globally. For the trailing 12-month period ended April 30, 2022, the Company recognized an estimated revenue of $83 million with Adjusted EBITDA1 margins exceeding 25%. NuCera will be acquired for a purchase price of $250 million, pending any working capital adjustments and excluding acquisition-related costs. The purchase will be funded by utilizing Chase’s existing revolving credit facility and available cash on hand. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the third calendar quarter of 2022, subject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. Chase expects this acquisition to be accretive to earnings within the first year of ownership. Chase will be modestly levered (~1.2x pro-forma net leverage) post acquisition and maintains ongoing financial flexibility. “The acquisition of NuCera is transformational in advancing Chase’s strategic growth priorities. NuCera is a recognized leader in developing and manufacturing specialty polymers and polymerization technologies that serve demanding applications globally. The Company’s strong market position, North American manufacturing footprint and captive synthesis capabilities will allow us to gain additional scale and expand our presence across multiple new high-growth end markets, while maintaining both a strong balance sheet and financial flexibility. NuCera’s culture and technology driven growth oriented mindset closely align with those of Chase, and we are excited to welcome the NuCera team and their highly differentiated products to Chase Corporation and its customers.” -Adam P. Chase, President and Chief Executive Officer of Chase Corporation. Steven McKeown, Chief Executive Officer of NuCera, commented, After a notable period of growth, we are very excited to join the Chase family which offers a strong cultural and strategic alignment to our business. Our portfolio of innovative, high-performance products is well aligned with Chase’s core philosophy of making a material difference. On behalf of everyone at NuCera, we greatly look forward to beginning our journey with the Chase team. Mario Toukan, Managing Director of SK Capital, commented, It has been a pleasure to support the development and growth of NuCera. SK invested heavily in NuCera’s people, capabilities and facilities, establishing a leading platform of technology-oriented, specialty polymers. We believe NuCera is well-positioned to continue its growth under Chase Corporation’s ownership and we wish them continued success. The acquisition of NuCera drives Chase’s proven core growth strategy and is an attractive step in the continued transformation of Chase. NuCera will expand Chase’s global reach into new blue-chip customers and attractive high-growth end markets such as personal care, polymer additives, coatings, diversified consumer products and masterbatches. In addition, Chase expects to have meaningful long-term synergy opportunities. Chase will continue to market under NuCera brands and the business will be integrated into Chase’s Adhesives, Sealants and Additives reporting unit. About NuCera Solutions- With an 85-year history of innovative chemistry, NuCera is a global leader in the development and manufacture of highly differentiated specialty polymers for markets that require high quality and performance: Adhesives, Coatings, Imaging, Masterbatches, Personal Care, Plastics and other consumer applications. NuCera supplies performance chemistry to global markets from its highly flexible manufacturing facilities in Barnsdall, OK which are supported by R&D and applications laboratories as well as pilot plant facilities. About Chase Corporation- Chase Corporation, a global specialty chemicals company that was founded in 1946, is a leading manufacturer of protective materials for high-reliability applications throughout the world.

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