Calling Africa: Why the Forgotten Continent Can Be the Next Global Factory

IndustryWeek | February 28, 2020

Over the past two decades, low-cost manufacturing has transformed China and a group of other developing countries including Thailand and Vietnam. Manufacturing now makes up around 40% of China’s GDP, 26% of Thailand’s and 16% of Vietnam’s, playing a vital role in reducing poverty, expanding the middle class and fueling consumption. Now, it’s Africa’s turn. That will sound unlikely to the many people who see Africa as synonymous with extreme poverty, conflict and instability. But anyone who understands the nuances of the vast continent knows that African countries are well placed to grab a bigger share of global manufacturing in the coming years. It’s a crucial strategy if they are to move up the value chain from the grueling and poorly paid jobs in resource industries and agriculture that have traditionally dominated African economies.

Spotlight

The powder is injected into the laser beam by an inert gas flow. The energy delivered by the laser is absorbed both by the powder stream and the substrate material. This enables the melting of the in-flight particles and the fusing of the powder onto the substrate surface. A cladding is formed by moving the sample under the laser beam. A uniform layer is obtained by partially overlapping individual clads.  By using an industrial robot, the process could be applied on heavy components.


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ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION

Bosch Announces New Automotive Workshop Franchise in the U.S.

Bosch | February 04, 2022

Bosch, a leading global supplier of technology and services, today announced that it will implement a new Bosch branded, automotive workshop franchise in the U.S. This workshop franchise will create a stronger link between the technical competence of Bosch in the OE sector and the enabling of workshops for future opportunities and challenges. "As the brand of choice for automotive parts, systems, tools and solutions, Bosch is always adapting, With the Bosch branded workshop franchise, we're building a future-proof business model rooted in experience and supported by strategic partnerships." -Enrico Manuele, Regional President Automotive Aftermarket North America. The new workshop franchise, expected to be launched by the end of 2022 will feature: Custom business solutions including dedicated consultants for each workshop's specific needs Technical training through a Bosch cultivated Learning Management System Marketing resources such as Bosch branding, customer acquisition and retention programs and analytics Strategic partnerships to increase value, efficiency and business growth "The current Bosch Car Service program just celebrated 100 years of successful global operations; however, we have identified a critical need to evolve for the technology-driven future. In the U.S., we have decided to transition from the Bosch Car Service concept, towards a new Bosch branded workshop franchise, by the end of 2022. We want to express our sincerest appreciation to our Bosch Car Service network for their support, loyalty and partnership." -Uli Jaschek, Director Workshop Concepts and Strategy More information about the Bosch branded workshop franchise will be released throughout the year. If you have questions about the new workshop franchise from Bosch or Bosch Car Service, please email BoschServWebCust@us.bosch.com About Bosch The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. It employs roughly 394,500 associates worldwide (as of December 31, 2020). According to preliminary figures, the company generated sales of 71.6 billion euros in 2020. Its operations are divided into four business sectors: Mobility Solutions, Industrial Technology, Consumer Goods, and Energy and Building Technology. As a leading IoT provider, Bosch offers innovative solutions for smart homes, Industry 4.0, and connected mobility. Bosch is pursuing a vision of mobility that is sustainable, safe, and exciting. It uses its expertise in sensor technology, software, and services, as well as its own IoT cloud, to offer its customers connected, cross-domain solutions from a single source. The Bosch Group's strategic objective is to facilitate connected living with products and solutions that either contain artificial intelligence (AI) or have been developed or manufactured with its help. Bosch improves quality of life worldwide with products and services that are innovative and spark enthusiasm. In short, Bosch creates technology that is "Invented for life." The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 440 subsidiary and regional companies in 60 countries. Including sales and service partners, Bosch's global manufacturing, engineering, and sales network covers nearly every country in the world. The basis for the company's future growth is its innovative strength. At 126 locations across the globe, Bosch employs some 73,000 associates in research and development, as well as roughly 30,000 software engineers. The company was set up in Stuttgart in 1886 by Robert Bosch (1861-1942) as "Workshop for Precision Mechanics and Electrical Engineering." The special ownership structure of Robert Bosch GmbH guarantees the entrepreneurial freedom of the Bosch Group, making it possible for the company to plan over the long term and to undertake significant upfront investments in the safeguarding of its future. Ninety-four percent of the share capital of Robert Bosch GmbH is held by Robert Bosch Stiftung GmbH, a charitable foundation. The remaining shares are held by the Bosch family, by a corporation owned by the family, and by Robert Bosch GmbH. The majority of voting rights are held by Robert Bosch Industrietreuhand KG, an industrial trust. The entrepreneurial ownership functions are carried out by the trust.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Emerson Provides Advanced Automation Technology for Toyota Australia’s Hydrogen Production and Refueling Plant

Emerson | May 26, 2022

Global software and technology leader Emerson and Toyota Australia have collaborated to transform part of Toyota Australia’s operations into a commercial-grade hydrogen production, storage and refueling plant. The project, supported by the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), adopts Emerson’s automation expertise to provide the control system that helps Toyota Australia demonstrate the technical and economic feasibility of manufacturing hydrogen fuels, including the use of renewable solar energy. As low and zero-emission vehicles capture an ever-greater share of the market, countries around the globe need to expand access to renewable fuels like hydrogen. Sustainable hydrogen projects are challenging because they need to integrate many data sources into one balance-of-plant system, a process that’s critical for a facility’s success. For the Toyota Australia Hydrogen Center, Emerson’s advanced DeltaV™ distributed control system gathers data from the plant’s complex equipment, making it easier to monitor production and storage of hydrogen gas and document and validate the sustainability of operations. “By incorporating a digital automation foundation to eliminate data silos, Toyota Australia can not only significantly reduce costs, but also gain greater visibility into system performance, making it easier to maintain and report sustainability performance and increase productivity, The data foundation Toyota has built will make it faster and easier for like-minded companies to replicate success as hydrogen refueling networks continue to expand across the continent and the globe.” Mark Bulanda, executive president of Emerson’s Automation Solutions business Emerson’s DeltaV systems control operations for optimal production efficiencies and help ensure safe operations. Edge control technology from Emerson’s PACSystems™ will further reduce cost and complexity of integrating third-party systems. Rosemount™ flame detectors will help keep personnel and operations safe. The Toyota Australia team took advantage of pre-existing configuration libraries to reduce setup time. In addition, Emerson’s technologies create a platform to add future remote operations and data analytics more easily and cost effectively. About Emerson Emerson headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), is a global technology and engineering company providing innovative solutions for customers in industrial, commercial and residential markets. Our Automation Solutions business helps process, hybrid and discrete manufacturers maximize production, protect personnel and the environment while optimizing their energy and operating costs. Our Commercial & Residential Solutions business helps ensure human comfort and health, protect food quality and safety, advance energy efficiency and create sustainable infrastructure. For more information visit Emerson.com. About Toyota Toyota Motor Corporation works to develop and manufacture innovative, safe and high-quality products and services that create happiness by providing mobility for all. We believe that true achievement comes from supporting our customers, partners, employees, and the communities in which we operate. Since our founding over 80 years ago in 1937, we have applied our Guiding Principles in pursuit of a safer, greener and more inclusive society. Today, as we transform into a mobility company developing connected, automated, shared and electrified technologies, we also remain true to our Guiding Principles and many of the United Nations' Sustainable Development Goals to help realize an ever-better world, where everyone is free to move. In Australia, Toyota has been the best-selling automotive brand for 25 years, including the past 19 in a row.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

nLIGHT Acquires Process Monitoring Expert plasmo Industrietechnik

nLIGHT | February 14, 2022

nLIGHT, Inc. (Nasdaq: LASR), a leading provider of high-power semiconductor and fiber lasers used in the industrial, microfabrication, aerospace, and defense markets, today announced that it has acquired the assets of plasmo Industrietechnik GmbH (“Plasmo”), an Austrian-based provider of automated quality assurance and diagnostic solutions primarily for the welding and additive manufacturing marketPlasmo’s innovative quality assurance solutions empower customers to implement robust, efficient, and cost-optimized production processes. Plasmo’s products are driven by proprietary machine vision and analysis software that monitor and help automate a wide range of industrial welding and additive manufacturing processes. Complementing nLIGHT's expanding laser portfolio, the acquisition of the Plasmo assets strengthens nLIGHT’s position as a critical enabler of next generation manufacturing solutions in these growth markets. “Plasmo is a technology leader in process monitoring and quality assurance systems for laser-based manufacturing processes, Combining lasers with Plasmo’s real-time process monitoring solutions provide customers with a significant advantage as they develop, qualify and produce increasingly complex laser-printed or welded parts, particularly for high volume electric vehicle production,” -Jake Bell, general manager for industrial lasers. With Plasmo, nLIGHT has expanded its European footprint in support of critical customers and strategic markets. “Our new team members in Germany and Austria are positioned geographically to serve a critical, growing part of the industrial market,” said Mr. Bell. About nLIGHT nLIGHT, Inc. is a leading provider of high-power semiconductor and fiber lasers for industrial, microfabrication, aerospace and defense applications. Our lasers are changing not only the way things are made but also the things that can be made. Headquartered in Camas, Washington, nLIGHT employs over 1,275 people with operations in the U.S., China and Finland. For more information, please visit www.nlight.net.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Nextech AR Launches Shopify Freemium 3D Model Pricing

Nextech AR | April 20, 2022

Nextech AR Solutions Corp. a Metaverse Company and leading provider of augmented reality (“AR”) experience technologies and services announces an update to the Company’s Shopify app, initially launched in January, allowing merchants to create 3D/AR models for their ecommerce site. The Company has released a Freemium model, offering an enticing incentive to ecommerce businesses which is seeing success since its launch. The Company is also planning to integrate this same Freemium pricing with more ecommerce platforms, including BigCommerce, WooCommerce, and Magento, and is targeting Q2 2022 for completion of these integrations. These integrations will collectively place Nextech’s AI-powered 3D/AR model creation solution in front of millions of merchants globally. The livestream will also be archived and available for replay. NEXT SUPER STOCK Live! is Wall Street Reporter’s flagship investor conference series featuring presentations by a select group of companies which are at key inflection points, and at the threshold of explosive growth. Since the launch of Nextech’s 3D/AR modeling self-serve app with Shopify, the Company has quickly expanded its reach to small and medium sized ecommerce websites and is currently in the top 2% or in the 98th percentile of apps downloaded in the 3D modeling category (out of 228). Since the app’s launch in late January, there has been an approximately 44% increase in app installs month over month. Nextech believes the success of the app thus far is due to its affordable pricing, 3D model making scalability, and high quality 3D models. With a frictionless implementation and being the only end-to-end ecommerce app for 3D/AR the company believes that it has a competitive advantage in the 3D model market. ARitize 3D provides Shopify merchants with a frictionless and seamless one click integration for 3D model making and AR visualization. Through Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology, merchants can take their existing 2D product images and turn them into high-quality 3D and Augmented Reality experiences, transforming their Shopify website and helping their brand stand out from competition. When ecommerce sites offer immersive AR shopping experiences, it provides customers with the ability to “try before they buy”, resulting in greater buying confidence. Customers are also able to zoom, rotate and spin 3D product models, and see every product detail from every angle, leading to customers that are more engaged and better informed. This not only benefits the customer, but also provides immense benefits to ecommerce businesses: Shopify data shows that 3D AR can increase conversions up to 94% while reducing returns. The app provides self-serve access to Nextech’s proprietary AI-powered solution for 3D/AR Ecommerce to all businesses who use Shopify to power their ecommerce business. The app makes the adoption of 3D/AR extremely easy, simple and cheap for Shopify merchants as they can subscribe for different plans which suit their needs and manage the app themselves from their merchant Shopify admin. About ARitize 3D ARitize 3D is your one-stop-shop AR solution with automated 3D model creation at an unbeatable price. Our Artificial Intelligence (AI) will turn your existing 2D product images into high-quality 3D and Augmented Reality experiences. It's fast, it's easy and it will transform your Shopify website! 3D content creation is included in monthly hosting fees. Our AI powered platform is a game changer! What can 3D/AR do for you? Increase conversions, reduce product returns, increase customer engagement, and attract more customers. Transform your online store into a dynamic virtual showroom. Allow your customers to see your products from every angle and position them in their own space prior to purchasing, leading to more conversions and less returns. It's an exciting, immersive shopping experience that keeps customers more engaged, better informed and helps your brand stand out from the competition. About Nextech AR Nextech AR Solutions is the engine accelerating the growth of the Metaverse. Using breakthrough AI, Nextech AR is able to quickly, easily and affordably ARitize (transform) vast quantities and varieties of existing assets at scale making products, people and places ready for interactive 3D use, giving creators at every level all the essential tools they need to build out their digital AR vision in the Metaverse. Our platform agnostic tools allow brands, educators, students, manufacturers, creators, and technologists to create immersive, interactive and the most photo-realistic 3D assets and digital environments, compose AR experiences, and publish them omnichannel. With a full suite of end-to-end AR solutions in 3D Commerce, Education, Events, and Industrial Manufacturing, Nextech AR is in a unique position to meet the needs of the world’s biggest brands and all Metaverse contributors. Nextech funds the development of its AR and Metaverse growth initiatives through its e-Commerce platforms, which currently generate most of its revenue. Nextech's e-commerce platforms include: vacuumcleanermarket.com (“VCM”), infinitepetlife.com (“IPL”) and Trulyfesupplements.com (“TruLyfe”). VCM and product sales of residential vacuums, supplies and parts, and small home appliances sold on Amazon. These e-commerce platforms serve as an incubator for developing and testing Nextech's leading edge AR, AI and machine learning applications for powering next-generation e-commerce technology.

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The powder is injected into the laser beam by an inert gas flow. The energy delivered by the laser is absorbed both by the powder stream and the substrate material. This enables the melting of the in-flight particles and the fusing of the powder onto the substrate surface. A cladding is formed by moving the sample under the laser beam. A uniform layer is obtained by partially overlapping individual clads.  By using an industrial robot, the process could be applied on heavy components.

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