Nortech Systems Announces Completion of Sale and Leaseback Transactions for Manufacturing facilities

Nortech Systems | August 31, 2020

Nortech Systems Incorporated, a leading provider of engineering and manufacturing solutions for complex electromedical and electromechanical products serving the medical, aerospace & defense and industrial markets, announced that it has completed the sale and leaseback transactions for its manufacturing facilities in Bemidji and Mankato, Minnesota at a sale price of $6.3 million. The proceeds from the sale will be used to pay down debt as well as related expenses and taxes.

Concurrent with the closing on the sale, Nortech entered into long-term lease agreements for the Bemidji and Mankato, Minnesota facilities for an initial 15-year term, with multiple renewal options. "We are pleased with the successful execution of this sale and leaseback transaction which generated significant net cash proceeds. Following the debt repayment, Nortech’s balance sheet and working capital is positioned for investments in capital equipment and strategic initiatives," stated Jay D. Miller, Chief Executive Officer and President.

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Manufacturing employees manage a lot of moving parts on a daily - if not hourly - basis: from crews on the factory floor and quality management standards to equipment, materials and continuously changing conditions. Not to mention, they need to make sure products are manufactured according to strict specifications.


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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

Contactile Raises US$2.5 Million to Accelerate Development of Tactile Sensor Technology for Robotic Dexterity

Contactile Pty Ltd | May 05, 2022

Australia-based company Contactile has closed US$2.5 million in seed funding to develop and pilot tactile sensors that give robots a human sense of touch and enable robotic dexterity. The round was led by Silicon Valley's True Ventures with participation from Flying Fox Ventures, Radar Ventures and UNSW Founders, the last of which is a program launched by the university where Contactile's three co-founders developed the company's core technology. What makes Contactile's sensor technology superior is its ability to measure 3D forces and torques, partial slip and friction all essential parameters for enabling robotic dexterity. "To hold an object without letting it slip from our grasp, we squeeze it with our fingers," said Dr. Heba Khamis, Conctactile co-founder and CEO. "When an object is heavier, we squeeze harder, and when an object is slippery, we squeeze harder. People know how hard to squeeze an object because they can feel the weight and the slipperiness by touching the object. But robots haven't been able to feel these things before now." Khamis co-founded Contactile with Benjamin Xia, CTO, and Associate Professor Stephen Redmond. The three co-founders have been developing tactile sensors together for eight years, beginning at UNSW Sydney, where they each studied or taught, and performed research in electrical, software and biomedical engineering. Together, they've developed deep expertise in human tactile physiology, artificial tactile sensing, signal processing and machine learning, and control. "We're delighted to partner with True and this amazing group of investors, each of whom brings deep experience in different aspects of rapidly scaling businesses," said Khamis. "They understand the massive opportunity in robotics and the need for smarter, more flexible and more reactive robots that can help do the jobs that are too dull, dirty and/or dangerous for people to do." While robots currently on the market can pick up and place items, they must be precisely programmed for every object they encounter; they cannot adapt to pick up new objects without new, more advanced programming. As such, their behavior is un-human-like and incapable of complex manipulation. Opening jars, turning door handles, and even operating tools are triumphs. Contactile's technology enables robotic grippers to autonomously handle objects never before encountered but also to perform more complex manipulation through touch sensor feedback, enabling robots to use their 'hands' in a more flexible, versatile way. Contactile is looking to solve both short-term and long-term problems from warehouse fulfillment e.g., autonomous gripping of thousands of unique products in a grocery store to space applications e.g., versatile robots for building infrastructure on planets other than Earth. "We're thrilled to partner with the Contactile team and join their bold vision to lead the tactile revolution in robotics, Their innovations in tactile-grip sensors have the potential to transform robots from single-task machines to multi-purpose handy helpers. Applications of Contactile's technology span multiple industrial and consumer robotics scenarios and our investment will accelerate the development of their products and pilots worldwide." Rohit Sharma, partner at True Ventures There is a mega trend towards robotics and automation in every sector, including agriculture, warehousing and logistics, security and rescue, health and medicine, and space. Rich tactile sensing and dexterous robots will be required in these industries as robots are needed to perform more human-like tasks. Contactile will use this funding round to pursue further research and product development in addition to executing a number of pilots to demonstrate the value of tactile sensing. About Contactile Contactile's sensing technology gives robots a human sense of touch and enables dexterous robotic gripping. The technology was developed at UNSW Sydney with initial funding support from the Australian Research Council and US Office of Naval Research Global. About True Ventures True Ventures is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm focused on early stage technology startups. With more than $2.8 billion under management, True provides seed and Series A financing to entrepreneurs in today's fastest growing markets. About Flying Fox Ventures Flying Fox Ventures injects early stage capital to propel Australian and New Zealand companies across the globe. They look for amazing people who deeply understand the challenges around them and are breaking the mould on how to solve them. About Radar Ventures Radar Ventures is a private fund based in Australia and New Zealand, investing globally in companies developing frontier technologies that aim to solve some of the world's biggest challenges. Partners are Atlanta Daniel and Rod Drury (founder of Xero). About UNSW Founders UNSW Founders is Australia's leading university-based entrepreneurial program. Contactile is one of 62 graduates from its flagship 10x accelerator program, which has helped its startups raise $70 million of investment capital post program, create 175+ jobs and rapidly expand to new markets.

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MANUFACTURING TECHNOLOGY

Anker Brings The Speed With Its First 3D Printer, The AnkerMake M5

AnkerMake | April 12, 2022

AnkerMake, Anker Innovations new 3D printing brand, announced today the launch of the AnkerMake M5, the first 3D printer designed to improve the user experience by reducing printing time up to 70%. The AnkerMake M5 is available today on Kickstarter.com, starting at an super early bird price of $429. "3D printers help us imagine a world where ideas and creative concepts can be instantly transformed into physical form. However, the reality is 3D printing can be slow, cumbersome, and difficult to figure out," said Steven Yang, CEO of Anker Innovations. "AnkerMake is committed to removing these pain points so that artists, inventors, hobbyists and DIY enthusiasts can take advantage of a more practical tool to bring their creations to life." The AnkerMake M5 solves the most critical issues that have prevented 3D printing from becoming a more mainstream endeavor. These issues include slow print speeds, the need to constantly supervise printing for errors and a needlessly complicated user experience. The AnkerMake M5 solves these issues by delivering: Quick and Easy Assembly 3D printing has never been this accessible. The M5 is designed is easy to set up in just three steps within 15 minutes. Several user-friendly features including 7x7 auto-leveling, PEI soft magnetic printing bed, auto-resume after power outage and printing notifications. These enhancements help the user focus completely on their prints instead of technical aspects and handcrafting. A New Standard in Print Speeds Thanks to its new PowerBoost technology, the AnkerMake M5 basic print speed is 250 mm/s, which can be used for printing jobs that require a smoother and more detailed finish. For faster print jobs, perfect for prototyping and less detailed finishes, the M5 can save even more time with an acceleration of the extruder up to 2,500 mm/s². In this print mode, the M5 can reduce the average print times by up to 70% in comparison to other 3D printers. Stable, Quality Printing The aluminum alloy die-casting design increases the weight of the base, reducing the center of gravity of the machine. The sleek design makes printing more stable and allows fast speeds and extreme acceleration. The installation error of the base is also reduced, improving the accuracy of the printing tool and surface even at high speeds with 0.1 mm precision. AI Print Monitoring The built-in HD camera will monitor print jobs for issues like layer splitting, spaghetti mess or nozzle plugging. When it detects an issue, the AnkerMake M5 will alert users. This feature helps avoid wasting time and valuable printing materials. Live WebCam View With Time Lapse Users can view live feeds of their print jobs from anywhere using the AnkerMake mobile app. Time lapse videos are also automatically generated after the printing job is complete. With an adaptive light-sensing algorithm, users can see the printer output clearly, even at night. Smart, Connected Printing The AnkerMake M5 can be seamlessly connected and controlled through both the AnkerMake mobile app and AnkerMake slicing software1. Multi-device management and remote messaging notifications enable the user to start printing from their smartphone or computer anytime, anywhere. Additional Specs: 5X industry average print speed (250 mm/s in standard print mode) 2,500 mm/s² in accelerated print mode Can reduce average print time by up to 70 percent AI print monitoring with auto shut-off Integrated HD cam with remote viewing Supports WiFi and USB connectivity Easy filament loading and extraction with heat assist Magnetic base for easy removal and cleaning Weight: 12.4 kg / 27.3 lb Measurement: 502x438x470 mm / 19.76x17.24x18.50 inches Price & Availability The AnkerMake M5 3D printer is available on Kickstarter.com starting today for special, limited super early bird price of $429. The normal early bird price is $499. Additional press materials, including product images, can be found here. 1 AnkerMake App and software will be available later this year at the commercial launch of AnkerMake M5. About Anker Innovations Anker Innovations is a global leader in charging technology and a developer of unique, consumer electronic products that support premium audio, mobile entertainment, and the emerging smart home space. This innovation is being led by its six key brands: Anker, AnkerWork, eufy, Nebula, Soundcore and now, AnkerMake. More information on Anker Innovations and its various brands can be found at anker.com. About AnkerMake AnkerMake is committed to becoming the world's #1 brand for intelligent manufacturing by helping artists, hobbyists, DIY enthusiasts and professional users bring their creations to life.

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ROBOTICS AND AUTOMATION

MHS exhibits fully automated order fulfillment solution in collaboration with HAI ROBOTICS and Mujin

MHS | March 29, 2022

At MODEX 2022 in Atlanta this week, MHS a single-source provider of material handling automation and software solutions, unveils a robotic order fulfillment solution developed in tandem with Mujin and HAI ROBOTICS. At MODEX booth #B7255, the demonstration models automation strategies that can be applied to many common storage, picking and order kitting workflows in e-commerce fulfillment and other distribution settings. The goods-to-robot solution on display offers rapid deployment, low total cost of operation, operational efficiency gains of up to 400% and increased product storage density by picking product out of double-deep storage. The project leverages the combined strengths of MHS as an integrator and the specialized robotic technology of HAI ROBOTICS and Mujin. In addition to design, installation and validation by MHS, the solution is powered by MHS Helix, a warehouse execution system (WES) that integrates the various automated components and robotics technology together to work as a smart, efficient system. A zero-pressure accumulation conveyor from MHS feeds totes to and from the order fill station. HAI autonomous case-handling robots (ACRs) transport totes between storage and a Mujin piece-picking robot. The Mujin robot picks each item for the order from a source tote, packs it and signals to Helix that the conveyor can move the completed order to the outbound location. The robotic arm uses product dimensions, weight and grasping data to autonomously pick items cleanly and consistently – no colliding with the tote or inability to pick all items in the tote. “While goods-to-person workflows can help warehouses make more efficient use of workers, goods-to-robot solutions go a step further to alleviate the intense labor challenges facing warehouses, By bringing together these different automation technologies to work together as a cohesive system, we can help customers not only address labor challenges in workflows like order picking, but improve overall efficiency and consistency, too.” Rob Schmit, senior vice president, distribution and fulfillment, MHS. Visit MHS at booth #B7255 of the Georgia World Congress Center from March 28-31 for a live demonstration of the solution and to learn more about the company’s global reach, broad lineup of automation and software technologies, and robust lifecycle performance services. About MHS MHS Global is a full-service provider of innovative material handling systems that solve the challenges of distribution and fulfillment operations. We take a comprehensive, customer-centric approach that includes custom engineering, design, manufacturing and turnkey integration services. Our quality solutions leverage a broad range of controls and automated equipment, including but not limited to sorters, conveyors, extendable loading and unloading systems. We provide complete, responsive support to maintain systems for peak performance, with predictive analytics and local technicians to maximize long-term value and return on investment. MHS has a global installed base of over $6.5 billion for small to large distribution and fulfillment projects in a variety of industries, including e-commerce, parcel, third party logistics and outside integrators.

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Spotlight

Manufacturing employees manage a lot of moving parts on a daily - if not hourly - basis: from crews on the factory floor and quality management standards to equipment, materials and continuously changing conditions. Not to mention, they need to make sure products are manufactured according to strict specifications.

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