IAA Weekly Products & Services Updates

IAA Weekly Products & Services Updates

IAA presents the latest exciting product news and updates in a mobile friendly text-based summary

Table of Contents

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New Compact IDEC XA/XW Emergency Stop Switches Enable Improved Safety for Demanding Applications

Expanding robotic and industrial equipment applications call for small form factor emergency stop switches.

IDEC Corporation has expanded their line of emergency stop (E-stop) switches with new XA/XW series short body models. These industrial-grade and outdoor-rated models are designed in the space-saving size essential for robotic and industrial equipment applications, with innovative features to meet the increased requirements of international safety standards.

 

Modern E-stop challenges

While E-stop switches have been a fundamental design and safety element of automated systems for decades, two factors have prompted an update of these devices. The first factor relates to the proliferation of smaller-scale automated equipment with increasingly limited on-board space but a need for E-stop functionality. Examples are robot teach pendants, mobile robotics, production machines, and industrial vehicles. The second factor concerns revisions to safety standards.

Safety standard ISO3691-4 (2020) requires E-stops to be accessible from both ends and both sides of industrial vehicles, which can be difficult or impossible to achieve without compact devices. In addition, any detachable or cableless control stations—such as pluggable portable teaching pendants or wireless controllers—are now required by ISO13850 (2015) to incorporate measures for avoiding user confusion regarding whether the E-stop is active or inactive. While there are various ways to achieve this, the XA/XW E-stops change color through illumination to indicate if they are active or inactive, which is a leading way to comply with the standard.

 

Addressing new E-stop requirements

IDEC has designed the XA/XW series to minimize the installation depth behind the mounting surface. Available in industry-standard diameters of 16mm for the XA and 22mm for the XW, these new E-stops now require only an industry-leading 12.6mm of space behind the mounting surface for solder terminal styles, and just 18.0mm for tab terminal styles.

All devices are rated IP67/69K and UL Type 4X for outdoor installation, and they can be specified with or without illumination. Operating temperatures range from -25 to +55 or +70 °C, depending on the model.

When users select the active/inactive version for compliance with ISO13850, the E-stop cap color is opaque white when the device is inactive and red when the device is active. This unique feature is designed so that users will recognize the device is plugged into equipment and usable only when the E-stop is red. If the device is white, then the E-stop is not connected.

The E-stops follow a standard push-lock and pull or turn to reset action, and the top cap uses cap-color direction arrows to comply with ISO13850. The body base is high visibility yellow with an angled “escape structure” design so debris will not hinder operation, and a green ring acts as a secondary visual indication of the E-stop pressed or not-pressed status.

The E-stop physical mechanism uses IDEC’s unique and patented “reverse energy structure” for an additional degree of safety, with a spring arranged to operate the E-stop if it is physically damaged in certain ways. Competitive devices can fail to drive equipment to a safe state under these conditions.

 

Even though the XA/XW series features a compact body, the non-illuminated version offers two NC contacts for integration with safety circuits, and one NO contact for illumination and/or monitoring. Contacts are rated for an industry-leading 250,000 operations at 24V and 100mA, ensuring exceptional durability.

 

Improved safety for any application

The IDEC XA/XW series is designed to meet the latest safety standards in an industry-leading small form factor rated for challenging environmental conditions. Space saving E-stops are needed for robotics, AGV/AMR, medical device, tabletop machine, and other industrial applications. EV chargers, power generators, outdoor conveyors, and specialty industrial vehicles all need robust E-stops that are easily installed in limited spaces. As designers are increasingly using wireless controllers and detachable pendants for these applications, the active/inactive capability of associated E-stops is a key requirement.

The IDEC portfolio of E-stop switches is ideal for providing technical performance and regulation-compliant capabilities for a wide variety of applications. As with all its products, IDEC offers free tech support for the XA/XW series short-body E-stops, with no service or support contract required. For complete specifications or additional information, please contact IDEC Corporation at 800-262-IDEC (4332), or visit us online at https://lp.idec.com/XA-XW-Series-Illuminated-Short-Body-E-Stop-US.html.

 


Alibaba Cloud and Schaeffler deepen Partnership to Accelerate Global Digital Transformation in Manufacturing

Alibaba Cloud, the digital technology and intelligence backbone of Alibaba Group and Schaeffler Greater China, today announced the expansion of their partnership, reinforcing Alibaba Cloud’s role as a trusted cloud service partner for the manufacturer. This collaboration aims to foster Schaeffler’s digital transformation efforts across various markets with Alibaba Cloud’s cutting-edge cloud and digital technologies.

Building on a fruitful partnership that commenced in 2019 within China, Alibaba Cloud has been instrumental in providing robust, scalable, and secure cloud infrastructure, aiding Schaeffler’s business innovation and expansion in the market.

 

Alibaba Cloud and Schaeffler Deepens Partnership to Accelerate Global Digital Transformation

As the partnership strengthens globally, with a particular focus on the Asian market, Schaeffler plans to leverage Alibaba Cloud’s robust cloud infrastructure and advanced digital intelligence, edge computing, and AI technologies in various business solutions. Under the partnership, the industrial giant will enhance its digital transformation across its core digital pillars, which include smart products, digital value chain, cyber-physical equipment, and digital workplace. This alliance is poised to empower Schaeffler to seize upcoming growth opportunities and stimulate further innovation, delivering intelligent business insights to meet the dynamic demands of Schaeffler’s global customers in the AI-driven era.

Alibaba Cloud has been serving as a pivotal technological catalyst for the digital evolution of the manufacturing industry, offering a suite of services including edge computing, digital intelligence, and various AI solutions. The company has earned recognition as the No.1 cloud service provider in the APAC market and the third globally, according to Gartner® report Market Share: ‘IT Services, Worldwide, 2022’.

 


Advantech Officially Launched ASEAN Shared Service Center

Forming a Talent Development Ecosystem, Strengthening Regional Core Competencies and Localized Services, Achieving In-depth Industry Development and Implementation

Advantech, a global leader in Industrial IoT, has officially established the ASEAN Shared Service Center (ASSC) in Penang, Malaysia, to enhance customer service in the Asia-Pacific region. The company initiated the first project of ASSC by signing a Letter of Intent (LOI) with Piacom, a system integrator (SI) affiliated with Petrolimex, a Vietnamese petroleum group. Additionally, Advantech has launched the University Co-Creation (UCC) Worldwide Expansion Plan, with the aim of creating a complete talent development ecosystem. This initiative spans industry-academia collaboration, localized services, and the ultimate execution of strategic goals, particularly focusing on industry cultivation and localization in areas where the IoT industry is booming and there is a demand for skilled professionals.

ADUN Bukit Tambun and Director of InvestPenang, YB Goh Choon Aik (representing the Chief Minister of Penang, Right Honorable Mr Chow Kon Yeow) stated, “Penang is honored to be the chosen investment destination for this ASSC, a testament for the state’s solid position in the emerging global services industry to serve the ASEAN region. Investments like the ASSC marks a significant boost to our economy and create new employment opportunities for Penangites.”

Vincent Chang, Managing Director of Asia and Intercontinental Region at Advantech, stated that the establishment of ASSC in Penang signifies the initial phase in implementing the

“China Plus One” strategy. Advantech’s goal is to support industrial users in project implementation and in-depth development, while also reinforcing regional core competencies and localized services. Penang, renowned as the “Silicon Valley of the East” and rich in multicultural talent, was selected for this purpose. This strategic choice enables Advantech to cultivate its Domain Solution Integration Team, dedicated to serving and supporting regional users and project implementation. Concurrently, the company has signed industry-academia collaboration agreements with numerous universities, building a complete talent development ecosystem from the campus and service center to industry implementation.

Vincent further elaborated that signing an LOI with Piacom for the gas station industry and co-creating a complete Solution Ready Package, encompassing both software and hardware, signifies the effectiveness of the Domain Solution Integration Team established by Advantech in the region. This team is well equipped to support industrial users in project implementation and in-depth development. Furthermore, to complement the initiation of the Advantech UCC Worldwide Expansion Plan, Advantech has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and King Mongkut’s University of Technology North Bangkok (KMUTNB). The key objectives of this collaboration for the year include setting internship and innovation competitions. Notably, Universiti Sains Malaysia aims to establish an AIoT Lab by the end of this year, hoping to cultivate and attract outstanding IoT talents in the Asia Pacific region.

Besides delivering repair and maintenance services to regional customers, along with project integration and technical consultation, Advantech’s ASSC operates two production lines for product assembly. Its primary focus is on catering to customers in Southeast Asian countries such as Thailand, Vietnam, and Indonesia, while also providing assistance to other Asia-Pacific markets. This includes supporting customers with digital transformation and AIoT technology needs in places like Pakistan and the Philippines. Additionally, within the ASSC, a Co-creation Business Innovation Center has been established to exhibit industry domain-focused solutions developed with ecosystem partners.

Advantech’s UCC Worldwide Expansion Plan aims to establish 12 AIoT laboratories in cooperation with colleges and universities worldwide within two years. This comprehensive plan includes standardized IoT Course Modules, open/online courses, training kits, and funds to support partner universities in carrying out four industry-academia collaboration programs: the establishment of benchmark AIoT Labs, Innoworks for IoT innovation competitions, Elite 100 Internships for innovative topic-based internships, and Research Projects collaborating with strategic lab partners to conduct research on specific IoT solutions or innovations. The UCC Worldwide Expansion Plan plays a crucial role in helping Advantech establish long-term partnerships with key regional universities. This, in turn, contributes to the development of a local industry talent pool.

The creation of Advantech’s ASSC not only symbolizes the company’s expansion into the Asia-Pacific market but also underscores its commitment to local talent cultivation, industry-academia collaboration, and engineering integration. This move strengthens collaboration on solution development with co-creation partners. Additionally, it is expected that with the ASSC’s services, a complete industry ecosystem can be duplicated and established in other Asia-Pacific regions.

 


Leveraging AI to take energy-use optimization to the next level

As part of the initiative to achieve organization-wide energy- savings, part of their sustainability goals, electronics manufacturer Alps Alpine has introduced Mitsubishi Electric’s EcoAdviser energy saving support software at its Taira Plant in Iwaki, Fukushima, Japan. This solution was chosen because it adds advanced visualization to the existing SA1-III power management system installed at the facility. The company also plans to leverage EcoAdviser’s AI diagnosis function to identify new opportunities to save energy.

EcoAdviser drives initiatives toward sustainable goals at Alps Alpine’s Taira Plant.

Key Points

  1. EcoAdviser boosts energy saving efforts, without having to replace the existing power management system.
  2. Energy-saving ideas can be tested and verified on-site prior to their full implementation.
  3. The Taira Plant is now exploring opportunities to leverage EcoAdviser’s built-in AI capabilities in the planning stage of the plan-do-check-act (PDCA) cycle for energy management.

 

Alps Alpine manufactures and sells electronic components and car information systems, and has several R&D centers and plants in Japan, mainly located in Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures. One of these is the Taira Plant in Iwaki, Fukushima, which produces touch panels for smartphones, car navigation systems and smart watches.

Alps Alpine’s Taira Plant manufactures touch panels for smartphones and car navigation systems.

Alps Alpine’s Taira Plant manufactures touch panels for smartphones and car navigation systems.

Since they expanded their plant in 1990, the Taira Plant has been working to reduce power consumption by 1% per year. In 2020, a working group was formed to support the RE100 initiative*1 – committing the plant to using 100% renewably-sourced electricity in its business operations by 2030. Consequently, cutting power consumption became even more important, representing a significant step towards achieving this sustainability goal. According to the company’s reporting figures for FY2021, 27% of the energy used by Alps Alpine came from renewable sources such as solar power or, in the case of factories outside of Japan, electricity was purchased from external renewable energy suppliers.

In line with the organization’s overarching efforts, the Taira Plant was already using Mitsubishi Electric’s EcoMonitorPro energy measuring unit alongside its SA1-III power management system from Mitsubishi Electric System & Service Co., Ltd. to visualize power consumption.

“Until now, our energy-saving efforts have been mainly focused on operational improvements, but we realized we would need a new approach to make RE100 happen,” says Kenichi Ōhira of Alps Alpine’s General Affairs Section, which is in charge of infrastructure management at the Taira Plant.

Kenichi Ōhira, Onahama General Affairs Section, Alps Alpine Co. Ltd.

Ideas can be tested and verified on-site

Alps Alpine requested proposals from several vendors to help step up its energy-saving efforts at the Taira Plant, finally selecting an application that was based on Mitsubishi Electric’s energy saving support software EcoAdviser. “The deciding factor was that EcoAdviser could be integrated with our existing SA1-III energy management system. As well as being beneficial in terms of investment cost, this could help us streamline the project,” explains Ōhira.

 

EcoAdviser provides detailed visualizations of energy usage for the whole factory.

Ōhira also saw how using EcoAdviser to display energy information in a clear way to both managers and on-site staff could support continuous improvement activities. “We’ve been working on energy saving for many years and we’ve come a long way. However, it has become harder to come up with new ideas and we needed a solution that would help us avoid hitting a dead end. At the same time as upgrading equipment, we knew we needed a process of ongoing testing and verification to further reduce our energy usage,” says Ōhira.

Ideally, when implementing a rapid cycle of hypothesis formulation and verification, on site workers should take the lead. This requires data and results to be presented in a format that can be interpreted instantly by staff, who may not necessarily have extensive expertise in energy management. The ability to provide a graphical display of relevant information meant that EcoAdviser was exactly what the Taira Plant needed. “Being able to visualize the effect of energy saving activities on operational expenses had a particularly big impact,” says Ōhira.

Graphically visualizing the effects of energy saving activities in terms of cost helps workers understand the impact of actions that are undertaken.

Dashboards that can be created in-house

Kohei Ogino, Onahama General Affairs Section, Alps Alpine Co. Ltd. explains, “Developing our dashboards in-house means we can add new screens as needed.”

When EcoAdviser was introduced at the Taira Plant, the team took on the task of creating new dashboards for data visualization. “Once you start using the software, you quickly realize that you are able to create custom screens to suit your specific processes, without having to outsource the task. This means you can optimize the system so that it can better help achieve your goals,” explains Ōhira. The team at Alps Alpine found that EcoAdviser could be used intuitively, enabling them to create in-house the screens they needed for effective monitoring. As a result, customized dashboards have been added to meet the requirements of the site as needed.

 

Kohei Ogino, Onahama General Affairs Section, Alps Alpine Co. Ltd. explains, “Developing our dashboards in-house means we can add new screens as needed.”

Kohei Ogino, Onahama General Affairs Section, Alps Alpine Co. Ltd. explains, “Developing our dashboards in-house means we can add new screens as needed.”

 

The energy monitoring dashboards provided by EcoAdviser can also be accessed remotely on a mobile device, like a smartphone or a tablet. The Taira Plant is installing a monitoring screen at its entrance area, allowing staff and visitors to see key energy usage insights. As sustainability issues like reducing greenhouse gas emissions become ever more pressing, EcoAdviser provides a way to show visitors how committed the company is to driving such efforts to reduce its environmental impact.

 

Reducing the training burden

Looking ahead, the EcoAdviser feature that Ōhira is particularly interested in leveraging is the AI diagnosis function. This feature will analyze energy information by cross-referencing production volume data, which they will link to in the future, to automatically identify energy losses.

“We’re not just looking to obtain energy data from our equipment, we also want to understand and leverage this to gain actionable insights. Before, we had to train specialist energy managers to do this, which takes time, but if that task can be performed by AI, it can help free uphuman resources to focus on other tasks. To put it in terms of the PDCA cycle, we are hoping that the ‘planning’ part can be done by AI,” says Ōhira. There are also plans to link the EcoAdviser software with production information to enable visualization on an energy per-unit basis, supporting the transition of our plant into a smart factory.”

“We would like to use the AI diagnosis function to help automate the ‘planning’ part of the PDCA cycle,” says Ōhira.

Separately from the initiatives at the Taira Plant, Alps Alpine is also planning to introduce EcoAdviser at its Nagaoka R&D Center, which is designated to become a model factory for energy saving. With the knowledge gained at the Taira Plant, there is optimism that the energy saving effects of EcoAdviser will expand throughout the company.

 


HID and Olea Kiosks Empower People with Secure and Convenient Self-Service Access         

Advanced AI-driven facial recognition meets hyper-modular kiosk design to enhance the user check-in/authentication experience across industries

HID, the worldwide leader in trusted identity solutions and Olea Kiosks, a visionary provider of self-service kiosk solutions, today announced a new collaborative engagement that revolutionises the user experience when it comes to access control and user authentication across a range of applications.

Industries from healthcare, hospitality and retail to banking, government, transportation and beyond are primed to empower people with unsurpassed levels of security and user convenience when it comes to countless check-in and access scenarios. The HID U.ARE.U Camera Identification System – featuring remarkable facial recognition technology (FRT) – can now be incorporated into the Olea HYPERMODULAR Kiosk to address the rising demand for flexible, customisable ID authentication and verification across various vertical settings.

Facial recognition technology continues to gain traction based on its unique combination of high security and user convenience. Paired with the extremely flexible Olea kiosk, HID’s AI-powered U.ARE.U Camera Identification System is an ideal solution for applications needing to handle high throughput. HID FRT is:

  • Fast and Accurate: On-the-spot verification authenticates and validates an individual’s identity in seconds, reducing wait time in line.
  • Easy to Use: One look is all that is required to securely capture a facial image for frictionless identity verification.
  • Secure: Biometric traits provide irrefutable proof of identity and presence to prevent fraud.
  • Convenient: One’s face is now their ID card, pin and password, so there is nothing to carry, forget, lose or have stolen.
  • No Human Intervention: This seamless technology requires no dedicated staff to check IDs.
  • Contactless and Hygienic: Facial recognition offers a touchless way to authenticate individuals’ identities, minimising exposure to health risks by reducing shared touchpoints.

Olea selected the HID U.ARE.U Camera Identification System for its many notable features, including:

  • Top NIST Ranking for Matching Performance & Accuracy
  • Ethically Trained with AI to Reduce Matching Bias
  • Exceptional ‘In-the-Wild’ Recognition (precise capture and authentication regardless of variances in lighting, backgrounds, pose, expression, etc.)
  • Extraordinary Presentation Attack Detection (PAD) Against Spoofs
  • Stellar Security & Privacy with On-Device (Edge) Biometric Processing
  • Easy to Configure (leading to faster deployment and faster ROI)

Olea developed the HYPERMODULAR kiosk in response to market demands for flexible, customisable kiosks for the security and access control space. In addition to housing HID’s leading facial recognition camera, Olea’s kiosk design can also accommodate fingerprint scanners, barcode scanners, ticket and ID document readers, RFID readers, card printers, and other HID offerings within its HYPERMODULAR footprint.

Bringing together HID facial recognition with Olea kiosks supports myriad use cases for reliable self-service check-in and authentication. Just a sampling of applications include:

  • Retail & Hospitality: Hotel self-check-in, self-checkout/face pay, ticketing at theme parks and VIP customer identification
  • Banking: ATM verification and VIP customer identification
  • Healthcare: Patient check-in and registration, manage personal data, scan and record insurance/ID cards, telemedicine services and payment collection
  • Airport and Border Crossing: Passenger self-check-in, bag tag printing and bag drop, VIP lounge access and security and immigration checkpoints

The HID-Olea Kiosks are available now. To learn more about HID’s facial recognition technology and Olea Kiosks, visit our solution pages:

  • HID AI-powered facial recognition
  • HID U.ARE.U Camera Identification System
  • Olea HYPERMODULAR Kiosk

Tēnaka partners with Orange Business to scale its coral reef restoration program

            Technology solution to automate and scale coral reef and marine biodiversity monitoring

            Tēnaka to benefit remotely from near real-time data from the coral reef, allowing scientists to spend more time regenerating reefs

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOrange Business and Tēnaka, a social business that works to restore and protect marine ecosystems worldwide, have partnered to scale the coral reef restoration in a Marine Protected Area of the Coral Triangle in Malaysia.

Tēnaka’s coral reef restoration helps protect and preserve critically important and endangered wildlife while supporting the economic independence of coastal communities in terms of food security and employment linked to tourism and fisheries.

Through this partnership, Orange Business is accelerating Tēnaka’s digital transformation, making its day-to-day operations more efficient. Orange Business provides access to fully automated data sets, from collection to visualization, leveraging AI-based data analysis.

This near real-time data-driven approach enhances the capabilities of Tēnaka’s operations. Data and images are delivered directly to scientists ashore, which means researchers will be able to access 24/7 data and spend more time restoring degrading coral reefs.

Scientific monitoring of the coral reef

The project orchestrated by Orange Business is enabled by a Yucca lab marine research station composed of an underwater monitoring device with waterproof 360° cameras attached to a solar-powered floating buoy with processing and transmission capabilities.

The research station connects to the local 4G mobile network with an Orange Business SIM card. This connection transfers images daily to a Microsoft Azure tenant managed by Orange Business. The data transfer is secured by Orange Cyberdefense using Netskope SSE technology and NewEdge infrastructure.

Once in the cloud, an AI algorithm developed by Orange Business analyzes the images. This algorithm automatically recognizes and quantifies various species of fish, invertebrates, and megafauna in the reefs.

Orange Business leverages its partner ecosystem in this project: Netskope’s For Good program is providing the security platform and design, while Microsoft provides free of charge Azure credits as part of its Startups Founders Hub program.

“Regenerating the ocean is the best solution we have to mitigate the climate and biodiversity crisis. By leveraging technology, Orange Business brings critical expertise for us to scale our operations and reach a global impact,” explained Anne-Sophie Roux, Founder of Tēnaka.

“We wanted to be part of the solution for an environmental challenge. Our employees worldwide support Tēnaka for its inspiring initiative in preserving and rehabilitating coral ecosystems – and one where our technology and digital services can really make a difference to create a positive impact,” commented Kristof Symons, CEO International, Orange Business.

 


Westermo launches new plug-and-play unmanaged industrial Ethernet switches

Reliable, versatile and user-friendly compact switches provide cost-effective solutions for expanding data networks

Westermo has launched a new range of compact, easy-to-use unmanaged industrial Ethernet switches. The SandCat five port fast Ethernet switch series offers a cost-effective, plug and play solution for industrial applications that complements Westermo’s range of managed switches. Supporting 100 Mbit/s, these versatile devices have been designed to meet the increasing network complexity, reliability and bandwidth demands of utilities, marine, manufacturing and energy industries.

The SandCat switches provide a low-cost option for connecting multiple end-devices to the network and the availability of a fibre port enables communication over larger distances or different sites. Although managed switches are used widely to enhance configuration and security of data networks, the SandCat series is ideally suited to extend the port count of managed switches, enabling the installation of more end-devices. The switches can also be used when a central device is required to create a physical topology for optimal redundancy and remote access or to act as a simple switch within factory automation applications.

The SandCat series is designed for mission-critical applications using DIN rail mounting in harsh industrial environments allowing Ethernet connections to be established between drives, inverters, HMIs, PLCs and I/O units. The switches meet EMC, isolation, vibration and shock standards enabling installation in challenging industrial environments. An IP30 grade metal housing, operating temperature of -40°C to 75°C, wide power input range, multiple small form-factor pluggable (SFP) transceiver options, and extensive industry approvals and certifications ensures maximum application flexibility.

“The SandCat is a high-quality, unmanaged switch series that offers unparalleled reliability, simplicity and performance,” explained Rasmus Sjöström, Product Manager at Westermo. “Versatile SFP options and a comprehensive range of industry certifications help to deliver maximum application flexibility needed to meet the expanding size and complexity of data networks.”

 


German Chamber of Commerce and Industry Delegation Visit Key Destinations, Including Ministry of Trade and Industry and HIMA in Singapore

With Singapore a key economic hub within the region, German Mittelstand HIMA was handpicked to share three decades of experience with delegation.

HIMA, a leading provider of safety related automation solutions for the Process and Railway industries, hosted the delegation from the German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) as one leg of their visit to Singapore at their Customer Solutions Center on 17 January.

Amid diversifying the German market and growing across borders, Singapore has emerged as a key economic hub for businesses looking to grow within the Southeast Asian region. The German Embassy in Singapore noted that there is currently a presence of 2,200 German companies in Singapore, accounting for 45,000 jobs in a region poised to become the fourth largest economic area in the world come 2030.

Being a German Mittelstand in Singapore, HIMA was picked as a destination for the DIHK delegation to learn more about the company’s Southeast Asian experience. HIMA recognised the economic potential of Southeast Asia early on and saw Singapore as a strategic location within the region. After many years of involvement in Malaysia, HIMA Asia Pacific was founded in Singapore in 2011 in order to be able to develop further markets. In 2022, a Customer Solutions Center was added, where customers can experience the safety and security solutions of the safety expert on site.

Jörg de la Motte, Chief Executive Officer HIMA Group, said: “HIMA has had roots in Southeast Asia spanning three decades, identifying the region as a key segment for growth in the early 2000s. Amid the thousands of German businesses in Singapore, being selected to share our experience with the delegation from the DIHK was a true honour and testament to our work within the region. We hope that the delegation’s visit was beneficial in further understanding the workings within Singapore and the region.”

Friedhelm Best, Vice President HIMA Asia Pacific and Vice President of the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce said: “There are many factors that make Singapore an attractive hub for businesses looking to grow within the region. Singapore is a melting pot of culture, is strategically located, supports business development, and is well governed, making it a fantastic regional springboard for German Mittelstand.”

In addition to touring the HIMA Customer Solutions Center to learn more about how German companies have benefitted from operating in Singapore, the DIHK delegation also visited the Ministry of Trade and Industry for a meeting with Gan Kim Yong, Singapore’s Minister for Trade and Industry.

The delegation also attended a dialogue with the Singapore German Chamber on Germany’s Economic Landscape and Business Ties with ASEAN and Asia-Pacific, and visited the Singapore City Gallery to discover how Singapore was transformed from a fledging nation in the 1960s to a leading city in Asia today.

 


LoRa Alliance Issues 2023 Annual Report Highlighting LoRaWAN Maturity, Robust Adoption, and Diversity of End-to-End Solutions

LoRa Alliance 2023 End of Year Report

The LoRa Alliance, the global association of companies backing the open LoRaWAN standard for the internet of things (IoT) low-power wide-area networks (LPWANs), today issued its 2023 End of Year Report. It highlights the LoRa Alliance’s incredible achievements throughout the year, in addition to providing updates on LoRaWAN deployments, technology and certification advancements.

 

Trends highlighted in this year’s report include:

 

  • LoRaWAN is seeing strong global deployment growth across several vertical markets, including smart buildings, utilities, cities, agriculture and industry.
  • There is continued diversification of the Alliance’s collaborative ecosystem, which drove end-to-end IoT solutions.
  • Deployments are delivering strong ROI, which in turn is accelerating the decision-making process for new users and projects.
  • Smart cities are increasingly requiring LoRaWAN certified end-devices in their RFPs.
  • LoRaWAN took a leadership position in Industry 5.0 as it meets the sustainability, efficiency and quality-of-life requirements.
  • The benefits and ROI of LoRaWAN deployments are exponential when end users collaborate with system integrators and solution providers.
  • LoRaWAN is the leader in the emerging satellite-based LPWAN communications market, with multiple member companies delivering networking via satellite and rapidly growing deployments in the sector.
  • The Alliance is meeting the emerging workforce needs of the IoT with its LoRaWAN Accredited Professional program, giving end users confidence in the vendors they select.

“In 2023, key end markets such as cities, buildings and utilities widely embraced LoRaWAN and the ROI it provides, leading to large-scale deployments that sparked further innovation in use cases,” stated Donna Moore, CEO and Chairwoman of the LoRa Alliance. “The demand for certified LoRaWAN devices within these essential sectors continues to grow as it is critical for massive device rollouts. Confidence in LoRaWAN was further reinforced through our Accredited Professional program, which addresses end users’ desire for a way to evaluate vendors’ knowledge of development and implementation of LoRaWAN. As the leader in global LPWAN deployments, we anticipate an even stronger year in 2024.”

“We continued to see strong growth globally in IoT deployments in 2023, with LoRaWAN clearly established as the market leader in LPWANs,” said Robin Duke-Woolley, CEO and Chief Analyst, Beecham Research. “With its established and active ecosystem, considerable involvement of system integrators and solution providers, and expansive features, including connectivity via satellite, we expect LoRaWAN will see strong growth again in 2024 as the IoT continues to mature.”

 

Other highlights from the 2023 report:

  • IEC and CEN standards validated LoRaWAN for smart metering, building on earlier OMS Group and DLMS-UA adoptions and further strengthening LoRaWAN’s ability to meet this market’s specialized requirements.
  • Two Technical Recommendations were released improving and augmenting LoRaWAN functionality, including using Carrier Sense Multiple Access (CSMA) to increase network capacity and Multicast D2D communication for direct over-the-air communication between devices.
  • Several FAQ documents were issued to strengthen users’ understanding of recent enhancements to the LoRaWAN specification, including payload codec API, relay, IPv6 adaptation layer and security.
  • Pre-testing of firmware updates over the air (FUOTA) and relay specifications using the LoRaWAN Certification Test Tool (LCTT) were enabled, along with new reporting features.
  • The Interoperability Work Group developed tools and procedures to test and certify interoperability between LoRaWAN network elements and built an interoperability testbed architecture.
  • Beecham Research conducted an extensive study focusing on networking technologies for smart cities, buildings and utilities, releasing two reports offering valuable insights into the evolving landscape of IoT in these markets:
  • Briefing for IoT Solution Specialists: Using LoRaWAN in Smart Buildings, Cities and Utilities to educate system integrators and solution providers, available exclusively to LoRa Alliance members; and
  • User Guide to Research of Key IoT Sectors: Smart Buildings, Cities, Utilities, which noted LoRaWAN’s global LPWAN leadership, issued publicly.

SingAREN enhances its cybersecurity infrastructure with Check Point Software Technologies to strengthen the security of its digital footprint in Singapore

Check Point Software Technologies Ltd., a leading provider of cyber security solutions globally, announces its partnership with Singapore’s National Research and Education Network (SingAREN) to bolster the security of digital footprint and cybersecurity defences in view of today’s threat landscape. SingAREN provides high-speed connectivity and data services to universities, research institutes, the National Supercomputing Centre (NSCC), and various government and industrial partners.

SingAREN faces the challenge of securing a high-throughput network that connects Singapore’s research and education community to networks across Asia, Australia, Europe, and the U.S. With the increasing volume of research data exchange, security became a paramount concern.

“Research data is a target for threat actors,” said Prof. Francis Lee Bu Sung, Associate Professor and President of SingAREN. He continued, “As we faced an increasing number of global attacks, we needed better visibility into our attack surface and security posture. Check Point Quantum Maestro has given us comprehensive visibility into the threats targeting us. We can see the most frequent attacks, who and where attacks are coming from and extract logs. We can even see what’s coming in from each member institution.”

With Check Point Quantum Maestro, SingAREN leverages Check Point’s hyper-scale network security capabilities, comprehensive tool suites, flexibility, and strong support infrastructure. “Check Point offered the best suite of tools and the most flexibility. They also provide a high level of support here in Singapore and a road map to the future, which was an important consideration for us,” said Prof. Lee.

Check Point Quantum Maestro provides SingAREN with comprehensive visibility into threats, enabling them to monitor and prevent potential security breaches. The implementation also optimised traffic performance, significantly increasing throughput even with exceptionally high volumes of data in transit. SingAREN also leverages Check Point’s AI-powered threat intelligence and reporting capabilities, fostering collaborative security workflows among its members.

“Check Point Quantum Maestro helps us build trust among our members,” stated Jon Lau, Vice President of SingAREN. The cybersecurity special interest group actively shares threat intelligence, empowering members to enhance their security measures. SingAREN plans to activate additional Check Point security features over time, continually strengthening its digital footprint and ensuring a secure and trusted environment for its members.

SingAREN views Check Point as a long-term partner in its mission to support members, create value, and maintain a reputation as a trusted organisation for secure connectivity. The implementation of Check Point Quantum Maestro marks a significant leap forward in SingAREN’s cybersecurity infrastructure, providing a robust defence against evolving cyber threats.

“As a trusted partner in securing the digital landscape, Check Point Software is proud to collaborate with SingAREN to elevate their cybersecurity infrastructure. The implementation of Check Point Quantum Maestro reflects our commitment to delivering cutting-edge solutions that provide unparalleled threat visibility and protection. SingAREN’s dedication to building trust and ensuring a secure environment aligns with our mission to empower organisations globally. Together, we look forward to a continued partnership that strengthens the cybersecurity posture of educational and research networks” said Sharat Sinha, President, Asia Pacific and Japan, Check Point Software Technologies.


Introducing the innovative AGI Glassplant Pilot Reactor Controller

AGI Glassplant is pleased to announce the launch of the AGI Glassplant Pilot Reactor Controller for easy control, automation and monitoring of any pilot reactor and associated devices via a single software interface. Designed for the pharmaceutical, chemical, CRO/CMO, agrochemical, and flavour and fragrance sectors, this modular and scalable system provides easy integration of third-party devices, offering secure and robust data connections to help reactors reach their full potential.

The AGI Glassplant Pilot Reactor Controller is an easy-to-use, turnkey solution that is ideal for chemists and chemical engineers looking to scale up from lab to pilot plant or, conversely, down from production to pilot. Using OPC Unified Architecture, this next generation reactor controller offers universal connectivity with a vast range of reactors and peripheral devices – including circulators, stirrers, sensors and pumps – via a no-code software interface, allowing quick set up and process replication without specialist programming knowledge. Multiple users can visualize every connected device via an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, and data is collected, processed, compiled and logged in a single .CSV file for further analysis.

The flexible Hub and DAQ design is easily configurable to suit individual laboratory needs, with easy-to-access connection ports that can be customized to specific process requirements. Additional DAQs can be added as necessary, enabling scale-up and control of even the most complex processes. The system provides numerical and graphical live displays that can be customized to specific data interpretation needs, enabling real-time process oversight and control for close tracking and modification of reactions on the fly. The AGI Glassplant Pilot Reactor Controller also features integrated, user-programmable safety procedures – with high and low level alarms – as well as operator-defined safe standby procedures and a physical remote standby trigger for complete peace of mind.

To learn more about the AGI Glassplant Pilot Reactor Controller, visit https://go.agi-glassplant.com/pilot-reactor-controller.


Control Station Digital Lifecycle Solutions Fuel Achievement of Reliability and Sustainability Goals

Tiered lifecycle offerings align service levels with unique end user needs, facilitating goal achievement and maximizing return on investment.

Control Station has expanded its client services capabilities with the rollout of Digital Lifecycle Solutions (DLS). The company is widely recognized as a leader in process analytic and optimization solutions. With the introduction of its DLS offerings, Control Station now empowers licensees of its award-winning products to maximize the value of their technology investments and to achieve their reliability and sustainability goals.

Control Station users located in over 70 countries—and growing—are already familiar with the company’s PlantESP control loop performance monitoring (CLPM) solution and its capabilities for both monitoring operating conditions and suggesting optimal tuning values. The new DLS offerings build upon application services previously delivered to licensees of the PlantESP solution. Developed to align with different stages of a manufacturer’s operational journey, the enhanced services leverage PlantESP’s comprehensive PID control loop analytics to proactively analyze asset performance on a plant- or an enterprise-wide basis, apply advanced forensic and state-based analytics, and capitalize on intelligence captured by other on-premises and cloud-based computing and visualization platforms.

“DLS provides a means for process manufacturers to amplify the impact of their technology investments in lockstep with their pursuit of business-critical reliability and sustainability initiatives,” shared Dennis Nash, Control Station’s President and CEO. “With the introduction of DLS we’re addressing a common challenge that routinely hampers the achievement of those goals.”

 

Users of advanced application technologies often struggle to capture the full potential of their investment due to a lack of training, overextended personnel, or other issues. In addition to the technology becoming shelfware, licensees of these technologies fail to meet more essential goals of improved asset reliability and sustainability. Control Station’s DLS offerings address these challenges directly, assisting users so they can take full advantage of PlantESP’s capabilities and realize valuable and ongoing optimization results.

“Alignment is the key to success,” noted Jon Stevens, the company’s Director of Services. “Meeting customers at their unique level of preparedness and equipping them with the support and tools that are appropriate for that specific time is what distinguishes our lifecycle approach.”

In collaboration with assigned project champions, the DLS offerings guide customers through three lifecycle phases: Identify, Implement, and Maintain. Each phase incorporates increasingly sophisticated methods of analysis and recommendations for corrective action. Customized DLS charters define the agreed-to project scope and document both performance goals and resource commitments. As a strategic partner in the charter’s execution, Control Station’s engineering staff lend expert support through onsite and virtual means.

Process optimization is a specialty skill, and CLPM software like PlantESP has made extraordinary advances in helping users of all types find success. Control Station is now partnering with users through DLS to emphasize value addition through service excellence, helping process manufacturers further amplify the benefits of their optimization technology investments.

 


UOB and China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) renew MOU to facilitate regional trade & investment

MOU aims to enhance enterprises’ supply chain resilience along China-ASEAN investment and trade corridors

Mr Wee Ee Cheong, UOB’s Deputy Chairman and CEO (left) signed an enhanced MOU with Mr Ren Hongbin, Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade at the UOB Plaza on 31 January 2024 to boost foreign investment and trade between China and Southeast Asia.

UOB and the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT) today signed an enhanced Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to boost foreign investment and trade between China and Southeast Asia. This remains CCPIT’s only collaboration with a bank in Southeast Asia.

Mr Wee Ee Cheong, UOB’s Deputy Chairman and CEO (left) signed an enhanced MOU with Mr Ren Hongbin, Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade at the UOB Plaza on 31 January 2024 to boost foreign investment and trade between China and Southeast Asia.

Mr Wee Ee Cheong, UOB’s Deputy Chairman and CEO (left) signed an enhanced MOU with Mr Ren Hongbin, Chairman of the China Council for the Promotion of International Trade at the UOB Plaza on 31 January 2024 to boost foreign investment and trade between China and Southeast Asia.

Established under China’s State Council in 1952, CCPIT plans and implements policies to promote trade and investment relations between China and foreign countries. CCPIT’s affiliated body, the China Chamber of International Commerce (CCOIC), was set up in 1988 to represent its members’ interests and support Chinese enterprises in overseas ventures.

Through this collaboration with UOB, more than 350,000 Chinese companies which are members of CCOIC can access UOB’s comprehensive suite of local and cross-border solutions. They can also tap on an ecosystem of strategic partners across the Bank’s Southeast Asian network. Both parties will also facilitate UOB’s regional clients’ projects and businesses in China.

UOB and CCPIT will support enterprises in key industry sectors to build resilient supply chains, drive progress through innovation, and practise sustainable development. Tapping on UOB’s strength in the region, the two parties will jointly strengthen services and support for Chinese enterprises investing in the ASEAN region.

 

Mr Wee Ee Cheong, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, UOB, said, “With global supply chains continuing to shift into Southeast Asia, the region remains a bright spot and continues to attract investment flows. With our extensive regional footprint, strong sector solutions capabilities and regional payments, trade, and cash platforms, UOB is well positioned to support Chinese enterprises expanding into ASEAN. This will promote the interconnection of local value chains, create more job opportunities and forge a brighter future for people and communities in this region.”

UOB and CCPIT first signed an MOU in 2012 and first renewed it in 2014. Since then, the partnership has helped numerous Chinese companies to explore business expansion opportunities in Southeast Asia. China foreign direct investments (FDI) into ASEAN increased 81% from US$10.3 billion in 2016 to US$18.7 billion in 2022, reflecting ASEAN’s attractiveness to Chinese companies[1].

This collaboration draws on the strength of UOB’s Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) Advisory Unit, which was established in 2011 as a one-stop platform to help companies set up regional operations in Southeast Asia. To date, UOB’s FDI Advisory Unit has supported more than 1,500 Chinese companies expand beyond their shores, of which more than 90 per cent moved into Southeast Asia. Since 2020,  the FDI Advisory Unit has facilitated more than S$22 billion FDI into Southeast Asia from China and enabled the creation of more than 50,000 job opportunities in the region. UOB has 10 FDI Advisory Centres across the region to help companies lower the barriers as they look to expand across borders.

At the MOU signing ceremony held this morning at UOB Plaza, more than 100 delegates from major Chinese corporates and government agencies were present. Before visiting UOB in Singapore, the delegates also participated in the Malaysia-China Business Council meeting yesterday in Kuala Lumpur supported by UOB Malaysia. Ms Ng Wei Wei, UOB Malaysia’s Chief Executive Officer, also met CCPIT Chairman Ren Hongbin to discuss collaboration opportunities.

 

[1] MOFCOM, 2022 Statistical Bulletin of China’s Outward Foreign Direct Investment

 


KakaoBank Powers AI Innovation at Digital Realty’s ICN10 Data Center

Dedicated artificial intelligence (AI) lab to support KakaoBank’s fintech research and development for secure, convenient consumer mobile banking services

Digital Realty, the largest global provider of cloud- and carrier-neutral data center, colocation and interconnection solutions, today announced that KakaoBank, a leading mobile bank in Korea, has established an artificial intelligence (AI) lab at Digital Realty’s ICN10 data center in Seoul. This strategic investment, leveraging Digital Realty’s data center infrastructure and expertise, will empower KakaoBank to accelerate its AI-powered service enhancements, develop personalized content, and fuel research and development for new financial services.

KakaoBank selected Digital Realty’s ICN10 data center for its ability to deliver a dedicated, high-performance, and resilient environment with optimized cooling, layout, and connectivity options, to support highly effective AI deployments.

Advanced AI workloads, such as generative AI, demand precision-engineered power and cooling infrastructure capable of supporting high-power computing needs. ICN10 is equipped with high-density colocation services that can support up to 70 kilowatts (kW) per rack to address the demands of compute-intensive workloads. The data center utilizes innovative Air-Assisted Liquid Cooling (AALC) technologies, ensuring efficient heat dissipation and reliable support for the highest-performance graphics processing unit (GPU) servers in the industry.

Digital Realty’s modular and flexible data center design enabled KakaoBank to quickly deploy their AI solution at ICN10, with room to scale as their needs evolve.

Reliability is paramount in the financial services industry, where sudden disruptions in functionality can lead to critical breaks in customer trust. Digital Realty’s ICN10 data center features an N+1 designed redundant electrical and mechanical infrastructure to ensure seamless, uninterrupted operation. Digital Realty has been awarded Uptime Institute’s Tier 3 rating for maintenance without interruption and as of 2023, has achieved 16 consecutive years of five-nines high availability.

Data is critical for AI applications, which are turbocharged when they can extract insights across data sets. PlatformDIGITAL®, Digital Realty’s global data center platform, supports private cloud consumption by enabling secure and highly performant access to data sets across an enterprise’s ecosystem with ServiceFabric™, Digital Realty’s global service orchestration platform. Furthermore, ICN10’s dedicated access to AWS Direct Connect enables KakaoBank to connect their private infrastructure to AWS Asia Pacific (Seoul) Region, providing a low-latency, high-performance, secure, and cost-effective connectivity solution.

ICN10’s central location in Seoul’s Digital Media City, coupled with its network-neutral environment, offer KakaoBank an edge by minimizing latency and providing a multitude of connectivity options to existing data centers of domestic financial institutions across the country.

Hyun-chul Ahn, Chief Research and Development Officer of KakaoBank, said, “Through the opening of the AI center, we have created an environment to strengthen collaboration with the Kakao community, external academia, and companies. We plan to accelerate various AI-based businesses and research requiring complex operations, such as generative AI and language models, to gain more customers and continue to grow by enhancing our technological capabilities.”

Chris Han, Vice President, Head of Korea, Digital Realty, said, “Korea is gaining attention as one of the rapidly growing AI markets in Asia Pacific. Digital Realty has extensive experience as an enabler for global AI enterprises. With this experience, we will spare no effort to support KakaoBank’s AI innovation in the financial sector.”

 


Epson Robots to Showcase Innovative Automation Solutions at ATX West 2024

Epson Robots, the #1 SCARA robot manufacturer in the world, demonstrated its high performance SCARA robots and automation solutions at ATX West.

What: Built on four decades of expertise, Epson remains dedicated to delivering automation solutions to meet the growing demand for unique high-end automation across various industries – including medical device, packaging, electronics and consumer electronics markets. Epson Robots offers an extensive lineup to help manufacturers achieve higher throughput, improved quality and safer working environments. At ATX West, Epson will demonstrate its high-speed, high-precision robots, including:

Compact, High-Precision SCARA Robots – As part of the GX-Series lineup, the GX4 robot is equipped with Epson’s patented GYROPLUS® vibration reduction technology and RC700E controller with integrated SafeSenseTM technology, to accomplish the most demanding tasks with leading-edge precision to support higher throughput needs for high-precision applications. The GX4 offers multiple arm configurations, a reach of up to 350mm, and can handle payloads up to 4 kg from a small form factor. The demo will illustrate how the G1 Mini SCARA and GX4, with SafeSense technology, can achieve superior assembly and speed for repeatability to handle medical syringes and needles. Vision Guidance, integrated in Epson RC+® Industrial Automation Development Software, will present guidance and quality inspection of the needles’ coating.

High-Performance Parts-Feeding Solution – The RS4 robot uses a unique design to improve both work envelope usage and cycle throughput. This demo will showcase the IntelliFlex Feeding System with Epson RS-Series SCARA robots. Featuring dual IntelliFlex 240 parts feeders, this system demonstrates a pick and place operation with multiple feeders and multiple components per feeder, illustrating the ultimate in flexibility of the system. The IntelliFlex lineup has four feeder sizes and can handle a variety of parts from 3mm to 150mm with optional anti-roll, anti-stick and medical grade tray configurations.

Advanced Robotic Programming Software – Easy to learn, Epson RC+ Industrial Automation Development Software features a comprehensive suite of advanced tools, such as Vision Guidance, Force Guidance, Conveyor Tracking, Parts Feeding, and more.


IPCO Double Belt Presses And Precision Scattering Systems

IPCO, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of processing systems for composite materials, will use JEC 2024 to highlight the scope and capabilities of its ThermoPress double belt press systems, ScatterPro precision scattering lines and continuous film casting process.

 

The company is a globally-active engineering group, manufacturing and installing process systems for the production of a wide range of composite materials used in the automotive, aerospace, flooring, construction, non-woven, and textile industries.

 


Modular, multi-stage ThermoPress double belt presses

IPCO is the only manufacturer capable of supplying double belt press systems based on steel belts, PTFE belts or a combination of the two. Pilot systems based on all three types – an IPCO ThermoPress SB high pressure line using IPCO steels, a ThermoPress TB low pressure line based on PTFE belts and ThermoPress CB CombiBelt unit – are available for product trials and assessment at the company’s 1600 sq.m. Productivity Center near Stuttgart, Germany.

The modular design of ThermoPress systems enables multiple stages of production – including polymerization, curing and cooling – to be incorporated into a single process. A choice of belt types and pressure modules allows systems to be configured to meet virtually any pressure and heating requirements.

A full range of processes can be assessed at IPCO’s test facility, from pressing, lamination and impregnation, to cooling and tempering. Applications include consolidation of pre-laminated sheets and impregnation of fibers with resin. Resin can also be applied in powder, film or liquid form onto a non-woven or felt material.

IPCO ThermoPress double belt press

ScatterPro precision scattering for composites

Complementing the ThermoPress range, IPCO manufacturers a range of high precision scattering systems that can be incorporated into production lines to scatter powder, granulate or fibers onto a carrier material before being formed by pressure and/or heat.

The ScatterPro P model is a powder scattering unit used in the production of flooring, filters, electronics, smart chips and more. The ScatterPro F enables uniform scattering of fibrous materials used in the manufacture of products for the automotive, textile, recycling and construction industries. A modular design allows multiple stages to be incorporated into one continuous process.

 

IPCO ScatterPro precission scattering system

Film casting with high precision Venturi drying

IPCO will also showcase the benefits of its continuous film casting units and Venturi drying systems. The quality of films produced using this process makes them ideally suited for use as separator membranes and ceramic tapes in energy storage applications.

The three main components of the system are a precision slot die, a polished steel belt and the Venturi dryer. The slot die coater delivers a uniform casting of the product onto a moving steel belt. The film is carried to the Venturi dryer, a technology unique to IPCO for this application and one that eliminates any risk of skin formation on the product.

 

IPCO steel belts

IPCO manufactured the world’s first steel belt in 1901 and has maintained its position as a world leader in steel belt technology for more than 120 years. IPCO steel belts are used in applications ranging from conveying and cooling to heating and pressing.

Their main applications in composite processing are in high-pressure ThermoPress SB systems used in the production of thermoset/thermoplastic composite materials, and hybrid ThermoPress CB CombiBelt lines, where they are used to create high pressure modules within the forming zone of PTFE belt-based double belt presses.


Quality Inspection And Big Data

~ How production managers can increase yield through automating defect detection ~

The main benefit of deploying AI for quality inspection is significant improvements in defect detection. However, the data generated and stored by inspection systems has the potential to deliver additional benefits, including major improvements in yield. Here, Miron Shtiglitz, director of product management at quality inspection software specialist QualiSense, explores the value of this data in greater depth.

Anyone working in the world of quality inspection will be aware of the limits of manual inspection and the potential benefits of greater automation, including systems that use artificial intelligence (AI) and deep learning algorithms. With recent advances in AI, the most sophisticated inspection systems available today can reduce the error rate to below one per cent. For manual inspectors in comparison, a host of factors such as fatigue and cognitive bias mean the error rate is usually closer to ten per cent. However, a significantly reduced error rate is not the only area where automation can make an impact.

 

The limits of manual inspection

On high volume production lines where one hundred per cent inspection is required, manual inspectors do not have the time or capacity to record information about defects. In most cases, a human inspector can do little more than alert their supervisor if there was a higher number of defects on their shift.

If inspectors are required to inspect one or two parts per minute, the most that can be expected is a quick checkbox system. The variety of this data is very limited, which undermines its value. Many factories operate along these lines and in some cases hard copies, rather than digital records, are still the norm.

In some factories, manual inspectors are required to inspect parts at a rate of twenty per minute. In such cases, there is no time to log anything, or store any data pertaining to the type of defect or its frequency. When a defect is detected, the part is simply discarded onto a pile. While this could be reviewed later offline, the information it would yield is very limited as all the parts are mixed up.

At the opposite end of the spectrum, where one hundred per cent inspection is not required and sampling is used instead, any data generated is limited by the lower volume. With a much smaller sample size, the data cannot pinpoint where the problems really lie.

 

 

The three Vs of big data

The concept of big data has been around since the 1990s and has gained increasing traction in recent years with the arrival of smart factories. The latter go hand in hand with the arrival of industry 4.0, which aims to provide greater traceability and derive additional data from manufacturing systems. When thinking about big data, it is useful to refer to the three Vs: volume, velocity and variety.

In terms of volume, the introduction of inspection systems that can replace manual inspectors has enormous implications. These systems automatically store data generated about defects on a database. The impact of this will be greatest in applications where there is currently less than one hundred per cent inspection. Once a system is installed, it makes no difference from the machine’s point of view whether it inspects one part every hour or one part every second, so the result will be a massive increase in data for applications where sampling was previously the norm.

From a velocity perspective, the data generated by these systems is vastly superior to that provided by manual inspection, as processing and categorisation is generally done in real-time. Managers can be automatically updated by email or SMS if, for example, there is a sudden increase in the volume of defects during a shift. This does not detract from the value of being able to retrospectively review the data, but the opportunity for real-time alerts, and therefore instantaneous action, is a significant step forward for production managers.

Perhaps most important is the variety of this data. Where manual inspectors can rarely log much more than whether a part if okay or not, quality inspection systems can record more detailed data pertaining to things like type of defect. Systems that utilise deep learning algorithms will be far superior in the variety of data, and the accuracy of that data, when compared to more simple systems that rely on rule-based algorithms. That is one of the benefits of augmented AI.

 

Unlocking the potential

The greater the variety of data and the more this data can be correlated with data from other machines and their sensors, the greater the possibilities for optimising production processes. For example, maintenance schedules could be optimised using data that showed the correlations between defect frequency and length of intervals between maintenance activity; correlations between a category of defect and a specific machine or production line could help guide root cause analysis to find where defects were being introduced.

Once gathered, data is automatically stored in a database, where it awaits analysis. At this stage the correct query is key to unlocking the value contained in the data. Standard analytical tools available will allow users to create their own dashboard for this purpose. This data can be integrated with other systems, like a manufacturing execution system, to further increase its potential value.

At QualiSense, our primary mission is developing software that will automate the process of model building when using AI for visual inspection.  Working with leading manufacturers like Johnson Electric has given us access to vast quantities of proprietary data for model training. Our immediate aim is to build a system identifies defects. The data generated by our AI system in defect detection is automatically stored on a database and can be accessed using standard analytical tools. Our longer-term goal however, is to supplement this with the development of our own analytical tools which will help not only spot defects when they arise, but to avoid them in the first place during the design phase.

QualiSense is on a mission is to deliver a fast, scalable and universally accessible augmented AI platform for production quality assurance. Discover more at qualisense.ai


 

TANAKA to Provide Pure Gold, Pure Silver, and Pure Bronze Medals for the Tokyo Marathon 2024

Welcome and embrace participants from all over the world with a woven obi design

TOKYO, Feb 21, 2024 – (JCN Newswire) – TANAKA Holdings Co., Ltd. (Head office: Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; Group CEO: Koichiro Tanaka) will provide and donate pure gold, pure silver, and pure bronze medals to the top three men and women finishers of the marathon and wheelchair marathon events at the Tokyo Marathon 2024. The Tokyo Marathon 2024 is organized by the Tokyo Marathon Foundation, and will be held on March 3, 2024; the wheelchair marathon has been officially sanctioned as an international event since 2016.

 

Rare Medals Made from Pure Gold, Pure Silver, and Pure Bronze ~Expressing the “Inclusive Power Woven by Obi” Through Design~

The Tokyo Marathon medals provided by TANAKA Holdings are made from pure gold, pure silver, and pure bronze — this makes them special and unique among sports medals and rarities of considerable value. The medals presented to the top three finishers are approximately 65 mm in diameter and approximately 2.8 mm thick; the weights of pure gold, pure silver, and pure bronze are approximately 180 grams, 100 grams, and 85 grams, respectively.

The gold, silver, and bronze medals feature the Tokyo Marathon 2024 event logo in the center, as if it is wrapped in an obi. The spherical event logo is reminiscent of the earth and represents the diverse range of people from all over the world who gather at the 2024 event. The area wrapped by the obi symbolizes the welcoming and inclusive nature of the various participants. This design is also inspired by the traditional Japanese temari ball, containing wishes for “a good match” and “harmony.”

On the backside of the medal, “Tokyo Marathon 2024” is designed in braille and inscribed with the logo of the TANAKA Precious Metals Group and the slogan “TOKYO, My Favorite Place…” The ribbon design of the medal was inspired by the event logo, which is a tapestry-like design of overlapping individual lines that represent each runner, volunteer, and spectator.

 

About the Tokyo Marathon 2024

 

The Tokyo Marathon 2024 is the 17th edition of one of the largest public participation marathons in Japan. The Tokyo Marathon 2024 will be held under the slogan of “TOKYO, My Favorite Place…” and the event aims to be the warmest in the world, to encourage people to enjoying running in Tokyo, to value the diversity of each and every individual, and to depict Tokyo as “My Favorite Place” more than anywhere else in the world.

The TANAKA Precious Metals Group has produced the winner medals and finisher medals for every Tokyo Marathon since the first held in 2007, with this year marking the 17th year. The Tokyo Marathon joined the World Marathon Majors (currently the Abbott World Marathon Majors) in 2013, attracting global attention as one of the world’s six premier marathons. The TANAKA Precious Metals Group has produced and sold various commemorative medals other than for the Tokyo Marathon, including the official commemorative medals for the 1964 Tokyo Olympic Games. The TANAKA Precious Metals Group will actively continue to produce medals made of precious metals and support the promotion of sports with the aim of contributing to the realization of a prosperous society.

 

Overview of the Tokyo Marathon 2024 Medals

Weight and size

Pure Gold Medal: approx. 180g; approx. 65 mm in diameter and 2.8 mm thick

Pure Silver Medal: approx. 100g; approx. 65 mm in diameter and 2.8 mm thick

Pure Bronze Medal: approx. 85g; approx. 65 mm in diameter and 2.8 mm thick

 

 


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