AMRC drives innovation in technology and circular economy
At the forefront of innovative recycling technology, the University of Sheffield Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC) is harnessing its simulation capabilities to develop an automated scrap sorting technology to drive a circular economy.
Advanced Alloys partners with AMRC
Advanced Alloys, founded in 1993 is an independent company that buys, sells and processes pure metals and high-temperature alloys for aerospace, oil and gas, power generation and medical industries.
In its report, AMRC states that Advanced Alloys aerospace scap is currently sorted manually, making it difficult to determine the grade and composition of the different materials, and currently rare elements found in aerospace alloys.
“This results in high-value elements being amalgamated in lower value materials, such as stainless variants,” stated AMRC, who has been working with Advanced Alloys as part of the High Value Manufacturing (HVM) Catapult network of research centres to improve and automate the process.
As part of a commitment to support small and medium sized businesses (SMBs), the project was paid for using funds from the HMV Catapult.
As part of the project a team of engineers from the AMRC’s Factory 2050 facility collaborated with Advanced Alloys, suggesting technologies that could be used to automate the process such as cameras, robotics, conveyors, inscribing technology and high-speed X-ray fluorescence.
AMRC also provided the company with advice on understanding the cost and benefits associated with the technology.
“The suggestions we had from the AMRC took us to the edge of what is currently possible, and further refinement of image analysis software, in particular, would help us get to where we want to be. Robotics is great at identifying pieces and components of a regular size and shape, but we're often looking at irregular shapes, sharp edges, and an array of different sizes. We're pushing at the limits of technology here. The strength of the AMRC is in adapting developments at the cutting edge of new technology into the workplace, and it is inspirational to see,” commented Stephen Hall, Managing Director of Advanced Alloys.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.