Feb 27, 2021

Breakthrough; Lowering emissions in steel manufacturing

Sustainability
emissions
research
Innovation
Laura V. Garcia
2 min
Steel manufacturing
Engineers at the University of Sheffield have developed a new way to manufacture steel that could help to lower CO₂ emissions from the car industry...

Just as Bill Gates warns us that climate goals may hit a roadblock when it comes to manufacturing, most especially when it comes to steel and cement, and calls for research and innovation, the University of Sheffield reports on a breakthrough study.

Published by the journal Nature, in the study, Professor Mark Rainforth and Dr Junheng Gao from the University’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering led a team who developed a new way of making lightweight, high strength steel that may be adapted for mass manufacturing.

The new technique developed can produce steel with a strength of nearly 2GPa (a 1cm diameter wire would be capable of holding a weight of 15 tonnes) and an elongation of 45 per cent (meaning it is able of being formed into complex shapes), showing how ultra-fine grained streel can deliver superior mechanical properties.

“The secret behind this success is the inclusion of copper - an element which is traditionally avoided in steel production because of the detrimental effects it can have on the properties of particular types of steel.

“Copper is increasingly being found in recycled steels because much of it is made using recycled cars and other engineered items that contain electrical wiring. With steelmakers looking to use more recycled materials in their production process to become more sustainable, copper is now being seen as unavoidable by the industry,” says the University of Sheffield.

This new process for manufacturing lightweight, high performing steel could help auto manufacturers looking to manufacture lighter, more sustainable vehicles.

“Copper is typically seen as an element to avoid by steelmakers as it can have a negative impact on certain types of steel. However, what we’ve managed to do here at Sheffield is develop a completely new technique that is able to harness copper in a positive way in order to produce a truly world-leading quality of steel. This steel is high strength and incredibly lightweight, meaning it can be used to manufacture vehicles that are better for the environment,” said Professor Mark Rainforth, Professor of Materials Science and Engineering at the University of Sheffield.

For more on the Sheffield team’s new development, see Breakthrough in steel manufacturing could lower carbon emissions from the car industry. 

Share article

Jun 16, 2021

Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line

Fluentai
BSH
AI
Technology
2 min
Fluent.ai and BSH announce plans to bring speech-to-intent AI to the assembly line that will increase factory efficiency and improve worker ergonomics

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’. 

 

 

Share article