MSC supports CloudNC in the aim to deliver the future of manufacturing
MSC Industrial Supply Co. (MSC) is supporting autonomous manufacturing disruptor CloudNC in its objective to revolutionise the subcontracting market.
MSC has been appointed by CloudNC on a two-year contract covering vending solutions across metalworking and maintenance, repair and operations (MRO) categories. MSC will also provide engineering support to identify and deliver cost down efficiencies for CloudNC.
Founded in 2015, CloudNC is on a mission to transform subcontract manufacturing activities. The UK-based precision engineering firm has introduced a pioneering artificial intelligence (AI) approach to manufacturing, using highly advanced CNC programming capabilities.
The entrepreneurial business has ambitious growth plans for the future, having secured government grants and venture capital funding, and plans to open manufacturing plants around the world, which will automate and streamline the precision manufacturing process.
MSC will initially support CloudNC at Factory 1 in Chelmsford, Essex, which is the first CloudNC factory. The state-of-the-art facility embraces robotics and Industry 4.0 principles of connectivity and automation to deliver faster, more reliable and more cost-effective CNC machining.
Theo Saville, Co-founder and CEO of CloudNC, says: “The MSC team shares our vision for an autonomous manufacturing future and has worked with us to develop a tool management system to help achieve this. We look forward to the integration of this tool vending solution into our Factory Operating System, bringing autonomous software control to another key aspect of the precision manufacturing process, to drive faster turnaround and even lower prices for our customers.”
Alasdair McCallum, regional sales manager at MSC, says: “We look forward to supporting CloudNC in its ambition to automate and advance manufacturing processes by delivering our first-class engineering and technical support and cost-saving solutions.
“It’s exciting to think that we will play a part in helping CloudNC achieve their ambitious vision for the future, and as a result help shape what manufacturing in the UK might look like in years to come.”
MSC is a leader in the supply of Metalworking and MRO products. MSC helps organisations deliver operational excellence by providing engineering support across a variety of industries and metalworking applications. Whatever the challenge, MSC finds the right tool for the job and develops solutions to improve performance.
MSC helps drive greater productivity, profitability and growth with over 120,000 products, inventory management and supply chain solutions, and offers extensive engineering and technical expertise from years of working across different industries.
At the heart of MSC is its commitment to give customers control and its ability to demonstrate time and cost savings. Through its relationships with over 500 suppliers, it offers the broadest range of metalworking and MRO products.
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CloudNC launches a new gold standard for UK manufacturing
London-based CloudNC has launched a new era for CNC machined parts with the opening of the first of several planned UK factories offering aerospace-grade quality at a fraction of the price of existing alternatives. In what has been dubbed a step-change for CNC machining, the company has set its sights on rapid global expansion into the £100bn global industry responsible for the manufacture of parts for everything from the aircraft and automotive industries, to consumer, medical, defence, and oil & gas applications.
At the heart of the new approach is breakthrough AI software, developed by CloudNC, which shortens the programming time for CNC machining of parts from days or weeks of an expert’s time, to just a few minutes and with no expertise required. The software also leverages the huge computing power available in the cloud to vastly reduce machining cycle times over what is currently possible, resulting in a corresponding reduction in production cost. These two advantages combine to enable breakthrough pricing whether producing a single unit, or hundreds of thousands.
But there is much more to the start-up than AI software. As co-founder and CEO Theo Saville explains, CloudNC is entirely focused on building the world’s most efficient, most flexible factories, making machining faster, cheaper and at a much higher quality by applying the best practices of hypergrowth technology companies to manufacturing.
He says: “Starting with a clean slate means we’ve been able to apply a digital-first approach from the outset, without needing to consider integrating existing legacy systems or technologies. Apart from our software, we’re also applying the best industry 4.0 technology available to make Factory 1 as efficient and flexible as possible. Where that technology doesn’t exist, or isn’t mature enough in our sector, we’re designing it.”
Creating the gold standard in manufacturing involves developing a business structure and approach that is more common in hyper-growth tech start-ups than in manufacturing and CloudNC places a high value on attracting, retaining and developing the best talent across all areas of the business from production to software engineering. After all, says Theo Saville: “Technology can’t change the world on its own; it needs to be combined with amazing people who can make it happen.”
Factory 1, which opened in the spring in Chelmsford, Essex, is the first CloudNC factory and it exemplifies the CloudNC approach. Using the best CNC machinery available from the likes of DMG Mori and Mazak, it also applies robotics from Erowa and embraces Industry 4.0 principles of connectivity and automation to deliver a faster, more reliable CNC parts machining experience to customers. According to Theo Saville: “CloudNC is on a development curve that has not been seen in the manufacturing space before. Just six months ago, our Chelmsford site was just a couple of guys with laptops and some camping equipment. Now it is a highly efficient, highly automated facility functioning close to capacity and we are looking at Factory 2 and beyond while we continue to implement more autonomous I4 technologies at Factory 1 and apply what we learn at every step.”
CloudNC’s ultimate mission is to provide a service that is fully automated. The pricing, the manufacture and even the raw materials will be shipped in and loaded automatically by robots in state-of-the-art factories. Inspection, verification, packaging and fulfilment will also be carried out autonomously, further reducing the time and cost of CNC parts manufacture for industry. Expert staff will take over only in the most challenging and interesting scenarios.
The company was founded in 2015 by CEO Theo Saville and CTO and software engineer Chris Emery. It has grown to employ more than 70 staff including some of the world’s leading software engineers and a management team with vast experience scaling tech start-ups to become some of the most successful companies in the world, including the likes of Uber, Betfair and Fetchr. Also within the leadership team is cutting-edge experience with Industry 4.0 and greenfield assembly of large-scale aerospace, space and automotive operations.
Since launch, the company has benefitted from multiple government grants and support from government agencies including InnovateUK, the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC), the Manufacturing Technology Centre (MTC) and Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG). CloudNC has also raised more than £11.5 million in Venture Capital (VC) funding to date, from some of the top investors in the world, that it used to develop the powerful AI software from the ground up and Factory 1 was opened in spring 2019.
Chief commercial officer, Rami Saab, says that CloudNC offers a window into the future: “A revolution that is gathering momentum and it’s coming not a moment too soon for industry.’’ The best part, according to Rami Saab, is that now CloudNC is operational. He concludes: “The only thing customers need to do to get a taste for the future for CNC machining is to send us a CAD design for a part or product and see for yourself how quickly and cost-effectively we can deliver a superior result.”