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.”
Sales start of Q Industry 4.0 capable Kjellberg system
Production of the new generation of plasma cutting systems is in full swing
German producer of plasma cutting systems, Kjellberg Finsterwalde will celebrate its anniversary “60 years of plasma cutting technologies” in autumn 2019. For this occasion, the new benchmark in plasma Q 3000 ready for industry 4.0 will be launched, as Thomas Kagemann, managing director of Kjellberg sales, revealed during an interview at the Hanover tradeshow this year.
This new generation of plasma cutting units promises optimised processes for production. This is made possible, by among other things, faster cutting cycles, extended lifetime of consumables and certain eServices like remote maintenance and automatic software updates. Due to the modular design, the Q plus is very flexible for upgrade of power classes. A particular highlight is the integrated Silent Cut technology, thus reducing the noise of the plasma cutting process. The Q went through intensive industrial testing. First results have already been greeted with enthusiasm by Kjellberg partners as posts on LinkedIN, for example, indicate.
A company with a long tradition in metalworking
Kjellberg offers a wide range of solutions for the metalworking industry. With the vision to increase the productivity for users, Kjellberg Finsterwalde has continuously expanded its portfolio since the foundation in 1922. Today, the company offers solutions for welding, plasma and laser cutting, wear protection as well as for the manufacture of customised special machines and tools for metalworking.
Bound by a seal of quality: premium in every segment
It is Kjellberg’s ambition to produce premium quality “Made in Germany” products and solutions at all levels. In order to maintain this standard, it has established a quality management system according to ISO 9001. It is checked and certified according to DNVGL, one of the biggest international classification societies worldwide. The quality of the products is geared to the expectations of customers and starts already with the selection of suppliers and raw materials. At every stage of production, up to the dispatch to our customers, tests and the survey of samples are carried out.
Lantek strengthens its global presence with more than 22,000 customers
Lantek, a pioneering multinational in the digital transformation of the sheet metal and fabrication sector, continues its unstoppable growth in market presence and number of customers. The multinational company of Basque origin founded in 1986 has just exceeded the figure of 22,000 companies using its licenses and/or services, spread over more than 100 different countries on five continents. Year on year, the company continues to increase both its number of customers and its turnover at a rate that demonstrates its strength in the different markets which it serves.
Lantek’s constant commitment to innovation plays an essential role in these results. This policy has allowed it to evolve, since its launch more than 30 years ago, into a company specializing in the development, sale and integration of control and management software solutions for industrial plants (CADCAM, MES, ERP) as well as, a pioneer in advanced manufacturing applications in sheet metal, tube and profile cutting. Its innovations have enabled it to become a multinational technological leader in its sector through the addition of new industry specific manufacturing solutions to its traditional portfolio.
Lantek’s solutions respond to specific problems which are set to be resolved by digitalising the sheet metal industry, allowing manufacturers to undertake the transition to Industry 4.0 and become more competitive and efficient in a global market.
Of the existing 22,359 customers who rely on Lantek solutions, the majority come from the laser cutting machine sector, followed by the oxycut-plasma, punching and waterjet cutting machine sectors. In terms of their profile, the clear trend is increasingly demanding and connected customers. These are companies with several plants in different countries in which the supply chain life cycle is integrated with both customers and suppliers. Infrastructure developments which are a response to the progress of the industry and its organizational complexity.
“The significant increase in the number of customers is clearly reflected in the company’s results. In the last financial year, Lantek recorded a growth of 10 percent in turnover, cementing a solid financial position that gives us the resources us to take on the growth necessary to face the new challenges of Industry 4.0”, states Lantek sales director Juan José Colás.
Lantek is leading the way in the digital transformation of companies in the sheet metal and metal industry. With its patented smart manufacturing software, it enables factories to be connected, turning them into Smart Factories. It rounds off its range of services with CAD, CAM, MES, and ERP solutions for companies that manufacture metal parts from sheet metal, tubes and profiles using any cutting technology (laser, plasma, oxycut, waterjet, shearing, and punching).
Founded in 1986 in the Basque Country (Spain), one of the main European hubs of machine tool development, Lantek enables the integration of sheet metal and metal processing technologies using the most advanced manufacturing management software. The company is currently the outstanding leader in its sector thanks to its capacity for innovation and commitment to internationalisation. With more than 22,359 customers in over 100 countries and 20 offices in 14 countries, it has an extensive network of distributors with an international presence. In 2018, its international business contributed to 86 percent of its revenue.
Free ZEISS Webinar: Unlock the power of your quality data Wednesday 12th September, 09:30 – 10:00
On the road to Industry 4.0, measurement and inspection technology is increasingly being used as a control tool in manufacturing. However, as a part of this new role, the technology needs to capture quality data quickly and flexibly at different sites: in the measuring room, at-line and in-line. The technology also needs to merge and evaluate the data, making it available to persons and machines for control input. That’s where the ZEISS Quality Network comes in.
ZEISS quality data management software provides dynamic graphic reports, with the ability to combine quality data from multiple measuring systems. With the new digital solutions from ZEISS, users can also remotely monitor the condition of machines via their smartphone, reducing any potential downtime thanks to the predictive maintenance features.
For anyone who wants to learn more, ZEISS will be holding a free webinar “Unlock the power of your quality data”, on Wednesday 12th September between 09:30 – 10:00. Online registration is now open at www.zeiss.co.uk/quality-data-webinar
The company will be answering the following questions during the session:
• How can you collect your quality data effectively?
• How can you display your real-time data in a user-friendly way?
• How can you access your data anytime, anywhere?
• How can you use this data to increase your productivity?
Highlights of the webinar include an overview of the ZEISS quality data management software and how this provides you with dynamic graphic reports with the ability to combine quality data from multiple measuring systems. What’s more, understand how you can use ZEISS Digital Solutions to remotely monitor the condition of your machines to reduce any potential downtime.
Join us for this free webinar if you’re looking to better understand the power of your quality data and how it can drive your business decisions in the future.
Places for the webinar can be booked online at www.zeiss.co.uk/quality-data-webinar
Carl Zeiss Ltd
Tel: 01223 401500
Walter adds to its digital Engineering Kompetenz
With the acquisition of its long-standing software partner Comara GmbH, tooling expert Walter is reinforcing its decision to strive for further growth in the digital sector and build on the company’s Engineering Kompetenz.
Walter AG president, Mirko Merlo states: “This is a key strategic step towards expanding our digital portfolio and further developing our company towards Industry 4.0.”
Acquiring Comara constitutes the next logical step in Walter’s development from product to process partner, he says, and now to digital process partner, too.
The objective is to be able to understand and interpret processes in a holistic way and to develop digital solutions that enable Walter’s customers to boost their productivity and efficiency across the entire process chain, again demonstrating how, together with customers, Walter will always find the best solutions.
Comara will remain an autonomous operation with separate products and its own retail arm.