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$1.6bn start-up’s software will ‘liberate’ manufacturers

21 September, 2021

Bright Machines, the US automation start-up that was valued at $1.6bn when it announced its intention to go public earlier this year, has released a software package “that liberates manufacturers from the constraints of traditional factory automation and introduces a new self-service capability that enables flexible automation at greater speed and lower cost”.

The Brightware Studio software gives production line operators and technicians the ability to program, run, analyse and debug assembly process on the factory floor. It adds extra functions to Bright Machines’ flagship Microfactory technology which combines intelligent software and modular building blocks to automate repetitive assembly and inspection tasks. Microfactories will now come with the software which can be used to reprogram lines and accommodate product changes.

“Software-driven automation has proven to be one of the most effective ways for manufacturers to stay resilient and competitive in today’s unpredictable economic environment,” says Bright Machines’ CEO and co-founder, Amar Hanspal. “Brightware Studio elevates our current Microfactory offering with enhanced software functionality that equips customers with the flexibility to quickly respond to changing consumer demands.”

Once a Microfactory is installed, operators and technicians can use the software to make changes or add steps to the production line – including reconfiguring assembly instructions or adjusting device settings.

Bright Machines claim that the software will deliver the following benefits:

Reduced vendor dependency Unlike traditional automation, the software’s self-service capabilities mean that manufacturers no longer need to rely on technical experts, system integrators or other automation vendors to make changes, thus improving their ability to respond to market changes and to increase the efficiency of their lines.

Advanced customisation Users can set up customised warnings, alerts and diagnostics to tailor their automation experience.

Line monitoring without downtime Users can view their equipment status, track key performance indicators, set up alerts and notifications, customise data visualisations and more. Installations are said to work from day one, because all of the integration work associated with data collection, data modelling, semantic mapping and data visualisation has already been done upfront.

Bright Machines claims that its new software will empower manufacturers to configure and optimise automated assembly operations quickly and easily

A standardised user experience An intuitive user interface and easy-to-use controls reduce the need for training and enable operators to manage Brightware Studio lines with ease.

“Manufacturers face many bottlenecks in the path to automation, including vendor or system integrator lock-ins, long deployment times, and clunky user interfaces,” explains Bright Machines’ chief product officer, Abhishek Pani. “By removing many of the hurdles that have traditionally made factory automation challenging or laborious, Brightware Studio makes the management of next-generation automation virtually effortless.”

Brightware Studio is being offered on a subscription basis with all new Microfactories.

Bright Machines, headquartered in San Francisco, was founded in 2018 and now has more than 550 employees worldwide, with r&d centres in the US and Israel. It says it is pioneering a new approach to intelligent, software-defined manufacturing using computer vision, machine learning, 3D simulation, and robotics to change the flexibility, scalability, and economics of production.

In May of this year, the company indicated its intent to merge with a SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) called SCVX to become a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange. In the process, it expects to raise $435m in cash, adding to the $179m it raised when it launched in 2018.

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