A couple of news items came my way yesterday. The first is news from Inductive Automation from its conference last month. I wrote about the applications a variety of customers presented and about the awards the company presented to the ones judged best. This release talks about them. What I miss most about attending some of these conferences in person are the breakfast and lunch impromptu discussions with users about what they really do rather than what marketing people present in a polished form. The second release from Festo discusses initiatives in robot use in healthcare. All this is about advancing ideas. Perhaps you can get an idea from these to advance your own use of technology!

Inductive Automation Announces 2021 Ignition Firebrand Awards

Inductive Automation has selected the recipients of its Ignition Firebrand Awards for 2021. The Ignition Firebrand Awards recognize system integrators and industrial organizations that use the Ignition software platform to create innovative new projects. 

“We had some unique projects that earned Firebrand Awards this year,” said Don Pearson, chief strategy officer for Inductive Automation. “Whether it was for a well-known organization like Smithfield, or an Australian company making high-speed catamarans, or a team building a large COVID-testing lab in record time, the companies that created these Ignition projects achieved outstanding results. It’s really inspiring for us to see all the innovation from people who are part of the Ignition community.”

The 2021 Ignition Firebrand Award winners are:

  • BHP, a global resources leader, created a high-performance HMI to help technicians monitor data at a large operations center in BHP’s minerals division. Data is collected from more than 30 sites across Australia, thousands of devices, and 1.1 million tags.  The single user interface has brought numerous benefits, including having all data displayed in one place, less downtime in operations, and cost savings. See the video.
  • CPM Beta Raven improved feed mill operations for Smithfield Hog Production by deploying a modern SCADA platform at the mill in Milford, Utah. The mill produces 12,000 tons of animal feed per week, which feeds 1.7 million pigs per year. With the new solution, Smithfield has greater access to data, and is more able to produce huge batches with strict tolerances. See the video.
  • Cromarty provided a new Ship Integrated Management System to Incat, a leading maker of high-speed catamarans used for ferrying passengers, vehicles, and more. The new system manages data from various inputs and displays it in a consistent manner on operator workstations throughout a vessel. Incat has made 100 vessels thus far, with the new system being used on several of its most recent ships. See the video.
  • DMC helped Ginkgo Bioworks create a large, high-capacity lab for COVID testing in just nine months. With morethan 40 automated work cells, robots, PLCs, lab equipment, and vision inspection systems, the highly automated lab had the capacity to process 100,000 samples per day. The project was developed amidst constantly changing requirements, yet seamlessly combined both industrial and biological automation. See the video.

Information on all 15 Discover Gallery projects can be seen here.

The ICC 2021 keynote and other conference videos can be seen here.

Festo and MassRobotics Select Companies for the Inaugural Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst Program 

The first four companies in the inaugural Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst program have been selected by Festo and MassRobotics. The Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst is a new program for the global robotics startup community to advance healthcare developments by providing promising companies with investor and customer introductions, access to subject-matter experts, and a range of technical and marketing support resources. 

The robotics companies selected include Assistive Technology, an American startup dedicated to at-home physical therapy solutions that are operable at a low cost and always accessible to rural patients and those who need closer monitoring for recovery. Swiss firm Bionomous provides laboratory equipment to automate the screening, sorting, and pipetting of miniature biological entities for more ethical and faster research in life science. Eureka Robotics, Singapore-based, develops and commercializes cutting-edge robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies to automate high-accuracy, high-agility tasks. Finally, Canada’s Kinarm uses robotic arms to provide an objective assessment method to identify, measure, and track cognitive, motor, or sensory impairments resulting from injury or disease. 

These four startups will have access to the innovation centers and engineering teams of Festo, one of the world’s leading automation companies, and collaborating corporate partners. 

With the onset of the pandemic, the lack of awareness between the healthcare and technology communities was evident in terms of how robotics could be applied to ease staffing concerns and reduce the potential spread of the virus. Many unmet and untapped white spaces were identified, which initiated the development of a MassRobotics Healthcare Robotics Working Group and the Catalyst Program.  

The inaugural catalyst program runs from now through March 2022. For additional information visit the Healthcare Robotics Startup Catalyst program webpage.

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