The Genix Copilot user interface is designed to help provide users with easier to understand insights on their operations to help with sustainability and productivity improvements.

This Week in Power & Motion: ABB and Microsoft Bringing Generative AI to Industrial Applications

July 7, 2023
ABB plans to use Generative AI as a way to provide customers with more operational insights, igus has invested in a plastics recycling startup and more industry news you may have missed.

There is much going on in the world of hydraulics, pneumatics and electronics motion systems, from technology introductions and industry advancements to new trends and industry leaders. Each week the Power & Motion team collects some of the latest industry news to help keep our readers up to date on what's happening in the fluid power and motion control sectors as well as the industries they serve.

STLE Hosting Digital Tribology Symposium

The Society of Tribologists and Lubrication Engineers (STLE) is hosting a virtual symposium on digital advancements in tribology. Virtual Symposium: Digital Tribology will take place over two days, July 19 and 20, 2023 from 8:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. CDT.

Per STLE, the symposium will bring together leading computational, experimental and data scientists for discussions aimed at advancing the understanding of mechanical, chemical, and electrical processes on surfaces, lubricants and tribosystems. Current research areas will be reviewed as well as strategies for leveraging computing technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning methods. 

"New digital advancements are enabling tribological capabilities not possible before now," said Edward P. Salek, CAE, STLE executive director, in the society's press release announcing the event. "And our new symposium will allow members of the tribology and lubrication fields to collaborate and get the information they need to stay ahead of what’s next in digital tribology."

Themes for the symposium will include: 

  • Introduction to data science, AI/ML and related topics 
  • Data-driven design of new tribo-surfaces and interfaces
  • Tribology under extreme environments and highly non-equilibrium conditions 
  • Capturing multiscale and multiphysics phenomena in tribosystems. 

igus Invests in Plastics Recycling Startup 

igus has made an investment in cirplus, GmbH, a Hamburg-based startup offering a digital marketplace at which  standardized recyclates can be purchased. Both companies are working to expand the use of recycled materials, particularly plastics which are typically thrown away once they reach the end of their service life.

But through its Chainge program, igus is working to reduce plastic waste by helping customers access plastics recycling for their cable carriers and energy chain no matter the manufacturer. Its digital platform for Chainge provides information on recycling as well as a way for processing companies to purchase recycled plastics. The cirplus digital technology will help further these efforts. 

cirplus, mainly active in markets for standard thermoplastics, has created a digital marketplace where disposal companies, recyclers, and product manufacturers can purchase recycled material (i.e., recyclates) in a reliable, traceable and cost-effective manner. Its platform is available to customers worldwide. The startup also helped with the creation of a global standard for high-quality plastics recycling, DIN SPEC 91446 and DIN SPEC 91481 to ensure the supply chain for recycled plastic materials would be a reliable and transparent one — necessary to ensure it achieves global waste reduction goals. 

Investing in cirplus will help to create a single source from which customers can find and purchase recycled materials, making it easier on them while also providing a reliable source of product. 

READ MORE: Getting Connected to Sustainability

RISE Robotics Appoints New VP of Engineering

RISE Robotics has named Selma Svendsen as its new Vice President of Engineering. Svendsen brings over two decades of experience to the role, including expertise in the areas of engineering, global strategic sourcing and new product introductions. 

In her new role, Svendsen will be lead the company's product development efforts which are in line with RISE's product roadmap. A key area of focus will be on optimization of product performance and reliability as well as working to reduce the costs of products under development. 

RISE Robotics states in its press release announcing Svendsen's appointment that the company is looking forward to her joining the team and bringing her expertise. Throughout her career, Svendsen has made many engineering contributions for which she has been honored including "Best Invention" recognition by Time Magazine, the "Best of What's New" Popular Science award, and induction into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame in 2017. 

Svendsen also expressed her excitement at joining the RISE Robotics team, saying "I firmly believe that sustainable growth necessitates innovation, assembling the right talent, establishing effective governance, fostering healthy workplace environments, and embracing flexibility. At RISE™ Robotics, I am eager to develop strategic plans that encapsulate these vital elements and yield tangible results."

READ MORE about the company's electromechanical cylinder technology and how it can help to improve efficiency in heavy-duty applications.

ABB Collaborating with Microsoft on Generative AI for Industrial Applications

ABB plans to expand its relationship with Microsoft by enabling industrial customers to use generative AI (artificial intelligence). The goal is to help customers get more insights from their operational data, allowing them to improve their productivity and efficiency, asset reliability, lower energy consumption and more.

The companies will integrate Microsoft's Azure OpenAI Service into the ABB Ability Genix Industrial Analytics and AI suite. Generative AI will be brought into ABB's platform using large language models (LLMs) like GPT-4 to enable functionality such as code, image, and text generation the company explained in its press release announcing the collaboration. 

This will lead to the creation of a new application, Genix Copilot, which ABB said in its press release will allow for an enhanced user experience by offering intuitive functionality and by streamlining the flow of contextualized data across processes and operations. The company said industry executives, functional specialists, and shop floor engineers can all gain real-time actionable insights from this application. This will enable better decision-making and increased productivity which can extend asset lifespans by up to 20% and reduce unplanned downtime up to 60% according to ABB. 

In addition, Genix Copilot can help with the monitoring and optimization of energy use to help customers reduce their emissions and achieve sustainability goals which are becoming a bigger emphasis for many manufacturers

Iveco and Shell Reconfirm Decarbonization Efforts

Heavy vehicle OEM Iveco Group has reconfirmed its pledge to accelerate zero-emissions mobility efforts with Shell. The companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in early 2023 to collaborate on development of low-carbon and energy efficient solutions. 

At the end of June, the companies met in Turin, Italy, to discuss progress so far in their collaboration and their continued dedication to development efforts. 

Iveco has been working over the last several years on the design of heavy-duty trucks powered by alternative fuels as well as battery-electric systems as it understands the importance of reducing emissions from the transport sector. As a provider of fuels, Shell has also been working over the last several years on the development of alternatives to petroleum-based fuels because it too understands the importance of the need to reduce carbon emissions from the various sectors it serves.

The two companies can bring together their expertise as an OEM and a fuel supplier to help create feasible solutions that will help with global decarbonization efforts. 

About the Author

Sara Jensen | Technical Editor, Power & Motion

Sara Jensen is technical editor of Power & Motion, directing expanded coverage into the modern fluid power space, as well as mechatronic and smart technologies. She has over 15 years of publishing experience. Prior to Power & Motion she spent 11 years with a trade publication for engineers of heavy-duty equipment, the last 3 of which were as the editor and brand lead. Over the course of her time in the B2B industry, Sara has gained an extensive knowledge of various heavy-duty equipment industries — including construction, agriculture, mining and on-road trucks —along with the systems and market trends which impact them such as fluid power and electronic motion control technologies. 

You can follow Sara and Power & Motion via the following social media handles:

X (formerly Twitter): @TechnlgyEditor and @PowerMotionTech

LinkedIn: @SaraJensen and @Power&Motion

Facebook: @PowerMotionTech

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