Intelligent automation • Manufacturing innovation • Software-defined manufacturing • Viewpoints

Full Stack Automation: A Key for Keeping up with Server Demand

As organizations turn to digital technologies and cloud solutions to help them compete in rapidly evolving markets, one key technology to keep everything running in the background is servers.

These computing devices process, store, and share information across multiple networks and data centers so that everything works as intended – and they’ve never been more essential than they are today. According to recent reports, the server market reached approximately $85 billion in 2021 and is expected to exceed $140 billion by 2028 while expanding at a compound annual growth rate of 7.8% within the same timeframe.

What is driving the demand?

Behemoth tech companies like Amazon, Google, Facebook, Microsoft, and others within the IT, healthcare, government, banking, and financial services sectors are behind this demand. With broader adoption of cloud services, 5G, and internet-of-things, the world sees more hyperscale data centers designed with thousands of servers and specialized infrastructure to support scalable, critical applications and solutions for consumers and businesses. As tech companies and cloud providers start to build their own hyperscale data centers, it’s beginning to disrupt the traditional value chain. 

Typically, these organizations source their servers from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM); the OEM sometimes coordinates with an original design manufacturer (ODM) to design and manufacture the servers that end up in the data center. However, tech companies are now bypassing the OEMs and buying directly from ODMs, cutting out the middleman to reduce costs and tailor the servers to their specific needs. In some cases, these tech companies are even setting up in-house server manufacturing, as servers and PCs tend to have similar manufacturing processes and requirements.

In addition to bringing server manufacturing in-house, major tech companies are also re-shoring or near-shoring server manufacturing to protect the integrity of their hardware, applications, and data from cybersecurity threats. This is becoming increasingly needed due to a clear escalation of recent threats because of the war in Ukraine, state-sponsored cyberattacks, and ransomware incidents. When the United States Department of Defense awards US cloud providers with its $9 billion Joint Warfighter Cloud Capability (JWCC) contract in late 2022, it will undoubtedly entail strict security and local-content requirements. Expectations for cloud services running on localized servers will likely spread to other key federal and state agencies, as well as major strategic industries such as energy, aerospace, medical, and finance. Similar thinking may also soon emerge among some European and Asia-Pacific governments. 

How Bright Machines helps manufacturers navigate these shifts 

Those considering re-shoring or near-shoring server manufacturing need to lean on intelligent automation to ensure efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and consistency. This must be accomplished despite the labor and supply chain challenges many manufacturers face. That’s where Bright Machines steps in. 

Servers come in several form factors, such as blade, rack, tower, and micro, but they’re built from similar components such as chassis, motherboards, cards, CPU, memory, OS, etc. The physical layout and assembly processes are like many other computers and electronic devices.

Leveraging seamlessly integrated software and hardware, Bright Machines Microfactories deliver greater flexibility and efficiency to server assembly at a competitive total cost of ownership. Software instructs the microfactories to perform multiple tasks automatically, and the modular hardware simplifies deployment and can be reconfigured to meet the changing needs of the product being assembled. 

Here’s an example of how a microfactory streamlines the production of cloud data servers by automating the assembly, testing, and inspection processes: 

  • The microfactory utilizes robotic cells with conveyors connecting each step. Built-to-order CPUs and heat sinks are assembled in the first cell, with hundreds of combinations created with no change over time. Advanced machine vision inspects the supplied components for defects and guides the robot into position. 
  • The board then moves to the second cell, where it begins to fasten several screws on the circuit board. This fastening is done with programmable torque control, and logging happens at this stage as well, giving customers full process traceability. Once the screen action is complete, the robot automatically switches tools to a vacuum that cleans the memory sockets and opens the plastic retention clips for the next step. Automated cleaning also improves yields and increases the product’s reliability, which is critical for cloud storage. 
  • The third step is where the variable configuration of memory modules is inserted. This step is done with precision force control and the ability to pick parts straight from different supplier traits, reducing human interaction and delivering the highest quality levels. The board is then pushed out of the conveyor for final inspection. 

Server manufacturing is complex, and as the server market continues to expand, manufacturers will need intelligent automation to ensure they can meet localized demand in the United States, which is already the largest server market globally. Bright Machines solutions enable faster deployment, increased throughput, and higher product yield while also giving customers the confidence to ramp production volume faster.

Want to learn more? Contact our team.


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