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Software-defined manufacturing • Viewpoints

The Next Generation Of Manufacturing

Oct. 23, 2018, By Amar Hanspal

Making physical products is hard. At Bright Machines, we want to change that by making it as easy to manufacture physical products as it is to create digital ones.

Today, you don’t have to be an expert or achieve significant scale as a business to build great software. Look at some of the most successful software products: At the time of their acquisitions, WhatsApp was handling millions of messages a day with a team of just 50 people, and Instagram capped out at 13 people when the company was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Over the past 30 years, the process of building, deploying and managing software has become drastically simplified.

Yet the same isn’t true for making physical products. Why can’t it be?

Engineering and manufacturing a consumer product, medical device or networking appliance is a massive and time-consuming effort—from the significant hurdle of taking a product from pilot to production to responding to customers and fielding issues. The problem is that manufacturing today is inherently inflexible: equipment is pre-configured, people are trained for specific assembly line tasks and supply chains are fixed. Production lines are often underutilized because they were designed for one particular product and cannot easily be swapped to build another. Meanwhile, product makers have moved their factory operations to lower-cost labor markets due to the high degree of manual labor that is still involved in the manufacturing process.

Here at Bright Machines, we asked ourselves, “What if we could change this?” What if we could copy and deploy manufacturing capabilities around the world conveniently at the push of a button? What if we could improve production quality, utilization and throughput by applying computer vision, cloud and edge computing, robotics and machine learning? What if we could bridge engineering and manufacturing to enable closed-loop manufacturing, speed up new product introduction and facilitate continuous improvement?

We believe that change is possible and the combination of intelligent software and flexible hardware is what will get us there. Our goal is to make factories smarter, and in the process, transform today’s most critical industry.

We know it’s a lofty goal, but we believe it is worth pursuing. Fortunately, we have manufacturing experts who have spent thousands of hours on the factory floor building products for storied brands around the world. We have great software engineers with a track record of building products that millions of people use every day, and we have mechanical and electrical engineers who live and breathe robotics.

Most of all, we are people with an unwavering commitment to manufacturing.

Simply put, we want to arm the people making the next generation of products with the next generation of manufacturing.

Ready for what comes next?

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