Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division recently announced the winners of its first cohort of start-ups selected to help the manufacturing industry operate more sustainably and efficiently. The company launched its Sixth Sense open innovation platform in January 2022 to challenge how multinationals approach innovation and help nurture creative solutions to emerging manufacturing challenges by connecting with world-class companies to solve some of humanity’s biggest challenges.
The two joint winners were chosen following an intense eight-week training program to hone their business model and approach, concluding with a final presentation to a panel of expert judges to pitch for the resources to globalize and gain access to Hexagon’s extensive customer base.
The winners are:
RIIICO, a company that has designed a ‘Sims-style’ drag and drop virtual factory floor. Its AI solution creates a true-to-life simulation of a plant with a single 3D scan, empowering teams with the tools and flexibility to collaborate and improve on factory design from anywhere in the world. This has enormous productivity improvement potential, with around 80% of factory improvements currently getting stuck in the ideation phase. This can remove barriers to greener workflows by making the identification, installation, and optimization of them as painless and low-resource as possible. The young team of university friends from Germany launched the company last year and since joining the platform have already been backed by the likes of UC Berkeley's SkyDeck fund, multiple investors, and AI experts in the U.S. and Germany.
SmartParts, a company that has created an embedded digital barcode for 3D printing. It has developed a solution utilizing data-rich particles that can be embedded into the materials of 3D printed parts, which when scanned reveal the material and part full specifications and history. The solution will enable industries with specific technical requirements, like aerospace and defense, and those with strong ESG commitments such as governments, to have greater control over their supply chain and processes and encourage responsible business decision making. With modern supply chains under intense pressure, there is increasing need to monitor and verify the authenticity of products. For example, 520,000 counterfeit aerospace parts are installed in planes every year, and 8% of all medical devices on the market are estimated to be fake. SmartParts aims to combat this by directly connecting physical assets with digital records to ensure end-to-end traceability and trust in 3D printing. The small US-based team has direct experience with manufacturing in high requirement industries, having served as New York City’s main contractor for 3D printed swabs during the height of the COVID pandemic in 2020.
Sixth Sense is a revolutionary approach to the traditional accelerator, designed as an exchange of value between Hexagon and the start-ups, providing more than just theoretical training. The cohort gains tailored instruction on how to hone their offering for greater commercial success using Hexagon’s deep market insight, while Hexagon aims to apply learnings from the start-ups’ agility and fresh approach to innovation.
Parth Joshi, chief product officer and chief technology officer of Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division, said: “We expect all seven companies from this first cohort will go on to have a significant impact on the future of the manufacturing industry, and we will work with them all in some way; we were incredibly impressed with the strength and creativity of all solutions. As winners, SmartParts and RIIICO should be particularly proud of their achievements, and we look forward to working with them to help grow their businesses and relationship with Hexagon and our customers.”
“Sixth Sense has broken the mold, and successfully so – everything from the initial demand to the final result has been eye-opening,” said Paolo Guglielmini, president of Hexagon’s Manufacturing Intelligence division. “At Hexagon, we are searching for smart, efficient solutions that will not only boost performance, but benefit people and the planet. We will be recruiting for the next cohort soon, and I would emphasize that we encourage applicants from diverse backgrounds to help foster creative answers to global challenges.”
The runner-up to the two winners is Praemo, who developed Razor, a sophisticated manufacturing insights application that ingests data ‘as-is’ from automation, quality, historians, and maintenance systems to drive next level continuous improvement in areas like throughput, cost and productivity using advanced Machine Learning without the need for skilled data science teams. Hexagon would like to congratulate all the companies involved in this pioneering cohort, which included Eyeflow AI, IconPro, SmartPM and SmartUQ.