A few days ago, I shared my thoughts about Manufacturing Marketplaces and trends beyond generative design. If you missed my article, please check it here.
One of my observations – marketplaces and manufacturing automation started in silos (eg. 3D printing, CNC machining), but eventually will come to the next level of manufacturing workflow automation on demand. More pragmatic application of generative engineering in marketplaces can be an automated workflow, which can make an analysis of product requirements together with the planning bill of materials and match it with manufacturing contractors, suppliers, standard parts. It can be relying on data about other products, predictability models and other data analysis.
And manufacturing is not only about mechanical design, 3D printed parts, CNC machining, and injection molding. Electronics play a significant role in modern product manufacturing. We can see manufacturing marketplaces are also developing for electronic product manufacturing.
Tempo Automation is one of the companies focusing on manufacturing marketplaces, on-demand manufacturing and building automatic workflows for electronic industrial products. My attention was caught by Tempo Automation announcing $45M finance round. Navigate to TechCrunch article to read more – Tempo Automation raises $45M Series C for its turnkey circuit board manufacturing solution.
The company’s turnkey solution allows manufacturers to upload a CAD and have it turned into a circuit board in as little as three days. Founded in 2013, Tempo Automation’s services are tailored for low-volume manufacturers and include customers in a broad range of industries, including aerospace, consumer electronics, automotive and medical tech.
Tempo’s connected factory enables customers to upload their gadget designs to machines that can be used to build up to 15 different products a day. It offers conveniences like automatic quoting and native CAD files, plus real-time feature extraction and bill of materials validation to prevent production and sourcing issues. Additionally, Tempo’s platform autonomously scans design files for manual entry errors before sending them to machines, and it integrates with component and fabrication partners to cut down on turnaround time.
A picture speaks thousands of words. I found the following diagram describing Tempo workflow
You can ask how both examples (3DHubs from my earlier article) and this one with Tempo Automation are connected to PLM? In my view, both are great examples of new digital processes created by modern manufacturing companies. The uniqueness of these digital processes in the way they combine data management, automation, and business model.
If you think about traditional PLM workflows, most of them are automating manual tasks already available in a manufacturing company (eg. ECO, NPI, etc.) These processes almost never focusing on how to create a new way to do manufacturing business. These are gradual improvements. Important improvements, but still only making the same processes go faster, cheaper, easier. The new and native digital process is taking an entire manufacturing process into consideration. Online access, global workforce and optimization, automation and online resources are fundamental elements of differentiation.
What is my conclusion? The development of online manufacturing marketplaces is a starting point in new digital workflows. These workflows are combining design, manufacturing and business processes together by forming a new digital manufacturing experience. Most of the manufacturing marketplaces are silos today (3D printing, CNC, PCB, etc.). However, I can see a trend in expanding process coverage. The next step will be moving manufacturing marketplaces from silos to more integrated services. CIMdata calls is generative engineering. The buzzword or name is less important. What is important is at this stage, we will see a demand for new PLM technologies for new digital lifecycle. Just my thoughts…
Disclaimer: I’m co-founder and CEO of OpenBOM developing cloud-based bill of materials and inventory management tool for manufacturing companies, hardware startups, and supply chain. My opinion can be unintentionally biased.