Software startup wants to make factories smarter
Bright Machines says that its goal is to address the promise of software-defined manufacturing and to make it as easy to manufacture physical products as it is to create digital ones. To do so, it develops software designed to allow manufacturing robot systems – which currently are typically preprogrammed repetitive robots that carry out a single task – to respond and react to what’s going on around them.
Manufacturing today is inherently inflexible, says the company, where equipment is pre-configured, people are trained for specific assembly line tasks, and supply chains are fixed. In addition, production lines are often underutilized because they were designed for a particular product and cannot easily be swapped to build another.
“What if we could change this?,” says Amar Hanspal, CEO of Bright Machines. “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?,” says Hanspal. “What if we could bridge engineering and manufacturing to enable closed-loop manufacturing, speed up new product introduction, and facilitate continuous improvement?”
The answer, says the company, is a combination of intelligent software and flexible hardware. As a result, the company has assembled a team of manufacturing experts, software engineers, and mechanical and electrical engineers from both manufacturing companies – such as FLEX, GE, and Tesla – and software and tech giants like Autodesk, Siemens, VMware, and Google.
“We didn’t build a company of 300+ hardware-tested manufacturing veterans, nor are we 300+ techy software engineers,” says Greg Eden, Bright Machines CMO. “We know that the secret sauce is in both hardware and software – that’s why we’ve built a company that’s a blend of both.”
The funding round was led by venture capital firm Eclipse, and marks the company’s full launch. Looking ahead, the company says it plans to add more than 100 people in the next year, and is particularly interested in software engineers or experts in machine learning, AI, robotics, and computer vision.
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