Manufacturing's Dirty Little Secret

E. Mehr
Machina Labs,
United States

Keywords: manufacturing, additive manufacturing, sheet metal, titanium, robot, AI


One of manufacturing’s dirty little secrets is that virtually all production lines are purpose-built to produce just one component or product, which means that any design change renders that production line obsolete and requires returning to square one. While those lines are operational, uptime pressure is such that manufacturers are loath to apply patches to known security vulnerabilities because they require downtime that leads to lost revenue and unhappy customers. Machina Labs has upended this challenge with an innovative combination of AI, robotics and additive manufacturing. The company’s robotic forming technology, called Roboforming, unlocks development and performance advantages in aerospace and defense applications by rapidly shaping metal sheets into large, complex, high value skins and structures. They use robots the way a blacksmith uses a hammer. Their recent innovation is to deliver the means to rapidly manufacture large, curved titanium parts. Titanium is the newest alloy offered by Machina since the introduction of sheet metal forming in 2019. Using material- and geometry-agnostic technology, the Machina Labs platform outperforms traditional sheet metal methods that rely on custom, costly tooling. The companies’ dieless robotic sheet forming process can reduce the time to produce your first part from months to just hours, even minutes. This process eliminates the cost of designing and manufacturing molds and dies, which in traditional manufacturing can cost up to $1M per design. Machina Labs combines the latest advances in AI and robotics to deliver finished products in weeks – not months or years – and give customers unprecedented time to market and competitive advantage. The company also embodies the mindset of a skilled blacksmith who simultaneously brings expertise in metallurgy, physics, design, and tooling to realize a metal creation. End users such as the United States Air Force, NASA, and more are already benefiting from the Machina Labs platform. Machina’s new robotic capabilities with respect to titanium enable the development, test, and manufacture of hypersonic aircraft and products in days that, using conventional manufacturing processes, would otherwise take months to years.