The rise of artificial intelligence and the democratization of big data isn’t just helping people create better software; it’s also changing the manufacturing process.
By applying better tools, smarter bots, and sophisticated algorithms, entrepreneurs are leading a ‘makers’ revolution. They are changing the way businesses prototype and manufacture new products. While crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have made it easier than ever to launch a new hardware startup, legacy manufacturing infrastructure means that many of these newcomers are doomed to fail.
These new companies want to change that:
Known as the Airbnb for 3D printing, Phoenix, Arizona-based MakeXYZ connects developers, 3D modelers, and 3D printing stations across the world to speed up the prototyping process. By connecting companies and designers to local 3D printers, this startup has reduced the delivery time down to just a few days. The clever software on this web platform thoroughly analyzes any 3D model uploaded to it and instantly estimates the cost of printing. Delivery is generally free.
A key part of the hardware business is storage. No company can complete the customer journey without efficient storage and logistics. The big boy in this field is e-commerce behemoth Amazon. Small, independent sellers could struggle to match Amazon’s next-day or Prime delivery services. However, FLEXE intends to give these smaller startups an edge. By storing and managing inventory for small companies on large scale, FLEXE enables anyone to promise their customers next-day delivery. The company has set itself up as the Airbnb of warehouses, and its sophisticated platform promises efficient inventory management and simplified logistics for everyone.
Shyp intends to revolutionize the shipping industry. Based on Uber’s on-demand logistics model, the company provides fast and efficient shipping from anywhere to anywhere at the lowest possible rate. The company takes all the stress out of shipping by allowing firms to ship, track, and receive packages flexibly. Orders can range from one unit to millions.
4. Compass Automation
Elgin-based Compass Automation brings manufacturing bots and clever automation to the little guy. The company helps its clients build custom machines that can help them manufacture faster, improve quality standards, and ship quicker than ever. The company has already worked with industry heavyweights such as Hitachi, Raytheon, and United Technologies.
Engineered wood seems like a niche industry to the layman, but estimates suggest the market could be worth $300 billion worldwide. This company cleverly combines eco-friendly adhesives with sophisticated machine learning systems to vastly improve the way engineered wood is created. Their special adhesive is less toxic than mainstream alternatives. And, their machine learning algorithm adjusts the way the wood is bonded based on data about the texture, humidity, and time of day. This startup is also trying to extend the use of the machine learning algorithm to improve the way steel is manufactured.
These five exciting startups could fundamentally change the way products are produced and shipped out to customers in the future.