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I attended the Sixth Sense summit – here’s what I learned

Hexagon's Manufacturing Intelligence Natalie Tellis-James attended the Sixth Sense Summit this year – read her insights below. Walking into London’s CodeNode for the Sixth Sense summit, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Although we’ve never promoted giving the start-ups a cash prize, I still half expected to see Milan Kocic, Head of the Sixth Sense programme, standing on stage holding a supersized cheque, but that couldn’t be further from what happened. I arrived at 14:30. The main event wasn’t due to start for another hour, but the room was already filling up, humming with conversation. Each of the eight start-ups had a small stand with literature and products, so I walked around to try to get myself more familiar with what was to come. The room we were in was surrounded by impressive glass offices, each filled with people deep in discussion. Round tables were underway, covering a mix of topics like improving the representation of women in manufacturing and supporting CSR initiatives in a challenging climate. The topic of sustainability featured heavily throughout the day. Each cohort is challenged with a specific topic at the start of the programme, for cohort three this was “Building a sustainable manufacturing future” and “Smart digital reality for collaborative manufacturing.” Time for the main event. I got myself seated and awaited the arrival of the panel of judges, familiar faces from across Hexagon, hand-selected because they know our business and solutions offering inside out. Lights, camera, action! Each of the cohorts had four minutes to pitch their idea to the judges. Four minutes!! Just about enough time to make a cup of tea in my household. Each of the eight told their story, the gap in the market they could fill and how our support can help them. Again, not talking about money – the winner is promised our time, our resources, our knowledge base – all more valuable than a single cash sum. What stuck out to me during each of the eight pitches is how well-connected we already were. It felt like we were already working with the solutions, there was a clear connection between what our division stands for, what it’s trying to achieve and the mechanics we use to do so. It felt like they were part of us, progressing our message and highlighting real-life impacts for our customers. I sat listening, glad I wasn’t on the judging panel with the impossible task of choosing one company to continue a relationship with. In fact, this seems it wasn’t a possibility for the panel either, who at the end of the day announced joint winners Zaptic and Flexxbotics and runner-up Acerta. This wasn’t the only surprise for the day as Milan took to the stage to announce a new Global Partnership with Hexagon and GelSight, Winner of Sixth Sense cohort two, further proving the opportunities for winners are endless. So what’s next? The cohort winners will have access to our extensive resources, global footprint and our comprehensive products and solutions to help them

By |February 22nd, 2024|

Who won the Sixth Sense Summit?

Sixth Sense Summit: Exploring the manufacturing innovations of the future From mass production to 3D printing, bottlenecks to blockchain, and automation to autonomy – making is not what it used to be. The fourth industrial revolution – or Industry 4.0 – is well underway, and with seismic technological, economic and societal shifts ongoing, the manufacturing industry is at the forefront. And it was the future of manufacturing that was on display at the Sixth Sense Summit, held in London on February 7th – through a pitching competition to determine the winner of this year’s Sixth Sense programme, a technology exhibition, and a series of discussions with industry leaders. Over the past three months, eight startups in our third cohort have been working alongside leaders in Hexagon’s manufacturing intelligence division to evolve their ground-breaking solutions to help solve some of the sector’s biggest challenges – specifically, how we drive a more sustainable future. The prize for the winner? An exciting opportunity to partner with Hexagon on developing a joint solution, leveraging both organisations’ technology.   Announcing our winners After a high-quality set of pitches in front of a live audience of 150 entrepreneurs, experts and industry leaders, Acerta was announced as our runner-up, with Zaptic and Flexxbotics chosen as the joint winners. With Flexxbotics’ technology enabling robot-driven manufacturing for tomorrow’s autonomous industry, Zaptic’s connected worker platform empowering frontline worker productivity, and Acerta’s predictive quality solution providing line engineers with invaluable real-time analytics and insights – their solutions are pivotal to building a smart, sustainable and collaborative manufacturing future. Our thanks and congratulations also go to all of the other fantastic cohort three members: ToffeeX, RVmagnetics, Rafinex, Dessia, and Launchpad – these companies exemplify the power of technology as a force for good and we very much look forward to continuing working together.   Addressing industry challenges and finding opportunities In addition to the pitching finale, the summit also explored some of the manufacturing industry’s key opportunities and challenges, through a series of roundtables that explored female representation in the sector, the fundraising landscape for startups, and how we scale spin-outs to maximise innovation; as well as a main stage panel discussion on the innovations driving manufacturing to net zero. Building on Sixth Sense’s legacy of connecting the next generation of innovators with Hexagon’s industry-leading technology – such as the recent partnership between cohort two member Augmentir and ETQ – this summit saw another powerful partnership announced, this time between Hexagon and GelSight, the winner of the second cohort.   What comes next Sixth Sense is about seeing round corners – identifying solutions where others may not, to solve humanity’s biggest challenges. After yet another successful Sixth Sense programme, we want to thank our incredible third cohort for their dedication and ongoing commitment to pushing boundaries in manufacturing. The third Sixth Sense challenge may now be over, but true to our mission, we already have our sights set on the horizon with our next programme. If you’re interested in tackling tomorrow’s challenges

By |February 14th, 2024|

Sixth Sense Summit 2024 in London: what to expect

The culmination of the Third Challenge – the Sixth Sense Summit in London – is coming up in just one week!  Date: Wednesday 7th February 2024 Registration: 2.30 pm, where you’ll have a chance to explore the exhibition Panel discussions and pitching competition: 3.45 pm-5.30 pm Winner revealed: 6.00 pm Networking reception: 6.00 pm-7.00 pm Location: CodeNode, 10 South Pl, London EC2M 7EB The event will host 150 industry leaders from across manufacturing, technology, engineering and more, bringing founders and funders together to connect for an afternoon of exhibitions, roundtable discussions, on-stage content and networking. The culmination of the event will happen in the evening, with Sixth Sense’s third cohort of start-ups pitching their groundbreaking solutions and competing for the chance to build a long-lasting partnership with Hexagon.  Register to attend the event here if you haven’t already to secure your spot as the Sixth Sense Summit countdown continues!    Sixth Sense Summit Program Highlights 14:00 – Roundtable Discussions Please note that you can join the roundtables by invitation only. Please email us at if you want to express an interest in participating. Roundtable 1: Improving Female Representation in Manufacturing Host: Russ Shaw CBE, Founder of Tech London Advocates and Global Tech Advocates Guests: Senior representatives of Hexagon, Lloyds Banking Group, EngineeringUK, University of Cambridge, Women's Engineering Society, TLA Women in Tech and more. Discussion: Women account for 26% of workers in UK manufacturing, earning on average 17% less than their male peers. And the picture is no better abroad. At a time when investment in the sector is falling, and many traditional manufacturing processes are being superseded by technology – another male-dominated sector – this roundtable explores the steps required to increase female representation in the industry. Roundtable 2: Fundraising in a Challenging Climate Host: Elaine Warburton OBE, Founder & NED ReadyGo Diagnostics Guests: Senior representatives of Industrial Innovation Venture Fund, UK Business Angels Association, Dawn Capital, Hoxton Ventures, EIT Digital and more. Discussion: A sharp fall in fundraising activity in 2023 highlights the challenging environment facing early-stage companies today. This roundtable will bring together both funders and founders to discuss how we address and overcome the barriers to secure investment and how startups themselves can ensure that they stand out from the crowd when funding is hard to come by. Roundtable 3: Spotlight on Spin Outs Host: Ana Avaliani, Director of Enterprise and Sustainable Development at the Royal Academy of Engineering Guests: Senior representatives of AMRC, London Space Innovation Centre, Scaleup Institute, City, University of London and more. Discussion: Spin outs play a crucial role in the UK's ambition to become a 'science and technology superpower.' With the investment of £5.3bn in 2021, the UK stands as the second-largest hub for spin out investment globally, behind the US. Despite this success, challenges persist in optimising the entrepreneurial potential of the UK's top-tier universities. This roundtable will look at solutions to those challenges, including intellectual property management, securing funding for proof-of-concept and fostering entrepreneurial learning. 14:30 – Registration,

By |February 1st, 2024|
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Cohort Three Spotlight: Rafinex

Our motto: “Everyone may optimize a product design, the true challenge is doing so safely, at a high quality and economically fast enough so that it sustainability scales with profitability.” Our mission? To build a place where everyone can leverage the world’s best-in-class computational and mathematical innovations to create novel, valuable and sustainable products. Who are we? The biggest problem in advancing design engineering is estimating and managing risk. Bad designs are costly, driving 80% of a product’s lifecycle costs & 70% of its environmental impact, while the risk of failure is ever present for products that face billions of unknown factors and conditions when they are used in real-life scenarios. By developing next-gen optimization algorithms for engineering design, Rafinex provides engineers with realistic digital tools to help manage risk, tackle the cost of ‘bad’ or unoptimised designs, and generate optimal designs they can trust in real-life operations within minutes to hours. Rafinex’s technology… Is built into a SaaS software product called “Möbius” Is used by OEMs in the automotive, tooling, aerospace, defence and white goods industries Allows engineers to go from a coarse idea to a fully validated design rapidly Manages and quantifies costly risk factors Enables engineers to optimize with confidence, making fast and informed decisions Helps design high-quality, better-performing, trustworthy, robust, efficient, and resilient products Helps reduce waste of materials, energy consumption, and production resources Enables sustainability to become profitable at scale Helps capture increased value along the product lifecycle The lightbulb moment? Rafinex emerged from a drive for excellence in digital engineering. The founders all have deep backgrounds in advanced numerical methods of academic research. However, when transitioning to industry, we were met by capability limitations which we knew had already been solved at world-leading academic institutions. This led to us creating Rafinex as a spin-out from the WIAS institute in Berlin, quickly gaining automotive OEM customers and maturing cutting-edge optimization algorithms in an industrial setting. Why did we apply for Sixth Sense? Rafinex cannot thrive in isolation. Our solution specifically addresses the inclusion of real-life variability and input data from other digital engineering software solutions. Hence, there are synergies to closely integrate into the digital software toolchain of the ecosystem to provide better and more value to every stakeholder. Sixth Sense is an excellent platform to demonstrate what joint integration can achieve by showcasing a real-application demonstrator design, as well as how the digital tools and IoT sensors from Hexagon can be interconnected with Rafinex. Where do we hope to be in five years’ time? We are in the process of transitioning from a startup to a scaleup following the successful maturing of our core technology components. In five years' time, we aim to expand our customer base worldwide in both our current active sectors as well as new industrial sector applications. We strive to be known for design optimization excellence. Which emerging technologies excite us? The advent of mixed-manufacturing methods is very exciting as it opens the doors to new design freedoms that have

By |January 26th, 2024|
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Cohort Three Spotlight: Zaptic

Our mission? To empower industrial worker productivity in an age of automation and digitisation How? By connecting workers with real-time insight and context-specific instruction – guiding them on what to do, when to do it and how to do it. A big part of this involves capturing the “know-how” of experienced workers and making it available to new workers, as well as using data to direct work and using AI to deliver contextually relevant guidance. We offer an easy-to-use, fast-to-adapt no code platform for digitising daily operational workflows and capturing operational knowledge. Zaptic’s technology… Digitally transforms frontline operations – often reliant on paper, whiteboards and siloed knowledge Provides a digital knowledge base – key to solving the workforce onboarding challenge Surfaces context-specific knowledge using AI – guiding and augmenting workers on the job Bridges skills gaps and overcomes workforce variability – helping to avoid losses Brings factory workers online – critical for modern collaboration and building a true digital reality Boosts productivity and agility – removing capacity constraints by bridging knowledge gaps Futureproofs the workforce – helping to attract, train and retain frontline workers Can be used for autonomous maintenance, quality checks, safety observations, checklists, audits and more The lightbulb moment? It all started when Richard, our CEO, was working on a custom app build for Unilever out of his university digs. They wanted an app to help guide field reps in identifying why products went out of stock in retail stores, as well as how to fix this. It soon became apparent that there was an even greater need for the same type of solution to guide and capture daily execution and problem-solving in manufacturing operations, with the opportunity to build a shared knowledge base with the potential to transform workforce development to help overcome a global skills shortage. And so Zaptic was born. We hired manufacturing experts, collaborated closely with our first customers, and have been working very hard ever since! Why did we apply for Sixth Sense? We were interested in the possibility of accelerating areas of new product development and receiving highly relevant feedback from the Hexagon ecosystem, as well as exploring partnership opportunities. Where do we hope to be in five years’ time? We have already managed to secure six of the world’s largest alcoholic beverage producers as customers. In five years, we want to be successfully easing the transition to a new generation of manufacturing workers, with tens (perhaps hundreds) of millions of users relying on Zaptic to work safely, efficiently and effectively every day. Which emerging technologies excite us? We are super excited about the potential for generative AI to help us guide workers in a highly customised, personalised and interactive way, including the use of work instruction generated automatically with AI. Augmented reality is also very exciting in this context.

By |January 22nd, 2024|

Cohort Three Spotlight: Acerta

Our mission? Enabling the understanding of the digital thread for every vehicle. We help manufacturers understand complex production data better, predict quality issues, and accelerate root cause analysis. Who are we? ​​With manufacturing operations becoming increasingly digitised, there is a growing treasure trove of data being generated that is becoming impossible to analyse manually. To help manufacturers get value out of the data they are already producing, we created a predictive quality platform called LinePulse that uses it to improve quality, automate root cause analysis, and get an early indication of any issues that may impact production. By operationalising machine learning, LinePulse provides information and advanced analysis in real-time to line engineers and quality teams. LinePulse sends alerts before problems arise, identifies where process improvements should be implemented, and equips them with insights to understand complex processes and make better day-to-day decisions. Acerta’s technology helps manufacturers and line engineers to… Predict quality issues to avoid problems downstream Reduce recall, retest, rework, and scrap rates Automate root cause analysis Avoid quality spills which could lead to costly warranty failures Make better, faster, and data-driven decisions Bring new products to market faster Reduce waste in factories and in the field Streamline and optimise electrical vehicle production The lightbulb moment? During our time at the University of Waterloo, researching the applications of machine learning and AI for the large amounts of data being generated from industrial machinery (e.g., drones, cars, and planes), our observations sparked an idea. We noticed that whilst a lot of automation and complex systems were being built into vehicles, the process of demonstrating they work as expected was still very manual. We also noticed that a large amount of information was becoming available from these products and manufacturing processes. We aimed to combine the two, bringing that into the automotive lifecycle. Why did we apply for Sixth Sense? Hexagon has a huge presence in manufacturing, including more traditional solutions around quality control and quality management, and Acerta brings machine-learning data techniques and cloud software to the factory. Our hope is that, in partnership together, we can create a more holistic, data-driven, and modern end-to-end quality solution for manufacturers – combining the strengths of both companies. It's a partnership that can really create a lot more value for manufacturers. Where do we hope to be in five years’ time? Right now, we're focused on bringing our technology to the automotive and off-highway industries. However, our solutions are also broadly applicable to other manufacturing sectors, whether it be medical devices, electronics or other solutions. In the next three to five years, our goal is to broaden the reach and applicability of our platform to other industries in the broader discrete manufacturing space – especially with companies like Hexagon. Which emerging technologies excite us? The most exciting for us is generative AI because these large language models open up opportunities to improve the way line engineers interact with human-machine interfaces. Instead of spending time clicking around and figuring out how to query

By |January 10th, 2024|
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