Investing in the autonomous parts startup were Lockheed Martin, British Patient Capital as well as returning investors Atomico and Episode 1 Ventures.
CloudNC claimed that by making precision manufacturing autonomous it will dramatically improve its ease, speed and reliability, and will enable customers to make products anywhere in the world at competitive costs, allowing them to more easily onshore supply chains and keep engineering jobs local.
The British startup said that precision manufacturing is currently still error-prone, time-consuming and expensive and, despite increased automation, it is still heavily dependent on expert manual programming.
CloudNC’s technology aims to provide a degree of autonomy: users should be able to upload a 3D model of any part, and the software should autonomously determine the tools needed, how they will be used and drafts the code to tell a CNC machine how to make it.
This software assistance should allow factories to be more efficient while upskilling the workforce since more junior employees should be able to operate the machines.
Ultimately, CloudNC said, by reducing reliance on manual machine programming, its software will enable factories to autonomously manufacture more parts, more reliably, faster and with less waste than current processes.
“When people think of manufacturing, they tend to think of robotic car factories, and don’t realise that the industry is dominated by craft processes reliant on dwindling expert knowledge,” said CloudNC CEO Theo Saville.
“This makes it incredibly complex to get things made, stifling the pace of innovation. Our solution radically simplifies and democratises precision manufacturing. The upcoming software release is a massive step in our journey to full manufacturing autonomy and solving a $200 billion problem.”
“Our vision is for manufacturing to become so simple, it’s invisible, a single click to make nearly any product in days, not months or years, and with no worries about reliability or quality,” he went on.
“Our customers are facing constant challenges: disrupted supply chains, skills and labour shortages and having to control costs in a high inflation environment,” said Stephen Hooper, Autodesk VP of design and manufacturing, cloud solutions.
“CloudNC’s bold vision is impressive and their solution will soon allow anyone, from hobbyists to high-tech aerospace companies, to order and have parts delivered to them anywhere in the world with the click of a button.”
“In a similar way to how the internet opened the door to new businesses, autonomous precision manufacturing will open the door to increased productivity and more innovation.”
Lockheed Martin Ventures executive director Chris Moran said “CloudNC’s vision of end-to-end autonomous manufacturing creates great value to large-scale manufacturing businesses like ours.”
“We look forward to working with CloudNC as their vision for a fully autonomous supply chain develops and offers improved capabilities for Lockheed Martin.”