Ann Arbor startup modernizes quality control with support from the Automation Alley Industry 4.0 Accelerator
When the last step in an assembly line is a human inspecting the paint job, there are bound to be errors.
Ann Arbor-based Autaza is working to eliminate potentially costly mistakes in the quality control process — and in doing so, be part of the movement to pivot those wearisome and sometimes monotonous human inspection jobs to more high-skill level, advanced manufacturing careers.
The software and hardware company has five product verticals: Autaza Paint, Autaza Glass, Autaza Hybrid, Autaza Surface and Autaza Aero. Its robotic quality inspection system uses patented artificial intelligence and cameras to detect dirt, bubbles, scratches or other defects in the paint on vehicles and other surfaces in a manner far superior to human inspection.
"It's about bringing Silicon Valley to the industrial floor, to the ground level where the work can be most meaningful," said Andrew Israel, Autaza product engineer. "We are trying to make inspections more streamlined and safer."
Autaza is the first company to receive funding from the Automation Alley Industry 4.0 Accelerator, a collaboration between Lean Rocket Lab, Lawrence Technological University's Centrepolis Accelerator and Automation Alley, a longstanding partner of the MEDC. The accelerator provides resources to support startups that are developing Industry 4.0 technologies and to support manufacturers wanting to grow by adopting Industry 4.0.
Spearheaded by Michigan's Industry 4.0 Knowledge Center, Automation Alley, the Industry 4.0 Accelerator is the first of its kind in North America and provides resources to support startups developing industry 4.0 technologies and to support Michigan’s manufacturers in adopting these technologies. The robust accelerator provides education, programming, coaching, strategic partnerships, a technology-readiness demonstration matching fund and access to seed stage investment funding that is designed to help manufacturers thrive and grow while building a pipeline of the next generation of Industry 4.0-ready talent.
“Automation Alley is laser focused on ensuring Michigan small and medium-sized manufacturers are aware of how Industry 4.0 will impact their businesses — and the strategic steps they must take to begin or advance their digital transformation. Technology is moving at break-neck speed, and our manufacturers cannot afford to be left behind,” said Tom Kelly, Executive Director and CEO, Automation Alley.
The startup has a showroom inside the North American headquarters of robot supplier ABB in Auburn Hills; ABB product specialist John Benjamin said his company was looking for an end-of-line inspection solution for its painting robots when it connected with Autaza. ABB was looking for technology that would help prevent human errors and that would also flag patterns of errors, which can be prevented further up the assembly line.
Watch as Israel shows off the capabilities of the robotic system and Benjamin explains its benefits to manufacturers:
Learn more about how Michigan manufacturers can realize the benefits of Industry 4.0 to prepare for the future at https://www.michiganbusiness.org/industry4-0/.