PALO ALTO, October 11 — The disruptions to manufacturing over the last 18 months have created an unrelenting thirst for digital manufacturing data and opportunities to cut costs and waste via optimization. Today, Instrumental, the leader in manufacturing optimization technology, is launching core capabilities to handle the unique use cases and challenges of low-volume, high-mix electronics manufacturing after 18 months of collaboration with early mission-critical electronics customers Honeywell International Inc., Axon Enterprise Inc., and L3Harris Technologies.
In the United States alone, electronics manufacturing employs 5.3M people and generates $714B in GDP, according to IPC. With as much as 20 to 40 percent of every dollar spent in manufacturing wasted, according to Mikael Lindgren at Bain, there is at least $150B in unnecessary waste to be optimized in the United States alone.
Mission-critical electronics companies have unique challenges. Foremost is quality: zero defect is not just a goal, it’s a requirement when lives are on the line. Second, because of the nature of many of these devices, these manufacturers often have to support a high mix, or many different customized SKUs of product. For example, different keypads for radios destined for different regions of the world. Whether it’s something simple like ensuring the correct FCC label is applied or more complex such as inspecting conformal coating patterns on different PCB configurations, every detail of the product must be correct.
Mission-critical electronics make up a large portion of U.S. electronics manufacturing — including defense, aerospace, medical devices, and safety-critical features in automotive. The U.S. is also an expensive place for assembly and inspection labor. Cost of quality and cost of poor quality are both core concerns for manufacturing leaders.
For the last 18 months, Instrumental has been collaborating closely with visionary leaders at top mission-critical electronics companies in the United States to deeply understand the optimization challenges they have and to adapt Instrumental’s manufacturing optimization technology to suit the high-mix, low-volume use case. These customers have been able to leverage Instrumental’s platform to build a traceable digital thread of product data through their production processes — leveraging both images and functional test data. They’ve been able to solve previously intractable problems by deploying Instrumental’s Discover AI to automatically identify new defects and their potential root causes. With today’s launch, Instrumental’s powerful Discover AI and real-time Intercept features can be used across SKUs. These upgraded algorithms can learn different versions of normal for each SKU and is smart enough to identify variation that is expected for that SKU from variation that is potentially a problem.
Instrumental was founded by ex-Apple engineers Anna-Katrina Shedletsky and Samuel Weiss to build software that aggregates siloed manufacturing data and uses it to autonomously optimize manufacturing lines. Instrumental technology has been used to ship over 100 products, predominantly in the high-volume manufacturing space. Shedletsky, CEO of Instrumental, says, “My engineering roots are in high-volume, high-quality products, so that’s where Instrumental naturally started. It’s really exciting to be able to learn about the unique challenges for mission-critical manufacturers and to be able to build something that offers them the same magical experience.”
Instrumental provides the first manufacturing optimization platform to bring all your product data together in a single, traceable, remote record to accelerate proto-to-production. With Instrumental, you can automate issue discovery with AI, provide a unified platform for fast FA, expedite time to issue resolution, and deliver complete build and issue analytics to team leads and leadership. Our AI requires only 30 units to begin discovering both new and known issues, which your team can analyze from anywhere on the globe. Instrumental is hiring aggressively across all teams. View open roles at Instrumental.
Learn more about how high-mix support works.