Revolutionizing Manufacturing: The UiPath AI Hackathon Sparks Innovation, Focusing on 'Autonomous Product/Component Fabrication'

In the realm of manufacturing, the pursuit of efficiency, precision, and scalability has led to an unwavering focus on innovation. Step into a world where UiPath, the trailblazer in automation, takes the lead in shaping the future of manufacturing. The UiPath AI Hackathon served as the proving ground for revolutionary ideas, and at its core lies a compelling narrative—the advent of 'Autonomous Product/Component Fabrication.'

In this blog post, let's unravel the captivating synergy between UiPath's cutting-edge AI capabilities and the boundless potential of automated manufacturing. Join me on this technological odyssey to explore how UiPath's innovation prowess propels us toward a future where every line of code echoes the promise of a transformed manufacturing landscape.

Autonomous Product Fabrication Thumbnail

25 Nov 2023, 9AM

At the vibrant UiPath office in Bengaluru, our hackathon journey began with a warm welcome from the Community Team. Their friendly greetings and genuine enthusiasm instantly created a sense of belonging, setting the stage for an immersive and collaborative experience. This marked the inception of our unforgettable innovation journey in the heart of Bengaluru.

UiPath AI Hackathon Welcome, nmnithinkrishna

         UiPath AI Hackathon Bengaluru

My first and foremost takeaway from the UiPath AI Hackathon isn't about technical intricacies but rather the impeccable and consistent management skills demonstrated by the Community Avengers. Following the success of the MVP meet, they seamlessly orchestrated another triumphant show, highlighting their commitment to flawless execution. This invaluable lesson in efficient management adds an extra layer of inspiration to our hackathon experience, showcasing that a well-organized event is the cornerstone of fostering innovation.

As we reflect on the UiPath AI Hackathon experience, heartfelt gratitude extends to the pillars of support that made it all possible. To the incredible Community Team, your warm welcome and tireless dedication set the stage for an extraordinary event. The Photo Team, capturing every moment with precision, immortalized the essence of our innovation journey. A sincere thank you to the Security Team, ensuring a safe and conducive environment for creativity to thrive. And to the Food Team, your culinary expertise added a delightful touch to our hackathon experience.

Each team played a crucial role, contributing to the exceptional hospitality that allowed us to bring our best to the table. We are immensely thankful for the seamless orchestration behind the scenes.

UiPath AI Hackathon Community Avengers

UiPath AI Hackathon Community Avengers

You guys nailed it 👏 : In the electrifying atmosphere of the UiPath AI Hackathon, participants unleashed their creativity, determination, and technical prowess. Among the vibrant pool of talent, emerged the exceptional—the winners who truly nailed it!
UiPath AI Hackathon Winners

UiPath AI Hackathon Winners

Brainy Fools

The team I represented, along with our passionate teammate Gayathri, aimed to create something innovative for the manufacturing industry using UiPath. It involved intense brainstorming sessions and discussions with other participating teams and experts. This collaborative approach allowed us to refine our solution continually. Though it might not have been a fully baked solution from the start, we navigated challenges, arriving at a robust end-to-end proof of concept. This not only showcased the ingenuity of our solution but also highlighted the remarkable capabilities of UiPath and AI in the manufacturing landscape. 

Brainy Fools, UiPath AI Hackathon

Brainy Fools, UiPath AI Hackathon

Our Vision

Just as a coin boasts two faces, our vision unfolded on a dual plane.

1. Revolutionizing Manufacturing:

The first facet of our vision aimed at reshaping the manufacturing industry, confronting its persistent challenges. 'Autonomous Product/Component Fabrication' wasn't merely a solution; it was our declaration of intent to transform the landscape. By addressing manufacturing inefficiencies and operational bottlenecks, we envisioned a future where every product is a testament to precision, efficiency, and seamless automation. This side of our vision sought to transcend the ordinary, pioneering a manufacturing era defined by autonomous processes and unparalleled innovation.

2. Beyond Conventional Automation:

The other side of the coin unveiled UiPath's extraordinary capabilities, far beyond the routine tasks of scraping, Excel manipulation, and mail monitoring.

We imagined a UiPath bot as not just a digital assistant but a dynamic force.

  • Have you ever thought a bot autonomously steering a drone to accomplish specific objectives.
  • Envision UiPath stepping into the realm of creativity, becoming an artist capable of drawing, crafting poems, and even scripting.
  • Picture a bot transforming into an on-call agent, proficient in resolving hardware issues—whether with your TV, IoT device, or any other appliance.

UiPath Robot as Artist & Pilot by nmnithinkrishna

Mr.Bot as the Pilot and Artist

In our unique exploration, we ventured into uncharted territory, presenting a prototype where a UiPath bot autonomously undertook research, designed components, and oversaw the entire product fabrication process. This side of our vision was a testament to UiPath's potential to redefine the boundaries of what a bot can achieve.

The Problem

To understand the problem, we first need a clear idea of what the As-Is process of product component manufacturing entails.

The process primarily resides within the civil/mechanical domain, yet its fundamental structure is broadly applicable across various domains, with minor variations. It comprises three key entities: the end customer, the service provider, and the manufacturer. Notably, our focus lies predominantly on the service provider and manufacturer sides of this intricate process. The end customer, desiring installation or procurement, initiates the process by submitting an order request to the service provider. Subsequently, the service provider processes the order, executing a CAD design to determine final costs, followed by the generation of an invoice. The approved order is then forwarded to the manufacturer. Once the end customer settles the payment, the manufacturing phase commences, culminating in the delivery of units to the customer's location, where installation takes place.

However, at each juncture within this end-to-end process, substantial human effort is invested, grappling with operational inefficiencies, enduring prolonged production cycles, and accommodating an escalating demand for precision and scalability. Although human-intensive workflows embody considerable expertise, their progress is impeded by limitations in speed and repeatability.

Case Study On Perforated Plates

Let's delve into a real case study to gain insights into the domain, a crucial step in understanding the upcoming technical aspects.

-- What is a perforated plate?

Perforated plates, versatile sheets crafted from metals or other materials, feature an array of strategically placed holes, each designed with specific specifications. These plates serve multifaceted purposes across various industries, acting as integral components in construction, engineering, and design. Beyond their structural functionality, perforated plates are widely recognized for their aesthetic appeal, offering a unique blend of form and function. The deliberate arrangement of perforations not only allows for enhanced airflow but also provides an artistic touch to architectural elements. In applications ranging from acoustic panels to filtration systems, perforated plates showcase adaptability, offering tailored solutions for diverse needs.

There are a lot of manufacturers across the globe producing perforated sheets at various volumes. Attached below is a sample catalogue. A specific manufacturer is selling sheets with the specifications mentioned, which will be further procured for installation.

Perforated Metal Sheet Catalogue by nmnithinkrishna

A sample perforated metal plate catalogue from a manufacturer

Now, a customer will place an order with a service provider to install perforated sheets, whether for a building's partition wall or roof. The service provider will gather details such as sheet brand and model number, then create a design based on the product specifications outlined in the manufacturer's catalogue. This design process determines the required number of sheets and the total cost. Subsequently, an invoice is generated, and the design is sent for fabrication, with the manufacturer handling delivery. Finally, the construction team installs the sheets according to the approved design, as shown in the image below. It's important to note that this is a high-level, simplified case study, intended as a starting point for implementing automation and driving innovation within this process. Similar to perforated sheets, there are countless products in the market that undergo the same process like wire mesh, cylinders, grating sheets, etc.

A building partition wall built using perforated plates by nmnithinkrishna

A building partition wall built using perforated plates

Understanding this domain knowledge provides a foundation, and now, let's delve into the technical aspects to explore how automation can enhance and innovate this process.

UiPath + (Gen)AI = Autonomous

UiPath synergizing with GenAI heralds the era of autonomy, where intelligent automation seamlessly intertwines with the power of next-gen artificial intelligence. Together, they forge a transformative alliance, propelling industries towards unprecedented efficiency, innovation, and a future where processes operate autonomously, guided by the brilliance of advanced AI technologies.

Drawing inspiration from the successful fusion of intelligent automation and advanced AI, our approach envisions the creation of an autonomous system that seamlessly integrates with the existing manufacturing landscape. By deploying cutting-edge technologies, we aim to streamline processes, eliminate bottlenecks, and empower the service providers and manufacturers with a transformative toolkit. This synergy, marked by UiPath's unparalleled automation capabilities and GenAI's cognitive prowess, charts a course towards a future where component fabrication transcends human limitations, operating autonomously with precision, speed, and adaptability. Our mission is to not just innovate but to redefine the manufacturing paradigm, unlocking new possibilities in the realm of autonomous product/component fabrication.

UiPath Architecture for Autonomous Product Fabrication in Manufacturing by nmnithinkrishna

UiPath Solution Architecture

The overall plan includes six main parts to smoothly handle different aspects of the process: Communication Channel, Product, CAD Design, Invoice, and Printer. Think of it like building blocks that work together. UiPath Studio is where we create the step-by-step instructions (workflows), and the Robot is like the doer that follows those instructions precisely. Orchestrator is like the director making sure everything is in sync. The Integration Service connects UiPath to emails and AI tools for easy communication. UiPath AI Center adds a touch of smart learning to the mix. We also include user-friendly GPT models like GenAI and Bard, plus a creative tool called OpenSCAD for design. All these elements come together to make autonomous component fabrication a reality.

Communication Channel: We are considering email as the communication channel for this use case, but, essentially, it can originate from any source, such as a chatbot, request form, or e-commerce platforms. We will utilize UiPath's integration service to seamlessly connect to the mailbox, triggering automation based on mail events for every email received. This approach allows us to instantly fetch all emails, and their metadata will be added to the Queue for processing.

Order Email for Product Fabrication by nmnithinkrishna

Order Email Request from a Customer

Email Classification: Once the email request is submitted for processing, we need to categorize the email. This categorization helps the automation bot determine whether the received email is an order request or something else. To achieve this, we employ UiPath's Specialized AI with AI center, utilizing either the text classification model or the NER model. This process assists in accurately tagging the email under specific labels.

Email Classification Result by UiPath AI, nmnithinkrishna

Email Classification Result with UiPath Spl. AI

GPT's Magic: We leverage OpenAI's GPT to parse product information from received emails. GPT seamlessly integrates with UiPath through the Integration service, authenticated using an API key. The bot can then communicate with GPT for any queries. In this process, it sends the email content to GPT, extracting product data such as the ordered item, brand, area dimensions for installation, and potentially its type along with the delivery date.

UiPath Integration Service with Open AI

UiPath Integration Service with Open AI

Following the extraction of product details from the email, the next crucial step is to search for the product in the global catalog or datasheet to obtain specifications using web crawling combined with vector search. This step is paramount for designing the product into specified area dimensions, whether it be a building roof or a wall. To facilitate this search, we rely on Google's BARD AI, connected with UiPath through an API service. This connection enables us to submit queries with the product model number and brand, obtaining the necessary product specs required for the design, including sheet length, width, and hole diameter.

Product specifications in Manufacturer website, nmnithinkrishna

Product specifications in Manufacturer website which will be fetched by BARD AI

CAD: Computer-Aided Designing, is a software program that enables users to create and modify 2D and 3D designs. With CAD, users can generate drawings, prototypes, and manufacturing instructions. This forms the core, out-of-the-box approach in our use case, where a bot is created to design a product based on various parameters and smart AI intelligence. Now equipped with area details and product specifications, including the perforated sheet, it's time to generate a CAD script for rendering. We utilize the OpenSCAD open-source CAD tool, where scripts and configurations are employed to generate designs. OpenAI's GPT once again comes into play, generating the OpenSCAD script based on parameters from previous steps.

Script Metadata file for OpenSCAD Design Rendering, nmnithinkrishna

OpenSCAD Script Metadata file by UiPath Bot with GPT

This script is then fed into the OpenSCAD Windows service to render the product drawing according to the customer's requirements.

OpenSCAD automation with UiPath by nmnithinkrishna

CAD drawing output by Bot: Single perforated sheet to the left, Perforated sheet filled for the area dimensions to the right

**Simulation Testing: In CAD, simulation testing is vital for validating product designs, assessing factors like structural integrity and performance before physical implementation. Automation transforms this process, enabling systematic and rapid execution of tests. Popular simulation methods, including Finite Element Analysis (FEA), Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD), and kinematic simulations, evaluate structural strength, fluid flow, and motion, respectively. Leveraging automation frameworks, the CAD bot conducts these tests seamlessly, ensuring that the designed product meets rigorous standards. This accelerates the testing phase, enhances accuracy, and contributes to the overall efficiency and reliability of the product development lifecycle.

Invoice Generation: To create invoices, we utilize third-party tools through an API request, where the bot transmits necessary metadata. The third-party service responds by providing a PDF invoice file, subsequently sent to the customer for billing.

Invoice generated by UiPath Bot, nmnithinkrishna

One of the Invoice generated by UiPath Bot

**Send for Printing & Schedule Delivery: Manufacturing has also embraced advancements like cloud or local printing, including 3D printing and more. Now, the bot takes charge of the printer hardware, whether via a local connection or cloud-controlled connectivity, to transmit the product design file or metadata to the 3D printer and initiate a print request. Simultaneously, it schedules delivery and installation with the manufacturer, accomplished through a form in the official portal or perhaps via a CRM.

**Plan for the future, not implemented at the moment.

This proof of concept serves as a testament to UiPath's versatility and capability to revolutionize the end-to-end manufacturing flow for product fabrication. The prototype showcases UiPath's prowess not only in streamlining stringent operations like order processing but also in addressing critical aspects of the manufacturing process, such as CAD design and simulation testing. By seamlessly integrating automation into these intricate processes, UiPath demonstrates its transformative potential in enhancing efficiency, precision, and innovation within the manufacturing industry. This marks a significant step towards a future where UiPath plays a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of automated and intelligent manufacturing.

Ready to be part of the revolution in how we create things?

Well, here's your chance! Our project is now Open Source, available for everyone to contribute and get started. Join us in shaping the future of manufacturing automation with UiPath. Your contributions can make a real difference, making manufacturing smarter, more efficient, and open to all. Why not jump in and be part of this exciting journey?

Joining our project offers numerous benefits, not only for the collective improvement of manufacturing processes but also for individual growth. Contributing to our open-source project offers a unique opportunity for skill enhancement through hands-on experiences and real-world challenges. Engage in collaborative learning within a global community, exchanging ideas and gaining insights across diverse domains. Build a robust resume by showcasing your commitment to innovation and community-driven development, while also enjoying networking opportunities and making impactful contributions that leave a lasting mark on the manufacturing landscape.

Join us, and let's innovate together - GitHub Repo

Universal Automation

Our project can extend beyond manufacturing, positioned as universally applicable, it transcends industry boundaries, catering to domains such as Automobile, Aeronautical & Defense, Electrical & Electronics, and Civil & Architecture.

We explored a sample scenario in the automobile industry, attempting to generate a gear based on a customer order request. Please note, this is a very high-level example. Fortunately, the UiPath bot was able to draft a gear structure by leveraging the entire solution flow designed above. While the result may not be entirely accurate, it demonstrates the bot's capability to generate a basic gear structure

Gear CAD design by UiPath, nmnithinkrishna

CAD design of a helical gear with 20 teeth by UiPath Bot

Our future enhancements include,

  • Utilizing advanced requirement and behavior analysis, our upcoming feature will intelligently recommend vendors, streamlining the selection process for optimal choices tailored to your project needs.
  • Before the physical fabrication process begins, our system will conduct thorough stress and thermal performance tests, ensuring robustness and reliability in your products. Stay tuned for a future where perfection is tested before it's built.
  • We will also aim to minimize output distortions, ensuring unparalleled precision and expanding the scope of possibilities. Experience a new level of refinement as we fine-tune our models to deliver optimal results for your automation needs.
  • Embracing the smallest units of automation, our project will be transitioning to an 'Automation Atoms Framework' in near future. This innovative approach breaks down complex processes into elemental components, promoting flexibility, scalability, and efficient orchestration. Each 'Automation Atom' functions as a self-contained independent process, collectively forming a powerful and adaptable automation ecosystem.
  • Acknowledging the diverse demands of the manufacturing landscape, we will be elevating our design module to adeptly handle intricate nuances like skew and design irregularities. This transformation ensures it is exceptionally adaptive to the diverse challenges presented by variations in design.

As we traverse the landscape of manufacturing innovation, our journey with UiPath's AI Hackathon and the development of 'Autonomous Product/Component Fabrication' unveils a transformative chapter. We've explored the synergy between UiPath's cutting-edge AI capabilities and the vast potential of automated manufacturing. The Community Avengers, the Brainy Fools team, and the collaborative spirit of the hackathon underscored the power of organized innovation.

In closing, our journey doesn't end here; it evolves. The path ahead holds exciting possibilities, and with Universal Automation as our guiding principle, we stride confidently towards a future where automation knows no bounds. Join us on this remarkable expedition of innovation and transformation.

Want to experience the future of healthcare firsthand? Explore our health care based open-source project, "Doctor's Assistant" and contribute to democratizing healthcare access through AI innovation with UiPath.

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