Andea, a global provider of manufacturing execution systems (MES) solutions, has announced a strategic partnership with Heliogen, a provider of AI-enabled concentrated solar energy. The announcement will see Manufacturo, Andea’s next generation cloud-based solution built for high-tech emergent industries such as energy and aerospace, deployed at Heliogen’s sites in North America.

This is the latest development in Andea’s specialisation in the supply of software to allow manufacturers to become highly scalable and competitive in their market. Andea has extensive experience in developing and delivering MES software, working with clients including CoorsTek, Hexcel and Sierra Nevada Corp.

Manufacturo, its new cloud-based MES solution for hi-tech emergent markets, has been developed by a team of SpaceX alumni who designed and built manufacturing and supply chain software used in the production of rockets, satellites and user terminals. It provides both highly configurable and out-of-the-box applications for multiple manufacturing models – from fully automated high-volume production to complex manual operations – to efficiently optimise and synchronise production processes at scale. Ultimately, Manufacturo offers end-to-end traceability, rich process planning, and operations synchronisation.

Heliogen, which listed on the New York Stock Exchange in December 2021, will deploy Manufacturo to support acceleration of its goal to unlock the power of sunlight and replace fossil fuel energy. This will be achieved by developing a concentrated low-cost solar solution utilising unique advanced computer vision software and artificial intelligence to precisely align an array of mirrors, reflecting sunlight to a target on the top of a tower.

The strategic relationship will see Heliogen receive a tailored Manufacturo solution implemented across multiple sites, including its main heliostat manufacturing facility in Long Beach, California. Andea’s solution will be designed, rolled out and configured for Heliogen’s unique operational and manufacturing needs. This in turn, will shape Manufacturo’s future offering for the wider complex manufacturing market. The cloud-based nature of the solution will allow agility and flexibility for Heliogen and continuous, collaborative product development, to guarantee a fit-for-purpose tool to manage and track manufacturing processes as the firm works to realise its renewable energy ambition.

VP of Solutions at Andea, James Montgomery, says, “This strategic partnership with Heliogen is the perfect marriage and goes beyond that of just customer and supplier. We know that our customers appreciate our openness and willingness to try to solve their problems while maximising their return on investment.”

“What we bring to the table is knowledge and expertise through our highly experienced team and a relationship built on honesty, trust, and a relentless commitment to innovation, with customer needs at the heart. From the superior user experience of Manufacturo to its powerful backend logic and technology, we provide a solution that can fit Heliogen’s business seamlessly while delivering more efficient and streamlined manufacturing processes. When we built Manufacturo, our aim was to create a solution that connected production, processes and technology in hi-tech emergent manufacturing markets like energy, aerospace and defence,” Montgomery continues.

Andy Lambert, Chief Production & Supply Chain Officer at Heliogen, comments, “Using a unique combination of computer vision and an AI-controlled mirror array, Heliogen harnesses solar energy to produce clean industrial-grade heat, power and hydrogen fuel. Andea’s cloud-based manufacturing technology is critical to driving more joined-up operations and data as we rapidly scale our manufacturing processes and output. Incorporating Industry 4.0 technologies is vital to helping high-tech emergent industries, such as renewables, scale at speed, thereby accelerating the energy transition and our mission of achieving a decarbonised global economy.”

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The Andea-Heliogen team: from left, Leon Parkhouse, Andy Lambert, James Montgomery, Kenzo Takai, Oli Ghalebi, Jacob Levitt (photo: Andea/Heliogen)