Like their global counterparts, Chippewa Valley manufacturing firms are undergoing an enormous transformation which will change the way they approach manufacturing. This rapid fusion between the “real” and the “virtual” world are giving rise to what are known as cyber-physical production systems (Smart Manufacturing) which local manufacturers need to be more aware of.
Chippewa County Economic Development Corporation (CCEDC) and UW- Stout MOC continued to help Chippewa Valley manufacturers examine the vision of these Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 Strategies by hosting and organizing a familiarization tour of the TRUMPF Smart Factory located in Hoffman Estates, Ill.
Five local manufacturing firms traveled by charter bus to the $30 million Trumpf facility in order to better help them prepare their Smart Strategies and explore and see the factory demonstration of Automation/ Robotics, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence, and Additive Manufacturing. Trumpf, a German machine tool and laser manufacturer, which has long specialized in sheet metal fabrication, is a family-owned company and build the newest example of modern digital manufacturing or Smart Factory. The Chippewa Valley visitors experienced firsthand TRUMPF’s digitally networked machines seamlessly interface with customers and their supply chain to fabricate out of sheet metal- home appliances, farm, medical, construction and automotive equipment parts. Attendees also had the opportunity learn how the building was carefully constructed and choreographed to embody digital manufacturing and spectacular smart technology.
“We opened in September 2017, and like to refer to this factory showroom as the Walt Disney tour for sheet metal manufacturing and it is a small scale model of what Industry 4.0 should look like. It is a progression and we are constantly moving for process efficiency from the initial order to part delivery,” Development Engineer, Bruce Lerario said, referring to the meticulously controlled visitor experiences that guests explore at Disney theme parks.
“CCEDC as part of our business retention program, wanted to provide insight to local executives and decision makers into the journey of Smart Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 and what value it may bring to their business and to the Chippewa Valley. I think we accomplished with this trip to the Trumpf Smart Factory,” sasid Charlie Walker President/CEO of the CCEDC. “The tour of the facility was a critical chance for local manufacturing companies to be educated on the newest technology and Industry 4.0” said UW-Stout MOC’s Bob Oliver. “And the trip was a perfect setting to discuss and have a conversation on what should our local industries be doing now to become Smart Manufacturing ready.”