Machine tool manufacturer and Industry 4.0 pioneer TRUMPF has opened a new technology center in Chicago that showcases the interaction between people, machines, storage technology, automation, software and Industry 4.0 solutions. The company calls it "the first smart factory for Industry 4.0 solutions that was designed for digitally connected production processes throughout."
The facility covers more than 50,000 sq. ft.; the cost of building and equipping it was $ 31,188,170 (26 million euros)—$15,594,085 (13 million euros), respectively. It will be used to introduce digitally connected production solutions to TRUMPF customers. To this end, the company designed a factory that intelligently connects the entire sheet metal process chain—from the initial order for a sheet metal component to its design, manufacture and delivery.
The TRUMPF smart factory boasts custom-designed architecture: The control room and its large screens provide visitors with real-time process performance data for the current production process. A 55m-long production hall houses a connected sheet metal manufacturing line, the centerpiece of which is a high storage bay that supplies materials to the machine tools connected to it. A skywalk spans the production hall, offering a bird’s-eye view of the factory and enabling those who stand on it to comprehend the production systems as well as their material and information flows as a whole. It is part of the self-supporting steel ceiling structure that was manufactured by one of TRUMPF’s customers in Atlanta.
Chicago is at the center of the North American market for sheet metal processing. Some 40 percent of the entire sheet metal processing industry is based in directly neighboring states. “In Chicago, we can present our vision for connected production to our customers in the Midwest practically at their doorstep—and work with them to drive forward connected production in the Industry 4.0 era,” stated Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, CEO of the TRUMPF Group. About 250 guests attended the facility’s official opening on Sept. 12.
Edited from information provided by TRUMPF.