TRUMPF is building a Demo Factory for Industry 4.0 in Chicago
Connected processes on display – focus on material and information flow –
transparency on multiple levels – opening in summer 2017.
Industry 4.0 in its purest form: the machine tool and laser manufacturer TRUMPF is building a demonstration factory in Chicago that is designed from the ground up as a flexible, digitally connected production plant. The entire “sheet metal process chain” – from ordering of a sheet metal part to its design, production and delivery – is intelligently interlinked according to the very latest principles.
Unlike the classic show rooms of the TRUMPF Group, where the emphasis lies on individual machines, the Chicago plant will be focusing on the entire customer process, complete with material and information flow. Covering an area of roughly 5,500 square meters, the new site is aimed at demonstrating the interaction of people, machines, storage equipment, automation, software, and Industry 4.0 solutions.
Real production processes
The Industry 4.0 offerings at TRUMPF are all subsumed under the name TruConnect. All the key TruConnect modules will be in operation at the Chicago plant, enabling comprehensive demonstration of production according to the principles of Industry 4.0. The production line is designed in such a way that entire real production processes can be carried out – that is, customers at TRUMPF in Chicago can dispatch their own orders. The demo factory, with its initial staff of around 30 employees, is aimed at everyone working in sheet metal fabrication; the main target group is small and medium-sized job shops who are just starting out with digital connectivity. Their requirements, and findings from production, will be collected in the development offices on-site and then made available to the central R&D departments of the TRUMPF Group. Also important in this regard is the experience of entirely new Industry 4.0 business models such as capacity pooling, which can be systematically gathered within the fully connected factory.
Chicago was consciously chosen as the location for the new demo factory because it lies at the heart of the North American market for sheet metal processing. The directly adjacent states contain around 40 percent of the country’s entire sheet metal working industry. Proximity to the second-largest airport in the US also makes the new TRUMPF subsidiary easily accessible, both nationally and internationally. TRUMPF Chicago is seen as an international center of excellence for Industry 4.0 solutions, and has architecture to match. The “Control Center” – a command center with large display areas – makes various process parameters available to visitors in real time.
A bird’s-eye view of the factory reveals a catwalk, the so-called “Skywalk”: Spanning the full length of the 55-meter-long hall, with its material and information flow, it emphasizes the fact that the production facilities constitute a single, overall system. The Skywalk is part of the cantilevered ceiling structure that is manufactured by a TRUMPF customer in Atlanta. With construction costs estimated at about 13 million euros, the demo factory was designed by the Berlin architectural office of
BarkowLeibinger, and its official opening is planned for the summer of 2017.
Contact us: MastersofSheetMetal@trumpf.com
This article was first published in summer 2016.