German laser and machine tool maker Trumpf has opened a new Industry 4.0 showroom in Chicago, Illinois.
Rather than a typical showroom that showcases a few pieces of equipment or prototypes, the company wanted to show customers the big picture of an IoT-connected industrial process. To this end, the company built a $15 million facility that houses $15 million of equipment.
The factory ‘intelligently connects’ an entire sheet metal process chain – from the initial order for a sheet metal component to its design, manufacture and delivery.
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.
“For us, North America is one of the most important markets. And 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 connected production in the Industry 4.0 era,” said Nicola Leibinger-Kammüller, chief executive officer of the Trumpf Group, at the facility’s opening.
The company calls the new facility a ‘smart factory,’ but the purpose of the production line is to demonstrate the utility of IoT-connectivity in a real-world situation.