Deloitte Consulting, LLP recently announced the opening of a U.S. Smart Factory in Wichita, Kansas. Bringing together more than 20 world-class solution providers, tech visionaries, and innovators, the new facility is located on the Innovation Campus of Wichita State University and aims to help develop solutions to some of the most difficult challenges in manufacturing.
The Smart Factory features a fully functioning production line that leverages the latest in manufacturing technologies, such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, cloud and edge computing, vision solutions, robotics, and more. Sustainability also plays a big role, with the new facility housed in a net-zero building powered by a renewable energy smart grid and equipped with wind trees, solar assets, and smart lighting. Deloitte will also be contributing to local STEM education via the dissemination of Smart Rover STEM education kits, made from 100% recycled plastics collected from the local waste stream, with a goal of reaching more than 800,000 students over four years.
"Manufacturers must evolve in response to unprecedented levels of supply chain and workforce disruption by reassessing the capacity and agility of their manufacturing operations,” said Dan Helfrich, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Deloitte Consulting, in a prepared statement. “The Smart Factory @ Wichita showcases how Deloitte and our strong ecosystem of collaborators is bringing this innovation to life and helping deliver a combination of strategy and end-to-end technology to help organizations better navigate the challenges of today and tomorrow with a tech-forward approach."
Deloitte’s new Smart Factory will also serve as a local catalyst for operational transformations. Its new technology platform, Smart Factory Accelerator, will provide a suite of managed services designed to help manufacturers make the most of their digital transformation efforts. The cloud-based, turnkey set of solutions will utilize advanced analytics in combination with Deloitte’s network of relationships to help overcome operational challenges, provide visibility into operations at scale, and offer proactive, predictive operational insights.
The new Smart Factory is expected to draw more than 5,000 visitors to the area over the next year, with further growth anticipated in the future. The facility also engages with local community stakeholders such as vendors, businesses, and suppliers and will be a part of Wichita State University’s curriculum as an applied learning experience, helping to inspire the next generation of STEM manufacturing experts and thought leaders.