IMC Newsdesk

Deloitte, Wichita State, launch smart factory

  • September 16, 2020
  • William Payne

Deloitte and Wichita State University have launched a smart manufacturing testbed designed to demonstate smart factory technologies. The Smart Factory @ Wichita will provide an immersive learning environment designed to accelerate manufacturing innovation and development.

Deloitte and Wichita State are constructing the brand-new facility on Wichita State’s Innovation Campus, which will include a full-scale production line, dedicated space for select ecosystem sponsors and experiential labs exploring smart factory capabilities.

The facility envisages a highly digitised and connected production facility that uses technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things and robotics to manufacture products.

The Smart Factory @ Wichita will demonstrate how to merge existing technologies with new innovations. The founders aim to spark a dialogue about how companies can accelerate their journey towards scalable and sustainable capabilities.

“Smart factory solutions are becoming even more important as companies re-evaluate the resiliency and agility of their supply chains, which can determine an organisation’s success in the marketplace and the success of entire ecosystems,” said Nishita Henry, chief innovation officer at Deloitte Consulting LLP. “Together with Wichita State, Deloitte will create a unique experience that captures the innovation, value proposition and disruptive technological capabilities of the smart factory.”

“Wichita is a cutting-edge hub for precision manufacturing and technology. By collaborating with Deloitte, we will be able to bring together the organisation’s experience with our educational, research and innovation capabilities,” said Jay Golden, president of Wichita State University. “The Smart Factory @ Wichita is the future, offering endless technological capabilities for organisations, as we believe it’s critical to provide a hands-on learning experience for our business and academic communities.”   

The Smart Factory @ Wichita will be a net-zero impact smart building on a smart grid featuring 60,000 square feet of sustainable space. The end-to-end smart production line will demonstrate the art of the possible through advanced manufacturing methods and technologies and will also manufacture STEM education interactive kits that will be donated to local organisations in support of Deloitte’s advancement of STEM education initiatives.

The facility is expected to open to clients, industry partners and students next year.

It is the evolution of Deloitte’s existing experience at Wichita State, which features more than 40 robots, robotic programs and cyber applications, 26 AR/VR assets and high-end data visualisations, 10 types of 3D printers, nine reverse engineering machine types, 21 professional engineering software programs and more. It aims to offer a compelling experience in which the digital, physical, and experimental come together — for educators, collaborators, and clients — providing the opportunity to see how Industry 4.0 can make an impact and spur innovation and smart factory capabilities.