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And the winner is....

J ulian Long, Managing Director of EMS, participated on the raffle at the Blechexpo trade fair – and was lucky! As one of the first customers he visited the newly opened Smart Factory from TRUMPF in Chicago. Does he think otherwise about digitalization after this visit? We asked him.

Have you ever won something?
I think I won a stuffed toy as a teenager in a raffle and maybe £2.50 on the Euromillions.

How was the trip?
After enjoying a night in New York we travelled to the TRUMPF factory at Farmington and saw first-hand the latest version of our laser, the TruLaser 2030 4kw fiber and toured the factory whilst learning about TRUMPF US and sheet metal manufacturing in the US. From there we visited the smart Factory near Chicago in America's 'rust belt', learned about import part software integration can play in the manufacturing process, new ways of working and new smart technologies being developed for the industry.

What did you expect from a Smart Factory?
I hoped to see a more streamlined workflow. I was surprised at the extent of the automation of
movement between machines and tracking employed to keep tabs on where everything is.

What impressed you most at the Smart Factory in Chicago?
The building itself was impressive, an interesting contrast of rusted steel exterior and ultramodern interior. The self-driving pallet vehicles were clever as were the new ‘smart glasses’ for remote fault diagnosis. Whilst like something out of science fiction the glasses are a very useful tool if you are days away from an on-site engineer and able to get production running again.


Welcome to the Smart Factory!


As one of the first customers, Julian Long had a look at the newly opened Smart Factory from TRUMPF in Chicago - even from above.


Here, he learned about import part software integration can play in the manufacturing process, new ways of working and new smart technologies being developed for the industry.

Please give us a short overview about of the history of your company.
Next year EMS will celebrate 40 years in the industry. We soon outgrew one, then three start up units and moved to our existing factory in Mildenhall, Suffolk in 1990. Over this period we have grown and specialised in fine-limit sheet metalwork targeted at the electronics industry offering not only precision sheet metalwork but also the finished product with our in-house finishing and
printing facilities. We have both a loyal customer and employee base many who have been with us for over 30 years.

How long are you working together with TRUMPF UK?
We were looking to upgrade our elderly 1.5kW Co2 laser in 2012 when learned about the new TruLaser 1030 fiber and took delivery of the 1st model in the UK. We have over the course of the past 6 years been replacing all our existing machine tools with TRUMPF equipment.

What role does digital transformation plays in your company and how important is this topic for you?
We have always invested in technology, it is all very well having the machines and the capacity but without being able to keep track of the orders and manage workflow it can be a real headache.

What have you learned from the trip?
We’ve learned a lot about systems and software that integrate with the manufacturing process and whilst personnel are removed from the boring administrative roles such as order processing they are very much a part of the shop floor setting and operating roles.

What was the most impressive experience on the whole trip?
Our first visit to NYC, we really enjoyed the sights of Manhattan and the American hospitality. The Smart Factory is indeed a very slick, futuristic implementation of the latest technologies, I think if we can implement even a small percentage of what we have seen we can make a huge difference to the way we work and our productivity.

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