Internet of Manufacturing Trek 2018

Trumpf Smart Factory

Exploring the latest US manufacturing trends as the industry moves to embrace the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT)

IMCRC and three of its industry participants – UAP, Minerals Technologies and Tradiebot Industries – collaborated with New Zealand’s Callaghan Innovation and joined their US Manufacturing Trek – a delegation of 26 Kiwi manufacturers heading to the Internet of Manufacturing Conference (6-7 June) in Chicago, and to get an exclusive look inside US manufacturing businesses investing in IIOT technologies.

The week-long trek offered participating organisations multiple opportunities to visit and ‘talk technical’ with some of the US’s leading manufacturers using smart technologies and data to drive intelligent action on the factory floor.

Aside from the conference, highlights of the trek included:

  • Haas – a global brand in CNC machines, and a remarkable success story of a manufacturer that has managed to grow rapidly while keeping all of its manufacturing activities in the USA.
  • DAQRI – a leader in Professional Grade AR™ who products accelerate productivity, communication, and key business processes by linking digital content to the real world.
  • Trumpf Smart Factory – a fully operational sheet metal factory that functions as a technology showcase and an Industry 4.0 technology test lab at the same time, focusing on end-to-end integration of systems and processes
  • UI Labs – a unique university + industry partnership, supported by startups, government, and community groups to drive the digital future of manufacturing and cities in the USA


Upon their return, we ask the three IMCRC participants about their trek highlights:

Mario Dimoski, Tradiebot Industries, described the trek as very educational and informative. Being part of the Australian and New Zealand delegation offered him plenty of opportunities to network and exchange ideas with like-minded people. One of his objectives was to get a better understanding of the AR space, especially AR Glasses.

“Getting to feel and touch some of the glasses at Daqri and Trumpf, was very positive. To put them on and see what they really can do and ask the technical questions that you can’t ask online,” he said was very valuable, especially with Tradiebot venturing into this field.


Alex de Andrade, Minerals Technologies, appreciated having the opportunity to gain a better perspective on specialist applications as well as on the day-to-day manufacturing ones. He wanted to find out more about the progression of IoT adoption worldwide, but especially get a feel for what is happening in the US in terms of Original Equipment Manufacturing (OEM). At the conference, the case studies from Nestle and Caterpillar stood out for him, as both organisations have a similar IoT raodmap as compared to Minerals Technologies.

“I expected certain equipment manufacturers to be a lot further advanced than us on adoption and that we would be further behind in terms of key R&D projects. We have a little bit to catch up in terms of using AI for quality controls, but I realised that our key IoT R&D projects for data as a service to our customers are on pa with the best in class OEM’s. Internally, we need to dedicate more focus to our technology strategy, but we are on the right track from what I saw at the conference”, he said.


Matt Tobin’s, UAP, primary objective of joining the Internet of Manufacturing Trek 2018 was to learn more. Admitting that he had never been to a manufacturing or Industry 4.0 conference before, his focus was to get a better understanding of what’s out there and how businesses apply new technologies.

We were considering industry 4.0 for us as a manufacturing company, putting all our focus and attention on technology, implementing robotic machinery and some AR / VR capabilities. We weren’t thinking fully about a digital transformation across the business. So, probably the biggest shift that we will now apply to our strategy and understanding is how we can digitally transform across the entire business.”