Deutsche Messe Technology Academy initiates the first facility for industrial knowledge transfer in the USA.

Deutsche Messe Technology Academy is continuing its rapid internationalisation in the USA by opening the Smart Factory Institute in Chattanooga on 1 October 2021. This industrial knowledge transfer facility is supported by several partners in the USA and also by the Volkswagen Academy and is intended to stimulate innovation in industrial companies in the southeast of the USA.

The project, which was envisaged by the Deutsche Messe Technology Academy even before the outbreak of the global pandemic, found the support of numerous partners in the USA. The Tennessee Manufacturers Association, the personnel development company Peak Performance Inc. and the Volkswagen Academy are working together on the Smart Factory Institute Chattanooga. The project has the backing of the Tennessee state legislature and Governor Bill Lee: Tennessee gave the green light for the project and is providing "seed money" of $400,000 for the institute.

Other local partners of the Volkswagen Academy, such as the Engineering and Information Technologies Division at Chattanooga State Community College, are also contributing to the new institute. Its goal is the transfer of industrial knowledge in this region in the southeast of the USA. Denise Rice, president and CEO of Peak Performance Inc. and director of the institute: ²The technologies presented at the facility cover all aspects of Industry 4.0. ² She said the Smart Factory Institute aims to focus on seven main categories: Systems Integration, Cloud Computing, Collaborative Robotics, Additive Manufacturing, Augmented and Virtual Reality, Big Data & Analytics and Cyber Physical Systems. Denise Rice announces: ²We will also offer workshops and training on new ways of working such as SMART TPM and Agile Working."

The VW Chattanooga plant itself is providing the infrastructure for the academy, which is located right next to the assembly plant. Tom du Plessis, manager of the VW plant in Chattanooga emphasised the long-term effect of qualification for the region.

On behalf of the entire local industry, Bradley Jackson, President and CEO of the Tennessee Manufacturers Association, welcomed the establishment of the institute. He said it will help the state of Tennessee to be "at the forefront of promoting innovation" in the USA.

Both face-to-face and online events are planned in Chattanooga. For Denise Rice, one of the lessons learned from the pandemic year is to provide mixed forms of learning with virtual formats as in the other locations of the Deutsche Messe Technology Academy. "This will allow us to reach a broader audience virtually." The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will also cooperate with the new Smart Factory Institute with its department of industrial and organisational psychology.

Denise Rice is also supported by the new director of the Smart Factory Institute: Mary Beth Hudson. She was site manager of Wacker's polysilicon production plant in nearby Charleston for five years and has a good network with local industry. "Our success will be defined by increasing the competitiveness of the manufacturing industry, which will introduce new and smart technologies and employ highly skilled workers."

For Thomas Rilke, as Division Manager of the Deutsche Messe Technology Academy, the upcoming opening of an industry academy in the US is a long-held plan and an important step: ²Our drive for internationalisation is to support our internationally active technology partners in the global transfer of knowledge. A presence in the USA, one of the leading industrialised countries in the world, is therefore a necessity for us."

Rilke is convinced that the Smart Factory Institute can contribute to the further development of industry in the southeastern USA. As at the Academy's other locations around the world, he also expects it to provide impulses for further industrial settlements. ²Sustainable and successful investment is increasingly tied to the ability of locations to keep pace with the ever-changing skills requirements in manufacturing. We want to contribute to this everywhere." Reinhold Umminger, Director Global Business at Deutsche Messe Technology Academy, believes Chattanooga is the ideal location for a new industrial academy - and not just because of its proximity to the Volkswagen plant: ²The most important thing is that our partner Peak Performance will open up the market with a highly motivated team."


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