WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – Wichita State University and professional services company, Deloitte, announced the launch of The Smart Factory @ Wichita Thursday. The immersive experiential learning environment is expected to accelerate the future of manufacturing, innovation, and new technologies.

A smart factory is an advanced digitized production facility that uses Artificial Intelligence technologies and advanced robotics to manufacture products.

“Smart factory solutions are becoming even more important as companies re-evaluate the resiliency and agility of their supply chains, which can determine an organization’s success in the marketplace and the success of entire ecosystems,” said Nishita Henry, chief innovation officer at Deloitte Consulting LLP.

Smart factories are built to self-adapt and autonomously optimize manufacturing operations. The Smart Factory @ Wichita will make digital transformations real by demonstrating how to merge existing technologies with new innovations, sparking a dialogue about how companies can accelerate their journey towards scalable and sustainable capabilities.

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

“We’ll be having both our faculty and students working side by side with some of the leading manufacturing companies, some of the brightest individuals from around the world. This is in conjunction with our National Institute Digital Transformation, which we’ll be launching later this year,” said WSU President Jay Golden. Golden said the advanced site would have zero impact operating, using renewable energies. The facility is just the next step in the Innovation Campus’s continued growth.

The WSU President says Wichita’s manufacturing hub roots make Wichita one of the most vital choices for the facility and hopes it will continue to push commerce in the couth Central Kansas area forward.

“Wichita is a cutting-edge hub for precision manufacturing and technology,” said Jay Golden, “The Smart Factory @ Wichita is the future, offering endless technological capabilities for organizations, as we believe it’s critical to provide a hands-on learning experience for our business and academic communities.”

Deloitte’s recent study says 86% of manufacturers surveyed believe the smart factory will be the primary driver of manufacturing competition in five years.

The 60,000 square foot Smart Factory at Wichita is expected to open to clients, industry partners, and students in 2021.