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Robots, Automation and Artificial Intelligence Showcased at Expo hosted by Smart Factory Institute

Over 250 manufacturing professionals attend Smart Solutions for Smart Factories Expo and Luncheon held at PIE Innovation Center in Cleveland, Tennessee

Cleveland, Tenn. (August 11, 2023) – The. Smart Factory Institute and the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association (CRMA) hosted the Smart Solutions for Smart Factories Expo, which brought together industry leaders, experts, and enthusiasts to explore the latest advancements in manufacturing technology. The event featured Dave Korda, Plant Manager for Nokian Tyres, as the keynote speaker, and had the renowned "Be Pro Be Proud" truck on display, sponsored by the Tennessee Manufacturers Association.

The event was held at the WACKER Commons within the new Partnerships in Industry and Education (PIE) Innovation Center, located in Cleveland, Tenn, a first-of-its-kind regional education facility providing business, industry, secondary/postsecondary educational opportunities, and nonprofit services under one roof. Tennessee local, statewide, and federal elected officials also attended the Expo and luncheon, and were given a tour of the PIE Center, which has been praised by officials as a model for training and recruiting skilled workers for the many technical, high-demand jobs of the future.

The Smart Solutions for Smart Factory's Expo aimed to provide a platform for manufacturers to discover cutting-edge technologies and innovative solutions that can enhance productivity, efficiency, and sustainability in their operations. The event highlighted the importance of embracing smart manufacturing practices to stay competitive in today's rapidly evolving industrial landscape. Throughout the day, Smart Factory Strategic Technology Partners, including Igus Motion Plastics, Phoenix Contact, and Senswork Vision Systems, presented automation solutions to help drive Industry 4.0 adoption.

“Our technology partners are a crucial part of our mission here at the Smart Factory Institute,” said Ben Stone, Director, Smart Factory Institute. “They are leading the charge with innovative new technologies, and we are thrilled they were able to join us at the Expo to help bridge the gap between future technology and manufacturers by promoting knowledge transfer in the fields of automation, robotics, and Industry 4.0.”

Other exhibitors at the Expo included, Advanced Control Solutions, EOSYS, SMC USA, Makusafe, WERMA USA, Auvesy-MDT, 3DOLOGiE, Lincoln Electric, Metro Services, TN Chamber, C.L. Burks Construction, PDS Equipment, Kiosk and Display, Dalrymple Rigging & Transport, ElectroMechanical Services, Motlow State Community College, University of Tennessee Center for Industrial Services, University of Tennessee Center for Professional Services, VI Media Pros, Mix 104.1 WCLE, and Embassy Suites.

During the Expo, the Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association hosted their annual Manufacturers Excellence Luncheon. The Luncheon featured keynote speaker, Dave Korda, Plant Manager of Nokian Tyres of Rhea County. Korda discussed Achieving Sustainable Growth: Empowering a Team from the Ground Up, and how Nokian Tyres overcame barriers and challenges presented in building and starting up their Dayton, Tennessee facility, the company’s first manufacturing facility in North America.

Denise Hall, President & CEO of Peak Performance, the operators of the Smart Factory Institute also addressed attendees, highlighting the importance of building a technology-focused manufacturing workforce pipeline in Tennessee. Attendees participated in a real-time poll that highlighted lack of expertise and skill in implementing Industry 4.0 was the number one challenge that business face. “Technology and automation is not going to eliminate jobs, but it will certainly change the way we work and gaining these new digital skills is necessary”. Peak Performance and The Smart Factory Institute helps manufacturers across the country train their workers on the skills needed in an advanced manufacturing environment.

“The Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association (CRMA) was founded in 1902 as the first local manufacturers association in the United States,” said Megan King, President and CEO, Chattanooga Regional Manufacturers Association. “We are proud to carry on our founders’ legacy by recognizing the essential role manufacturers provide for our communities and economies at this event.” Sponsors of the event included Chattanooga Gas, McKee Foods Corporation, Chambliss Law, BASF, and JAT Energy.

The Smart Solutions for Smart Factories Expo is one of several annual signature events the Smart Factory Institute hosts. Their next event, the 9th Annual Peak Performance Symposium, will take place on October 20th from 9:00am-2:00pm ET at the Smart Factory Institute located in the PIE Center. The Symposium will feature speakers on Trade, Technology & Talent and will help manufacturers understand these means for their operations and, what impact it will have on their productivity. To purchase tickets or sponsor the event, contact Ben Stone at or purchase directly online.

About Smart Factory Institute

The Smart Factory Institute is a business-driven effort guided by the Tennessee Manufacturers Association driving innovation and technology in Tennessee and the southeastern United States. The Institute, operated by Peak Performance Inc. and located at the Bradley County Partnerships in Industry and Education (PIE) Center, is an exclusive U.S. institute providing manufacturers with connections, collaborative relationships, and certifications for improving manufacturing processes by providing them with access to the latest technology in advanced manufacturing. The global network of Smart Factory Institutes by Deutsche Messe is comprised of leading companies and organizations in advanced manufacturing. For more information, visit

About Peak Performance Inc.

Peak Performance Inc. is a workforce training and consulting firm specializing in incumbent worker training for the manufacturing industry, serving businesses across the country from their headquarters in Cleveland, TN. Peak Performance equips its customers to transform their operational strategy through comprehensive, sustainable solutions in people and processes. Their services are unique, customizing the training to their client’s needs, and using real-world simulations and instructors from the manufacturing industry. For more information, visit

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