Automation Alley in Troy Seeking Host Plants for MI Smart Factory Tour Program

Automation Alley is looking for companies with advanced manufacturing plants who are willing to host college students for its MI Smart Factory Tour program. // Photograph Courtesy of Automation Alley

Automation Alley in Troy, the state’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, is looking for companies with advanced manufacturing plants to host college students from across the country during its new MI Smart Factory Tour program.

The MI Smart Factory Tour will allow students to explore the technologies of Industry 4.0 — including collaborative robotics, sensors, data analysis, 3D printing, artificial intelligence, virtual and augmented reality, and more — from the factory floor, exposing them to manufacturing job opportunities in high-tech, in-demand fields while simultaneously introducing Michigan manufacturing companies to potential job candidates.

“This innovative new program was created to address the need for manufacturing talent while giving students an opportunity to learn about Michigan’s technologically advanced manufacturing companies and discover the career pathways available to them in Michigan,” says Tom Kelly, executive director and CEO of Automation Alley. “It’s a win-win for industry and for our future workforce.”

The day-long tours will include up to four stops at different manufacturing sites across the state and will allow students to gain a practical understanding of Industry 4.0 from an implementation perspective. The program also offers an opportunity for high-level networking while students discover the wealth of manufacturing job opportunities available in Michigan’s smart factories.

A pilot MI Smart Factory Tour took place in October 2018 with students from Ohio University’s Russ College of Engineering and Technology visiting Fori Automation in Shelby Township, Parker Hannifin and Hirotech in Auburn Hills, and FANUC in Rochester Hills.

“I loved getting to visit so many different companies,” says Jelena Mrvos, a mechanical engineering senior at the Ohio University, who took part in the MI Smart Factory Tour pilot. “Experiencing different corporate cultures in real life was also very interesting. That term is tossed around so often, but this trip gave me examples of many different types. It is something I will refer back to when interviewing for jobs.”

Schools interested in taking the tour and Michigan manufacturing companies interested in participating as host sites should contact Automation Alley at or 800-427-5100. For more information about Automation Alley’s programs and services, or to become a member, visit