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This year’s PowerPlex conference April 25-28 in Detroit, Michigan had 1,200 attendees—that is to say, 1,200 “makers of things”— the largest gathering of cloud manufacturing professionals in the world. Each attendee’s badge told us, “we make automobile braking systems” or “we make beer” or “we make innovative ideas,” highlighting the manufacturing focus of Plex, as well as the company’s customers and partners.
The conference featured 10 tracks, 84 sessions, 100 presenters (44 customers), 14 peer exchanges, 12 roadmap breakouts, and the Plex Experience Lab Solutions Expo. The expo provided an informative mix of content—including Plex product information, strategy and roadmap information, customer use cases, and product demonstrations. “Hands-on” sessions, panel discussions, networking events, and meals provided ample opportunities to share information among members of the Plex community.
Plex CEO Jason Blessing delivered the keynote, providing statistics about Plex’s growth and customer base, and outlining his vision for the future. Joined by CTO Jerry Foster, Group VP of Development Jason Prater and Group VP of Product Management Karl Ederle, the audience learned about new Plex product announcements and innovative use cases. Here are the highlights:
The Plex Manufacturing Cloud Continues to Grow
The Plex Manufacturing Cloud delivers five million containers of product each week (up by 40 percent year-over-year) with each container holding thousands of parts—just under 10 containers produced every second of every day of every week. The combined customer revenue of the Plex Manufacturing Cloud is equivalent to a $32B company, up over 31 percent from last year, and larger than well-known companies such as 3M and Nike. Of the 460 Plex customers spread over 1,500 facilities and 22 countries, 40 percent expanded their usage of Plex this year. And Plex boasts an industry leading renewal rate of 97 percent.
The Future is Now
Blessing spoke about the coming of the Fourth Industrial Revolution which will be characterized by clean modern factories, mobile devices, wearables, networked machines, smart sensors, and automated reporting and analytics. Interestingly, nearly half of the traffic to and from the shop floor to the Plex Manufacturing Cloud are transactions to connected sensors and machines, with the Plex Manufacturing Cloud processing over 45,000 transactions every second, in a highly automated, scalable environment.
In fact, Plex customers are already leveraging Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies “to deliver great products that delight customers.” For example, Green Flash Brewing Company (and what is more delightful than beer?) is using the Plex Manufacturing Cloud to quickly scale its San Diego-based business and to add a new manufacturing plant in Virginia Beach—supporting a 40 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR).
GenZe electric bikes and scooters are part of the rise of the sharing economy—providing alternative, affordable transportation across the US. The Plex Manufacturing Cloud supports the company’s rapid expansion into new markets and new products. The scooters are internet-enabled and connected to the cloud, enabling GenZe to collect information that can be analyzed to understand customer usage patterns and to provide monitoring of the scooter’s parts to support proactive maintenance.
New Plex Products and Capabilities
The keynote provided an excellent overview of conference themes and subjects covered in more detail in breakout sessions. Look for future blogs that will delve more deeply into products, customers, and customer use cases featured at PowerPlex.