So what about this exiderdome thing anyway?

With Chicago luminaries like Alderman Ed Burke (arguably the most powerful man in Illinois politics) and Robert Pritzker (arguably the richest man in Illinois) in the audience, Siemens' own luminaries participated in a celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony on Navy Pier last night. Delayed by last-minute run-ins with Chicago bureaucracy, George Nolen, CEO of Siemens Corporation, the US subsidiary of Siemens AG, Heinrich Hiesinger, the CEO of Siemens Industry Sector, and Dennis Sadlowski, CEO of Siemens Energy and Automation spoke about Siemens' Chicago roots, Siemens' US heritage, and the future of Siemens, both in the United States and globally. Nolen, the first American ever chosen to lead Siemens' US business noted that Siemens started its US business in Chicago over a century ago, and still has its largest presence in Illinois and Chicagoland. Hiesinger and Sadlowski emphasised Siemens' commitment to the United States market, both as a vendor and as a manufacturer. They again spoke of their investments in Elgin, Ill., and in the Iowa wind turbine blade manufacturing plant. Once the ribbon was cut, tours of exiderdome began. Siemens has thoughtfully provided an FAQ on exiderdome: exiderdome: THE WORLD OF AUTOMATION What is exiderdome? exiderdome is a traveling automation technology expo and learning laboratory for Siemens customers in the manufacturing and commercial facilities segments.  With nearly 10,000 square feet of space in a two-story modular building, exiderdome is a platform for showcasing state-of-the-art technology and creating an exchange of ideas that customer can use to build their business, improve productivity or reduce product cycle and cost.   How many people do you expect to visit exiderdome, and who? Siemens expects more than 9,000 customers and potential customers to visit exiderdome during its stops in nine major U.S. manufacturing centers between July 2008 and May 2009.  Visitors are expected to range from plant and building engineers through middle managers responsible for operations, and senior leadership at major industrial companies.   How long will it be in the U.S.?  What are the tour stops? exiderdome will visit nine major, U.S. manufacturing centers between July 2008 and May 2009.  The tour kicks off in Chicago, before traveling to Detroit, Boston, New York, Charlotte, Orlando, Denver, Los Angeles and Houston. Why is Siemens doing this? Committed to meeting the needs of its customers around the world, Siemens is using exiderdome to bring the latest automation technology and strategies for success directly to its customers in the manufacturing and commercial facilities segments. exiderdome will provide customers and prospects an up close view of the latest technology, while creating a forum for exchanging ideas they can use to make their businesses more productive.  Increased productivity enables Siemens customers to be more competitive and successful in the marketplace, which results in a stronger relationship with Siemens. Why is it a learning laboratory? Siemens enjoys a reputation for not only offering the broadest range of electrical and electronic products, systems and services, but also for helping its customers think about new and more productive ways to conduct their business. exiderdome combines experience with expertise.  Each day at exiderdome, Siemens customers will be offered a wide range of training and other learning events on the latest developments in security, energy and the environment, innovation, productivity and other key business challenges.  The learning events will be led by Siemens executives and outside experts such as industry analysts, futurists, academics and dignitaries. What are the multi-media aspects?  Four atrium walls – nearly 100 linear feet – are moveable full-wall, multi-media displays.  Seven high definition video projectors can project 625 megabytes – as much data as 25,000 written pages – per second in an experience that surrounds the audience.  The show visitors will see is created especially for U.S. customers.   A second multi-media experience ends the exiderdome tour, with multiple monitors highlighting Siemens and its customers in the United States. What products will be displayed? Seven product containers will showcase 137,000 products, organized by family of technology.  They are 1) Commercial & Industrial Power Infrastructure, 2) Industrial Controls, 3) Drives & Motors, 4) Motion Control, 5) Discrete Automation 1, 6) Discrete Automation 2, and 7) Process Automation. An eighth container will feature a global overview of Siemens technologies.   How does it get from city to city? exiderdome will travel by a specially-built barge to the first four venues – Chicago, Detroit, Boston and New York City.  The barge is designed to provide a full-time platform for exiderdome, eliminating much of the construction and assembly needed at each stop.  Width was a key design criterion for the barge because it will travel through the locks along the St. Lawrence Seaway.  It has four inches of clearance in the smallest of the locks.   After its stop in New York, it will be packed into standard DIN containers and transported by 55 tractor trailers to the remaining tour stops.  All together, the exhibition elements and their transportation trucks weigh about 670 tons.  Though a single convoy of these trucks would be very impressive, the trucks will travel in five or more smaller convoys to address traffic and logistical concerns.