The building is nondescript. So much so, that if you drove by it and glanced over from Bowers Expressway you wouldn’t realize it’s there. But inside the Festo Experience Center is some of the newest and most advanced tech used by Silicon Valley companies.
“We may be a hidden gem here,” said Igor Djordjioski, a Business Development Manager for Festo. “But we are a very established company, over 21,000 employees globally…People within our industry know us well, especially in Europe. In North America, we continue to build recognition amidst heavy competition and this Experience Center is an important part of that effort.”
Festo is a global manufacturer of industrial automation and process control solutions. Its clientele includes dozens of Silicon Valley companies; everything from small startups to major corporations in a multitude of industries including semi-conductor, automotive, pharma and consumer electronics to name a few.
“We opened this facility to become even closer to our growing base of customers here,” said Djordjioski. “We have been in the U.S. for nearly 50 years and in California for almost 20 years now, with engineering and manufacturing in Livermore.”
The company itself was actually established in Germany nearly 100 years ago. To this day, it remains family-owned.
“We have a global presence as a leading automation technology company. Being in the heart of Silicon Valley is simply a requirement,” said Djordjioski. “[We] serve the needs of high technology customers here and being close to them is the intention of this facility… It’s all about the ability to easily collaborate, explore cutting edge applications and the service we can provide.”
The Silicon Valley experience center gives new and current customers a chance to experience Festo’s technology first hand. Visitors get to see the company’s cloud-based dashboards and data analytics for facilities process optimization.
In the future, Festo plans to feature displays of its newest technology including its frictionless transport systems through high temperature semiconductors. While the company’s tech is state of the art, it’s the fun side of Festo that most people know about.
“Many times people know us because of our Bionic Learning Network,” said Djordjioski. “Festo is very well known, especially among students, for our bio mimicry. We learn from nature and we apply that learning in the development of our products.”
In fact, a March Twitter video of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos using the Festo’s dragonfly drone has garnered more than 300,000 views and 1,200 retweets.
Bezos’s only complaint, “Bigger please…I want to get on!”
While the tech is cool, what the company’s engineers learn from the tech is the real benefit.
“Nature has had millions of years to create what we see right now…All these animals, all these species, they survived for a reason; because they have responded to the challenges of their environment and adapted with unique and amazing solutions,” said Djordjioski. “Being able to learn from nature, studying bone structure, airflow, muscle and dynamic movements gives engineers valuable insights on how to design for efficient motion. You can see the influence of nature in Festo’s industrial products.
The Festo Experience Center is closed to the public and is by appointment only for businesses.