The smart factory changes the basis of production. The classical production hierarchy will be dissolved and replaced by self-organizing decentralized cyber-physical production systems. The production chain becomes a production network. Smart products actively support the production process. The workpiece knows what it is, where it is, what it is supposed to be and how it can be manufactured. This makes the production more flexible. Resource efficiency, smart services and big data become indispensable framework conditions. The future impact on thermal processing plants, planned and existing ones, will be significant. This article is an attempt to determine the status of thermal processing plants on the way to the factory of the future.