It started with the arrival of the first three IRB 140 robots to the Piedmont Technical College (PTC) Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CAM) in Laurens. This spring marked the official launch of a partnership between PTC and ABB, a leading supplier of industrial robots that serves 53 countries around the world.
Finding that some of its U.S. customers wanted more options than ABB’s Michigan or Alabama facilities for robotics training, the company sought a location to offer an additional U.S. training site in South Carolina. The CAM was a perfect fit.
“It was geared more toward the local customers in the Carolinas, but anybody in the United States can sign up to attend classes at the CAM location,” explained ABB Account Executive Michael Clark. “I like the facility. I think it is spectacular.”
It’s clearly a win-win for PTC as well.
“It’s an opportunity to certify our staff for free,” said J.C. Crowder, a mechatronics instructor at the CAM. While training currently is being provided by ABB instructors, Crowder is in the process of becoming certified to conduct the ABB training himself, a significant cost-saving benefit for the global company, which has a plant in Belton (Anderson County) that manufactures drives. While the CAM training will focus on robotics, ABB also provides a wide array of industrial digitalization products and services for utilities, industry, transportation and infrastructure customers worldwide.
“It’s exciting. We are now an official ABB training site,” Crowder said. “We are teaching basic programming and electrical maintenance classes.”
Another training partnership with the college helped Samsung Electronics America prepare workers for the $380 million appliance manufacturing facility it was building in Newberry. As construction in Newberry commenced, Samsung lacked a completed training space. In the interim, the manufacturer used flex space available at the CAM to train new workers. The partnership ― administered through readySC™, a division of the SC Technical College System ― started in late 2017 and ran for about five months, through the spring of 2018.
ReadySC™ works with the state’s 16 technical colleges to help promote economic development by attracting new companies with customized recruiting and training solutions in partnership with the technical colleges. With the help of readySC™, Samsung had hired 650 new full-time employees by the summer of 2018 and plans to hire hundreds more in the years to come.