Greenville Technical College in South Carolina opened its state-of-the-art Gene Haas Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) September 21st with a formal ribbon cutting ceremony and demo day showcasing an array of advanced manufacturing technology. The Center was named in honor of Gene Haas following two $1 million endowments from the Gene Haas Foundation (GHF), a private family foundation committed to manufacturing education. The GHF gifts will be used to fund scholarships for CMI students in perpetuity as well as the center’s equipment needs (with the exception of Haas machines).
The Center for Manufacturing Innovation (CMI) was created as part of the solution to the skills gap plaguing the American manufacturing industry. One of its purposes is to provide the necessary education and skills to technicians and connect them to opportunities for employment with local manufacturers. During the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Greenville Technical College President Keith Miller explained, “the bottom line is we can attract students with the partnership of employers and the incentives they provide to attract people to manufacturing careers.” The Center is uniquely positioned to provide support to the manufacturing industry and manufacturing education programs at multiple levels.
Randy Collins, Executive Director of Academic Initiatives at Clemson’s College of Engineering, called the Center “an education paradigm that doesn’t exist anywhere else in the country. This facility was designed in part to expose students K – 12 to learn what opportunities exist for their education.” The CMI will facilitate manufacturing education all the way from kindergarten to graduate school. It will act as a resource for feeder schools, sharing curriculum material, equipment, and other resources when possible as well as creating unique programs that cater to different specialties and skills. Greenville Tech is also partnering with Clemson’s students at the graduate level to address real-world manufacturing challenges, integrating curriculum and sharing resources that allow technicians and engineers to collaborate, combining hands-on experience with theoretical principals.
The $25 million, 100,000 square foot facility boasts brand new classrooms, laboratories and equipment designed to provide the best manufacturing education opportunities in the country. The facility includes laboratories committed to 3D printing, metrology, robotics, and CNC machining. The vast CNC hall, doubling as both classroom and showroom, exhibits twelve Haas Automation machines, an Honor Seiki VTL, and a Vision Wide bridge mill, all provided and installed in partnership with Phillips Corporation.
President of Phillips Commercial Division Brooks Barwick and Haas Sales Engineer Gordon Eargle worked with Greenville Tech from the early stages of the Center for Manufacturing Innovation’s conceptualization. The Phillips team provided direction on the layout of the CNC showroom to showcase both Haas and Engineered Products machines and how the space would be delineated to include Phillips offices. Phillips Service and Applications Engineers successfully installed and programmed the machines and will continue to offer their support to instructors at the Center. The valuable partnership between Phillips Corporation and Greenville Tech allows both organizations to benefit and thrive.
The Gene Haas Center for Manufacturing Innovation will be the newest HFO Phillips location. Three of the twelve Haas machines on display, along with the Honor Seiki VTL and Vision Wide bridge mill, will be used for demos, training, and other purposes with customers in mind.