Skilled to Work: New additive manufacturing facility aims to grow workforce using local colleges, high schools

Carpenter Technology's Emerging Technology Center allows them to manufacture metal products from atomizing metal powders to printing the final products.

Posted: Dec 5, 2019 11:46 PM
Updated: Dec 10, 2019 12:37 PM

The additive manufacturing industry in the Tennessee Valley added a new member to its midst: Carpenter Technology. The company officially opened its new Emerging Technology Center in Tanner, Alabama, this week.

The 500,000 square foot facility is adjacent to Carpenter's existing facility, which opened in 2014. 

Carpenter Technology displays some of its newest equipment in its Emerging Technology Center on Wednesday. Carpenter Technology displays some of its newest equipment in its Emerging Technology Center on Wednesday.

Some its newest employees are graduates of Calhoun Community College's additive manufacturing program.

"I was actually going for my degree in welding and I had to take a drafting class for that degree. And I just fell in love with drafting. So I decided additive is the new up and coming manufacturing and I wanted to be in it," said Michael Moore, a Tech 3 AM operator with Carpenter.

The 31-year-old graduated from Calhoun over the summer and started working at the new ETC. The building allows Carpenter to not only atomize metal powder, but also to manufacture that powder into finished parts with its 3D printing technology. They said that end-to-end capability makes its facility stand apart from others in the United States.

"We’re trying to create an area of expertise where we have the engineers being able to understand that full end-to-end process so that we can really start to develop those solutions for our customers," said Ben Ferrar, the general manager for Carpenter Additive.

Representatives with Carpenter Technology said as they work to grow its facility, they will greatly benefit from being across the street from Calhoun.

"That’s where Calhoun plays such a vital role in that, in kind of that skilled to work format. They see what’s going on in our industry, they know the skills that we want, so they’re designing programs to meet those skills so that we can go and get those skilled individuals right out of these programs and put them right to work," said James America, the vice president of human resources.

While there isn't a specific breakdown of the number of additive manufacturing employees in Alabama, market analysis by SmarTech Publishing said the as of 2018 it's a $9.3 billion industry after growing by 18 percent. Ferrar said within 10 years, it's projected to be an industry worth a quarter of a trillion dollars.

"The real challenge that this industry faces is the ‘how.’ How are we going to convert these opportunities into the reality where this digital technology takes over as the premier manufacturing technology," said Ferrar.

Back in October, Calhoun re-branded its additive program as the Alabama Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence." Calhoun's head additive instructor Nina Bullock said Calhoun and Carpenter will be sitting down at the start of next year to craft a new partnership.

She said it may bear some similarities to the FAME program.

"I would see us sitting down at a table and saying, ‘Hey, are there other classes that we’re not teaching right now that your students that are going to be working there need?’" said Bullock.

Carpenter said the ETC is projected to add 60 new jobs over the next five years. They said because there is also a good amount of unused space at the site, they have plenty of room to add future developments. 

Huntsville/Redstone
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 55°
Muscle Shoals
Partly Cloudy
57° wxIcon
Hi: 67° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 57°
Huntsville/Madison
Partly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 66° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 55°
Decatur
Partly Cloudy
54° wxIcon
Hi: 69° Lo: 53°
Feels Like: 54°
Fort Payne
Mostly Cloudy
55° wxIcon
Hi: 68° Lo: 52°
Feels Like: 55°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 521623

Reported Deaths: 10739
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson754061493
Mobile39067799
Madison34040496
Tuscaloosa25367444
Montgomery24019567
Shelby23186239
Baldwin20701302
Lee15589165
Calhoun14342311
Morgan14158271
Etowah13685346
Marshall11995220
Houston10404278
Elmore10011200
Limestone9852147
Cullman9503189
St. Clair9463234
Lauderdale9265228
DeKalb8757181
Talladega8115171
Walker7139275
Jackson6756110
Autauga6750103
Blount6519134
Colbert6229130
Coffee5424113
Dale4772111
Russell430038
Franklin420782
Chilton4101109
Covington4061114
Tallapoosa3907146
Escambia390174
Dallas3525149
Chambers3514122
Clarke347060
Marion3072100
Pike306176
Lawrence295995
Winston273172
Bibb256059
Marengo248361
Geneva246075
Pickens233259
Barbour226455
Hale218575
Butler212967
Fayette209460
Henry188044
Cherokee182644
Randolph177241
Monroe172540
Washington165238
Macon155648
Clay150155
Crenshaw149457
Cleburne146741
Lamar139734
Lowndes136553
Wilcox124427
Bullock121640
Conecuh109428
Perry107626
Sumter103232
Coosa99428
Greene91434
Choctaw58824
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 830484

Reported Deaths: 12049
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby927281585
Davidson87309923
Knox49411623
Hamilton43254481
Rutherford41816420
Williamson27237214
Sumner23155339
Montgomery19075224
Wilson17979224
Out of TN1794598
Unassigned16655134
Sullivan16096287
Blount14963194
Bradley14518147
Washington14129242
Sevier13116174
Maury13021168
Putnam11155173
Madison10771240
Robertson9567127
Anderson8599171
Hamblen8478170
Greene7715152
Tipton7216102
Coffee6824121
Dickson6724109
Cumberland6555127
Carter6443156
Bedford6409127
Gibson6387144
McMinn634295
Roane6174102
Jefferson6061121
Loudon601169
Lawrence578686
Hawkins5766106
Monroe570295
Warren550881
Dyer5357104
Franklin508388
Fayette490377
Obion449996
Cocke442998
Cheatham442254
Rhea430375
Lincoln429563
Marshall410358
Campbell408462
Weakley401962
Giles393998
Henderson372475
Macon357376
Carroll357182
White353968
Hardin349166
Hardeman345863
Lauderdale314244
Henry311875
Marion308346
Claiborne305573
Scott305145
Overton296360
Wayne294234
Hickman279645
McNairy276754
DeKalb274953
Smith273938
Haywood268161
Grainger258449
Trousdale248722
Morgan245539
Fentress238046
Johnson230238
Bledsoe209411
Chester209351
Crockett200948
Polk199024
Unicoi194149
Cannon188831
Union185634
Grundy177232
Humphreys173621
Lake169526
Sequatchie166428
Benton162940
Decatur157338
Lewis155726
Meigs134123
Stewart130028
Jackson129635
Clay109031
Houston108333
Perry105728
Moore99717
Van Buren83421
Pickett75624
Hancock54712

Community Events