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/Madison
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 48°
Muscle Shoals
Cloudy
50° wxIcon
Hi: 52° Lo: 30°
Feels Like: 50°
Huntsville/Madison
Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 51° Lo: 28°
Feels Like: 48°
Decatur
Mostly Cloudy
48° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 48°
Fort Payne
Cloudy
47° wxIcon
Hi: 53° Lo: 31°
Feels Like: 43°
WAAY Radar
WAAY WAAY-TV Cam
WAAY Temperatures

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 436087

Reported Deaths: 6486
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson63969994
Mobile31211565
Madison27851208
Tuscaloosa21233271
Montgomery19698326
Shelby19093130
Baldwin16981188
Lee13036105
Morgan12526134
Etowah11987179
Calhoun11441206
Marshall10357123
Houston8886158
Limestone827876
Cullman8203108
Elmore8120104
DeKalb7828103
Lauderdale7798103
St. Clair7763125
Talladega6394111
Walker6002177
Jackson594644
Colbert545276
Blount543986
Autauga532761
Coffee456762
Dale406883
Franklin372448
Russell349212
Chilton342873
Covington336068
Escambia330144
Dallas312096
Tallapoosa3120107
Chambers301170
Clarke293336
Pike261131
Marion251558
Lawrence250752
Winston232742
Bibb221248
Geneva208746
Marengo206529
Pickens199031
Hale182742
Barbour179337
Fayette177029
Butler172459
Cherokee164330
Henry158224
Monroe151320
Randolph144336
Washington140127
Clay129146
Crenshaw122944
Macon120937
Cleburne120724
Lamar119721
Lowndes113736
Wilcox106622
Bullock102228
Perry99118
Conecuh96821
Sumter90026
Greene76823
Coosa63215
Choctaw51724
Out of AL00
Unassigned00

Tennessee Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 701847

Reported Deaths: 8777
CountyCasesDeaths
Shelby779711168
Davidson72385688
Knox39701432
Hamilton35466337
Rutherford33860294
Unassigned23587134
Williamson21906144
Sumner18644232
Out of TN1615282
Montgomery14979149
Wilson14728164
Sullivan12893218
Blount12267132
Washington12102203
Maury11179128
Bradley1108895
Sevier10704120
Putnam10116151
Madison9273183
Robertson782687
Hamblen7172117
Anderson6947114
Greene6719115
Tipton632969
Gibson5733114
Coffee573282
Dickson552682
Cumberland550576
Bedford540391
Roane530081
Lawrence518869
Carter5171115
McMinn516774
Warren504454
Loudon503550
Jefferson490178
Dyer483386
Monroe467063
Hawkins455272
Franklin420065
Fayette408751
Obion404582
Rhea388457
Lincoln385546
Marshall353338
Cocke352758
Cheatham347331
Weakley344248
Henderson336559
Campbell334940
Giles330574
Carroll315860
White315144
Hardeman314054
Hardin304250
Lauderdale296933
Macon293251
Wayne267424
Henry266958
Overton258846
DeKalb246342
McNairy245442
Haywood243747
Smith234230
Marion233932
Trousdale230315
Scott228832
Hickman227835
Claiborne224932
Fentress215734
Grainger214339
Johnson204634
Morgan193916
Crockett182438
Chester177439
Bledsoe177011
Unicoi169545
Cannon160320
Lake157821
Decatur148628
Polk147817
Union143225
Grundy142622
Sequatchie140319
Humphreys136717
Benton133435
Lewis130121
Meigs117616
Stewart109620
Jackson105723
Perry95825
Clay95426
Houston94624
Moore8299
Pickett69020
Van Buren6737
Hancock4177

Community Events