The new Center for Manufacturing Advancement is open, and the U.S. Navy is launching a manufacturing project there.
Announcement for the projects in the Cyber Park were made by Gov. Glenn Youngkin on Wednesday morning in the atrium of the Institute for Advanced Learning and Research.
“Good morning, everyone,” an enthusiastic Youngkin shouted to hundreds of officials in the atrium, as well as regional governor’s school students gathered above him in the balcony. “How fun is this?”
He gave the announcements during the second annual Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing Summit at the Institute where attendees met to discuss topics related to closing skills and workforce gaps within the naval defense industrial base.
The $28.8 million, 51,250-square-foot Center for Manufacturing Advancement, a state-funded project, will provide state-of-the-art space for industry partners looking to expand and manufacturers hoping to move to a new site to the Dan River Region, according to the Institute.
The facility was built in cooperation with Virginia’s Division of Engineering and Buildings, with financial incentives provided the Economic Development Administration, the Institute and the Institute’s foundation and the Danville Regional Foundation.
“I am very glad to see such a commitment to Virginia, and such a commitment to Danville,” Youngkin said during his remarks.
Pointing to the city’s economic growth and revitalization, Youngkin said, “It is especially exciting when you see what Danville is and has become. The vision for revitalization, the vision for transformation is absolutely extraordinary, and it is the story of grit and determination.”
The Cyber Park, where the Institute and the new center are located, is owned by the Danville-Pittsylvania Regional Industrial Facility Authority. The center is located on the Institute’s campus in the park.
Included in the two-story center are:
Rapid-launch facilities enabling new businesses to begin limited operations while waiting for their permanent factory location to be built and fully equipped;
A certified inspection lab with inspection capabilities required to validate product quality;
Process improvement labs enabling new and existing businesses to improve their processes more quickly for global competitiveness;
An industry integration and training lab that will support future manufacturing requirements;
A platform allowing manufacturing companies, technology companies and engineering students to work together to discover, integrate and showcase emerging technology;
A concierge service providing wrap-around support needed by companies new to the United States during their start-up phase.
During his announcement Wednesday morning, Youngkin marveled at the cutting-edge technology involved.
“It’s the Jetsons come alive,” he said, referring to the animated sitcom that was set during an imagined future.
The center announced Wednesday is one of the necessary steps to establish Virginia as the place for cutting-edge manufacturing capabilities, Youngkin said. But, “we also have to take the steps to create the workforce in order to accomplish that goal, and that’s what’s most exciting,” he added.
Youngkin also announced that the U.S. Navy would be opening three bays in the center to serve its Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence.
“What this does, it enables us to have students who are being trained on how to do things and then to be able to actually go do them, real-time, in a value-added moment that we need the capacity and capabilities to do it,” Youngkin said during his remarks. “Think about the expertise that’s being gained, not just taught, real-time, in this amazing facility.”
The Navy’s facility is the first project partnership for the Center for Manufacturing Advancement.
Also a first for the Navy, its Additive Manufacturing Center for Excellence will provide a platform for training a skilled workforce through partnership with the Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing program, according to a news release.
The accelerated training program is a rigorous and focused schedule that graduates students every four months in disciplines critical to the defense industrial base. It will train 800 to 1,000 workers per year by 2024.
“Accelerated Training in Defense Manufacturing is going to meet a need we’re behind in,” he said.
Industrial manufacturing partners include major shipbuilders such as General Dynamics Electric Boat, Huntington-Ingalls Newport News Shipbuilding and Austal USA and several industry expert companies including FasTech, Mitutoyo, Master Gage & Tool, Phillips Corporation, Industrial Inspection and Analysis, according to a news release.
The three bays used by the Navy at the Center for Manufacturing Advancement will be for accelerating and scaling additive manufacturing parts and qualification processes.