CLEMSON — Clemson University Thursday announced the creation of its Center for Advanced Manufacturing, which will become the centerpiece of the university’s ambitious commitment to education, research, innovation and workforce development in support of an industry sector that is vitally important to the future of South Carolina.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster looks at a vehicle prototype with Zoran Filipi, Timken Endowed Chair in Vehicle System Design at CU-ICAR.

South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster looks at a vehicle prototype with Zoran Filipi, Timken Endowed Chair in Vehicle System Design at CU-ICAR.
Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

From 2011-2016, manufacturing job growth in South Carolina increased 16 percent and manufacturing now accounts for 11 percent of the state’s total employment. Since 2011, companies representing more than 30 countries have pledged to bring nearly 50,000 manufacturing jobs to South Carolina through corporate relocations or expansions, and the state has enjoyed record exports each of the last seven years.

Many of those companies — from industry sectors as diverse as automotive, aerospace, medical device-makers and home appliances — are attracted to the state because of the proximity to leading research universities such as Clemson.

Clemson already has considerable strength in several areas related to advanced manufacturing, which will be aligned through the creation of the Center for Advanced Manufacturing. Additionally, the university will increase its commitment to education and research related to advanced manufacturing with an emphasis on meeting the needs of the state’s key employers and industry sectors.

“Central to Clemson’s mission as a land-grant institution is being of service to the people and the state of South Carolina,” said Clemson University President James P. Clements. “Given our long history as an outstanding engineering and science institution, and our existing strong partnerships with some of the state’s leading employers, this is the perfect time for Clemson to put a stake in the ground as a pre-eminent source of education and research related to advanced manufacturing.”

The center will be part of the university’s College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences where more than two dozen of Clemson’s leading faculty members are currently engaged in teaching and research related to advanced manufacturing. It will be closely aligned with Clemson’s Office of External Affairs to ensure that the work done through the center is well positioned to meet the needs of South Carolina’s leading employers, as well those companies looking to locate in the state.

Initially, the center will consolidate the university’s work across all disciplines in areas related advanced manufacturing. Specifically, the new center will include the following existing university resources:

Through existing partnerships with leading employers such as Boeing, BMW, BOSCH, Fluor Corp, GE, Michelin, Siemens, Sonoco, ZF and more, Clemson already plays an important role in providing much-needed engineering talent and research related to advanced manufacturing. Pulling together the university’s resources in the form of this new center and aligning its mission with the university’s economic engagement efforts will further enhance Clemson’s ability to meet the state’s industry and workforce needs well into the future.

“The industry in South Carolina is committed to developing innovation and growth, as we all strive to achieve excellence in quality manufacturing,” said Knudt Flor, president and CEO of BMW Manufacturing Co. “This requires a highly skilled workforce now and in the future and an urgency to move well-engineered products to the customer quickly and efficiently. Higher education institutions in South Carolina continue to be invaluable partners to industry. The Center for Advanced Manufacturing is a key component in our state’s economic development strategy.”

Gov. Henry McMaster sits behind the wheel of Deep Orange 7, the BMW MINI prototype designed by students at CU-ICAR.

Gov. Henry McMaster sits behind the wheel of Deep Orange 7, the BMW MINI prototype designed by students at CU-ICAR.
Image Credit: Clemson University Relations

Clemson already has deep ties to the automotive industry through the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research, which conducts cutting-edge research in partnership with South Carolina employers BMW and Michelin in addition to other leading companies in the industry. The university also has considerable research expertise in such areas as sustainable manufacturing; advanced materials; product lifecycle management, robotics, sensors and intelligent production systems; intelligent production planning and control; human-machine interface design; systems integration; cybersecurity, and the “internet of things”; supply chain optimization and digital manufacturing.

Clemson’s existing research strengths — and its planned commitment to investing additional resources in areas related to advanced manufacturing — position the university to be a leading provider of engineering talent and research expertise designed to meet the full spectrum of needs for companies in advanced manufacturing-related industries.

“Our goal for Clemson’s Center for Advanced Manufacturing will be to create a world-class enterprise dedicated to interdisciplinary research and translational activities related to all aspects of advanced manufacturing,” said Anand Gramopadhye, dean of the College of Engineering, Computing and Applied Sciences.

“Clemson and our state is the epicenter of advanced manufacturing in the nation; we are the home to some of the nation’s brightest students and most knowledgeable faculty, ideally suited to helping lead future innovations in advanced manufacturing that have the potential to transform the South Carolina economy for generations to come.”

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