Press release from Blue Ridge Community College:
Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) will host a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of its new Southeastern Advanced Molding Technology Education Center (SAMTEC) on Wednesday, May 24 at 9 a.m. The ribbon cutting ceremony is free and open to the public to attend. Carlos Vasto, general manager at GF Linamar LLC, Michael Edney, Chairman of Henderson County Commissioners, Dr. Molly Parkhill, president of BRCC, and WIll Buie, board chair of Henderson County Partnership for Economic Development, will give remarks at the ceremony. Demonstrations of the SAMTEC equipment will be given after the program.
SAMTEC is located in the Advanced Technology Building, where it will use the expertise of instructors from several of BRCC advanced technology programs, including mechatronics, computer integrated machining, welding, and engineering technology. Two BRCC instructors traveled to Austria and Switzerland to receive training on equipment set-up, maintenance, and operation. SAMTEC will provide training to GF Linamar employees, as well as molding and die cast training for companies locally and across the nation. Long range plans include the development of a full associate degree program in Molding Technology.
“We are pleased to announce the grand opening of our new SAMTEC facility, which will provide essential job training for hundreds of students,” said Dr. Molly Parkhill, president of BRCC. “This new, state-of-the-art facility would not have been possible without the generous support of Georg Fischer, Linamar, the Golden Leaf Foundation, the NCCCS Customized Training Program and Henderson County.”
Fueled by a joint venture between Swiss Company, Georg Fischer (GF) and Canadian Company, Linamar, the SAMTEC job training initiative is specifically designed to meet the training needs of GF Linamar’s new high-pressure die cast facility. GF Linamar’s facility will specialize in high-pressure die casting to produce light-weight aluminum and magnesium parts for power train driveline and structural components. This venture will add 350 jobs to the region with an average annual salary estimated at $47,013.
Funding for the equipment and retrofit of the Advanced Technologies Building to accommodate the Center was provided by a $550,000 Economic Catalyst grant from the Golden LEAF Foundation and an $80,000 award from the North Carolina Community College System Customized Training Program to purchase equipment. For die cast training, GF Linamar and its equipment suppliers have donated the majority of the necessary equipment or provided equipment at a low cost, including a new die cast cell. County funds provided a retrofit of the space. The equipment in SAMTEC is valued at more than $2 million.
Currently, the southeast region of the United States is home to 25 die cast manufacturers and a wide variety of manufacturers using plastic molding processes. SAMTEC provides quality workforce training in high-pressure die cast of aluminum parts as well as training in the production of plastic molding processes. SAMTEC will also support the training needs of other area companies with plastic molding processes. These companies include Elkamet Inc., B.I.G. Adventures, Continental Automotive Systems, Meritor Inc., Raumedic and Lassonde Pappas.