Ed Black is an instructor in the
Machinist Technology Program and Associate Manager at the Robert C. Byrd
Institute. He’s giving a tour for National Manufacturing Day. Manufacturing Day
is designed to raise the public’s awareness about the importance of the
industry and to expand knowledge about the new types of manufacturing that are
being used today.
“A lot of people don’t know what
manufacturing is today,. It was typically the dirty work, grease all over you
and it can still be. It’s not totally foreign, but due to the new technology
you’re seeing a lot more jobs come out of manufacturing, in particular where
there producing a lot of parts with a cleaner industry,” Black said.
Recently, RCBI hosted businesses, groups
or anyone that wanted to come to downtown Huntington and tour a facility that’s
not as it looks on the outside, but a place full of the current and upcoming
developments of manufacturing technology. Black said manufacturing is important
to the state and the country.
“Certainly we want to see manufacturing
grow back, especially to bring back to these shores the manufacturing that was
sent overseas. We’d love to have it back and we’re going to have to do that
with quality and being competitive, being able to do parts at a faster rate and
more efficiently,” Black said.
RCBI is one of the local leaders in additive manufacturing or 3-D
manufacturing. Labeled as the next wave of manufacturing by those at RCBI, it
takes a computer generated model and creates the image as a tangible
three-dimensional object using powder layers and glue.
“It’s just starting to grow. Before
where you had machinists who were manual type and used to doing one-by-one
product, they stayed away from the computer because they didn’t have the
background, but the kids that are coming into this program now, it’s second
nature to them so they’re going to transition very well into this kind of
industry,” Black said.
Some of the tour focused on machinist
classes that students from Mountwest Community and Technical College take at
the facility. Paul Watts of Huntington
heard about the tour and wanted to take part.
“I’m impressed. I mean I knew this
technology existed, maybe not quite all of it, like the machines downstairs. I
have a brother-in-law that works and he has one that he puts his programs in,”
Others involved in the tour were
Goodwill Job counselors, expanding their knowledge on possible job placements.
Rita Frisbie said the tour provided them with some new ideas.
“We’re just trying to learn more about
some of the facilities that’s here in Huntington and also what may be available
for training for people and what is available for jobs,” Frisbie said.
Frisbie said it’s unbelievable to see
where manufacturing is going.
“It’s just like you wouldn’t think this,
nice clean atmosphere, the whole thing is completely different from what we
envisioned over the years,” Frisbie said.
Last Friday was the first National