When Tier 1 South Carolina molders stressed the need for more skilled workers, ENGEL answered the call. A maker of injection molding machines and robotics with headquarters in Schwertberg, Austria, and US operations in York, Pennsylvania, and Corona, California, ENGEL helped create South Carolina’s only injection molding program with Spartanburg Community College (SCC). The move is part of ENGEL’s dedication to plastics industry education.
In 2018, several South Carolina Tier 1 injection molding suppliers needed to fill nearly 200 skilled positions. After they reached out to the industry, ENGEL responded by installing a 550 US ton duo two-platen hydraulic injection molding machine as well as providing access to its own customer training materials and curriculum to SCC.
Over the next two years, ENGEL collaborated with a consortium of Tier 1 suppliers, forming a committee that would coordinate with legislators to bring South Carolina’s only injection molding education program to life. Originally scheduled to start in the spring of 2020, the program launched in the fall of that year after a temporary delay due to the pandemic. And on October 1, 2020, a ribbon cutting event marked the start of the program.
The event included John Heinrikson, who is ENGEL’s vice president sales of the south and west regions, senior SCC faculty and representatives from some of South Carolina’s top molders. SCC was chosen because of its customized training and development courses in advanced manufacturing and industrial technologies. Additionally, its upstate South Carolina location, home to several molders including Tier 1 automotive suppliers, was the perfect fit.
Melissa Schmitt, SCC’s corporate and community education director of manufacturing and industrial solutions, explained that because the plastics industry employs over 26,000 in South Carolina, SCC’s new program allows it to work with local industry manufacturers and experts to bring them the technically skilled employees they need to match their growth. And ENGEL has shown its dedication to the program by providing SCC the injection molding machine, experts to train instructors on the machine and even their own training materials that SCC can use for the advanced classes it is planning for the future.
A 15-seat introductory class was announced at the ribbon cutting and filled up within a week. The class completed its six-week schedule in December, with a second class starting in January 2021. A third class begins March 22. Schmitt noted that SCC’s future plans include an intermediate-level class in May or June, followed by an advanced class hopefully by the end of the year. Classes for the program are held at the Tyger River Campus in Duncan, South Carolina.
Heinrikson said the ENGEL duo 550 US ton injection molding machine was the clear choice for SCC’s program due to its popularity with automotive molders as well as its flexible layout and compact size. The two-platen servo hydraulic machine also features energy-efficient manufacturing, technology packages for Mucell and Expert coining, and ENGEL’s state of the art CC300 controller.
Schmitt said that SCC’s students are really impressed by the ENGEL machine. And she can see it generating even more interest in injection molding among future enrollees as it will undoubtedly be a main attraction for high school student tours.
Paul Caprio, president of ENGEL North America, stated that ENGEL’s partnership with SCC is part of its ongoing dedication to bringing a skilled workforce to the plastics industry. ENGEL aims to be the leader in supporting plastics programs because the future of the plastics industry depends on it. And the company believes its technology and expertise in the industry will get the job done.
For more information, visit www.engelglobal.com/us.