HIGH POINT, N.C.–Wearing red “happi” robes and brandishing large wooden mallets, Amada Holdings CEO Mitsuo Okamoto and a few other manufacturing execs smashed open a keg of sake here today to celebrate the start of construction of the Japanese fabrication specialist’s newest North American tech center and factory.
The factory, which will build press brakes and blanking automation, will occupy 162,000 square feet, the company said. The technical center will cover 50,000 square feet. The company expects construction to start this fall and take about one year.
The new facilities will within a few years employ 200 people.
Amada chose North Carolina, and Guilford County, in large part because of the adeptness the state and the county show in human resource procurement, Okamoto said.
Amada’s $180 million investment in the tech center and factory will make for a few busy years at the Guildford County Workforce Development Board, Fred Henry, business services professional at the board, said in an interview with Smart Manufacturing magazine today.
The organization will use its online database and career system to fill as man positions as possible in the next few years, Henry said. Amada wants to fill 96 positions in the first year, he added.
“We look to be an extension HR department for the company,” providing job fairs and other resources.
He acknowledged that the workforce skills gap in the U.S. presents a challenge.
“Right now, it’s a job-seeker’s market,” Henry said. “If you do have the skills and educational training, you can pick and choose the area of employment.”
The High Point Technical Cetner and Manufacturing Center extends Amada’s “reach of customer-centered sites and will enable Amada to better serve the North American market,” the company said in prepared remarks. “Like all of our technical centers, High Point will provide the ideal venue to demonsstrate innovative machine solutions and industry-leading manufacturing techniques that equip fabricators to optimize efficiency and reduce costs.”
Yukihiro Fukui, CEO of Amada North America, said the company “believes success comes from listening to the voice of our customers, and locating our newest facility in this area allows us to be close to our customer base in the Southeast.”
Many manufacturing executives were on hand for the celebration today, including SME CEO Jeff Krause and John Catalano, senior director at SME.
“It’s great to witness Amada investing in North Carolina with both a technical center and manufacturing center,” Krause said.