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Rolls Royce officials pay visit to South Boston

Two representatives from Rolls Royce Crosspointe visited the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center earlier this month to meet with senior staff and see a demonstration in the R&D Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Energy Efficiency.

 

Rolls Royce representatives Brian Warner and Sarah Beadle were joined by Katherine DeRosear, director of Workforce Development for Virginia Manufacturers Association, and Dr. Barry Johnson, senior associate dean of electrical engineering at the University of Virginia, on their visit to the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center Innovation Center.

After hearing an overview of the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and its R&D CAMEE initiative, the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center visitors toured the R&D Center where they saw a live demonstration of R&D CAMEE’s applied research and advanced manufacturing capabilities.

Using a unique walking cane design, R&D CAMEE showcased its ability to take a product from the design phase through the entire cycle of production using computer-aided design (CAD), 3 and 5-axis computer-numerical-controlled (CNC) routers, vacuum steam bending, 5-axis waterjet technology, metal cutting and milling (also programmed using integrated CAD/CAM), product assembly and quality control.

More than just a display of technology, the demonstration was used to highlight a new intensive, immersive workforce-training model R&D CAMEE is hoping to implement in the coming months. As the group visited each cell, R&D technicians demonstrated the skills a student would receive by being immersed in a hands-on cellular manufacturing environment.

Southern Virginia Higher Education Center Executive Director Dr. Betty Adams said, “In keeping with the SVHEC’s project-based, applied approach to learning, this educational model is targeted at quickly bridging the manufacturing skills gap. Failing to bridge this gap puts our region and state at risk of missing manufacturing opportunities like those associated with and similar to the Crosspointe operation.”

By all accounts the demonstration was a success, Adams said.

Rolls-Royce representative Brian Warner said, “It was a pleasure to visit the R&D Center for Advanced Manufacturing & Energy Efficiency and see the impact the SVHEC is making in the region. I was impressed with the effort and attitude of the staff and students. There was a lot of activity, and it was evident people at all levels were excited to be part of the center. It is always refreshing to see initiatives promoting manufacturing and even better to see students interested in learning and making careers in manufacturing roles.”

Following the R&D demonstration, Beadle delivered a presentation about Rolls-Royce Crosspointe, their projected workforce needs and what they look for in potential applicants.

Also discussion took place on ways the Southern Virginia Higher Education Center and Rolls-Royce can develop a relationship as both entities move forward.

“We are honored that Rolls-Royce, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing and the Virginia Manufacturers Association were willing to invest their time in a critical review of our ‘pilot’ and to offer guidance on how our efforts can meaningfully serve Virginia,” said David Kenealy, SVHEC director of Research & Development. “We also look forward to the further evolution of our partnership with each of those organizations,” he said.

The Rolls-Royce Crosspointe Centre is a 1,000 acre campus located in Prince George County. In addition to a Rolls-Royce aerospace manufacturing facility, the Commonwealth Center for Advanced Manufacturing (CCAM) also sits on the campus.  CCAM is a public-private partnership for applied research and development.