State and county officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, second from left, and Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter, third from left, gathered alongside business leaders June 1 to announce the establishment of a new Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Troy.

State and county officials, including Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, second from left, and Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter, third from left, gathered alongside business leaders June 1 to announce the establishment of a new Center for Advanced Manufacturing in Troy.

Photo provided by the state of Michigan

New advanced manufacturing center to be located in Troy

By: Brendan Losinski | Troy Times | Published June 29, 2022


TROY — The World Economic Forum, in collaboration with Automation Alley, Oakland County and the Michigan Department of Economic Development, announced June 1 that the first U.S. Center for Advanced Manufacturing will be located in Troy.

The goal of this center, one of 15 in the world, is to support state, regional and nationwide efforts to increase the use of advanced manufacturing tools.

Troy Mayor Ethan Baker said he is excited for the announcement and believes this will be a great addition to the local business community.

“My understanding is that it is initially being coordinated out of the Automation Alley Offices (on Bellingham Road). Automation Alley is located here, so that is the primary reason Troy was chosen. … I think it’s also worth saying that Troy has something for every business. We have the employee base, the infrastructure and the business community located here already,” said Baker. “We’re very excited and really optimistic about the manufacturing center in Troy and throughout Michigan. As far as a stand-alone location, there are no plans yet as to where that might be located.”

“This sends the message that we are no longer the ‘Rust Belt,’ tied to antiquated notions of assembly lines and shuttered factories,” Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter said in an email. “By embracing innovation and new technologies, along with the siting of this new Center in Troy, we are poised to lead the nation, and frankly the world, in advanced manufacturing.”

The U.S. Center for Advanced Manufacturing will work to engage the American manufacturing ecosystem to rapidly increase forward thinking industrial development through a series of local, state, national and international advanced manufacturing research-based and pilot-acceleration projects​. The hope is that it will create a ripple effect that will attract additional advanced manufacturing investments to create jobs and opportunities for Michigan’s workforce.

Coulter and other county officials called the announcement of the center a significant event that will “continue to cement the county and state’s status as leaders not only in traditional manufacturing as the birthplace of the Arsenal of Democracy but in advanced technology as well.”

No timeline has been announced for when the center will be fully operational.

Oakland County will invest $3 million over the next three years to support the advanced manufacturing center. Coulter said that this will help enhance the county’s manufacturing sector, which includes 2,500 businesses and more than 67,000 jobs.

“The U.S. Center for Advanced Manufacturing is an excellent fit for Automation Alley and Oakland County because we are already putting theory into practice with our Project Diamond initiative, which provided $10 million in 3D printers to 250 small manufacturers,” said Coulter. “We intend to expand on this investment to accelerate the transition toward advanced manufacturing and help our businesses become more nimble and adaptable in the more competitive and ever-changing global marketplace.”

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer was on hand for the announcement and said it goes hand in hand with other economic development projects in Michigan.

“We are thrilled to welcome the World Economic Forum’s United States Center for Advanced Manufacturing to Michigan, where our century-long auto manufacturing heritage, innovative businesses, and hardworking people continue to drive the future of mobility and electrification in the U.S. and around the world,” Whitmer said in a press release. “Since I took office, Michigan has added nearly 30,000 manufacturing jobs, many building batteries, electric vehicles, or other advanced mobility products. These investments have cemented our status as the global epicenter of mobility and manufacturing, and with the forum’s new center, we will build on that leadership, bringing in even more opportunity for workers and bolstering economic opportunity in every region of our state. Today’s investment will ensure that the words ‘Made in Michigan’ carry on for generations.”

Industry leaders at the announcement said that adapting to changing industrial and business needs — the primary goal of the center — is crucial for any successes in the future.

“The rapid pace of technological change coupled with geopolitical, climate, and supply chain disruptions has created an urgency for manufacturers across the globe to adopt advanced manufacturing technologies and practices to remain competitive,” Automation Alley Executive Director and CEO Tom Kelly said in a press release. “This center will ensure all U.S. stakeholders are aligned for shared value creation and to accelerate digital transformation. Manufacturers of all sizes need to pay attention to the rapid pace of technological change to remain competitive and relevant today. Automation Alley is proud to be leading this initiative focused on the most pressing issues around the future of manufacturing operations, workforce development, changing consumer demands, sustainability, standards, regulations and so much more.”

Coulter said that he is thankful for this new partnership with Automation Alley, the state, and the World Economic Forum, adding that the new center is “a game-changer” for the county’s manufacturing sector, which he said is being challenged on a daily basis to stay ahead of the curve in this highly competitive environment.

“Having the Center in Oakland County gives us the ability to drive transformational projects, and pilots at the local, regional and national levels,” he remarked in an email. “This initiative fits perfectly into our five-year strategic roadmap, which includes building a thriving and inclusive economy where our businesses can succeed and our residents can benefit from the good-paying jobs that will come to the county.”