Sandvik Coromant, the Swedish tool manufacturing and innovation company, held a virtual grand opening ceremony for their new Sandvik Coromant Center in Mebane on Tuesday, September 2021.
The company has been operating in Mebane since the 1980s, breaking ground on a production unit in the city in 1979 and opening that unit a year later. The Mebane production unit, which specializes in indexable tools, is one of five in the United States.
Sandvik Coromant is considered the leading supplier of cutting tools and most of its expertise focuses on machining operations, turning, milling and drilling. However, Blomqvist said, the company is expanding into the digital manufacturing arena, as well.
Over the past four decades, Sandvik has grown and innovated in Mebane and worldwide, leading to two facility expansions in the city in 2001 and 2008.
These expansions allowed the Mebane production unit to better support the demand for what Sandvik calls made-to-order tools.
Now, the facility at 1483 Dogwood Way in Mebane will be home to a manufacturing area, a Sandvik Coromant Center and headquarters of the Americas. The facility, totaling 167,000 square feet, will employ 170 workers, with 56 new corporate employees to be added. It is unclear when those positions will be added and if they’ll be open for the public to apply for.
The grand opening ceremony was held virtually due to Covid-19 concerns, with company President Helen Blomqvist present, virtually, along with President of the Americas, Sean Holt.
Holt was present at the Mebane facility on the day of the grand opening, as an intimate company ceremony was held in-person there.
In 2020, the company made the decision to open a center in Mebane. It was also decided the headquarters for Sandvik’s Americas market, which is its largest and one of its most crucial, will be housed in Mebane, too.
Holt explained why the company chose to relocate its headquarters to Mebane, and build a new center here as well, explaining the production unit already there played a role in the decision.
“It’s a great kind of collaboration between the production unit and all our corporate head office,” Holt said. “We are a manufacturing company, our customers are manufacturers, so it’s great for them to come and see not only marketing, finance, customer service, but also to build go to the production unit. I think one of the other key reasons is that Mebane is quickly attracting big manufacturing companies.”
Holt noted Sandvik’s aerospace accounts in Mebane and automotive accounts across North Carolina, the proximity to Research Triangle Park and to the numerous area universities were all factored into the company’s decision, as the presence of center in Mebane allows customers.
The collaborations the company has established with the Mebane community were important to Holt and Sandvik, as well.
“It’s an area where we already have great collaborations with the local community, we already have great collaborations with great technical schools,” Holt said. “But, then, we also want to attract new talent into engineering, and get away from the old perception that engineering is some dirty workshop somewhere – because it’s not, it’s a true digital space today.”
Holt added that the company’s presence in the United States will open up new opportunities, as well.
“There are many industries in the US and we have a great network and are able to support everything from aerospace, automotive general engineering, oil and gas,” he said.
There are 17 Sandvik Coromant Centers worldwide, with Mebane’s being the newest. These centers offer more than 1,000 trainings, demos and application development and host events and customer projects yearly.
The Mebane center features, among many other things: state-of-the-art metal-cutting machines and software; machines fitted with cameras and digital live machining (DLM) for livestreaming with customers or students while working on machining projects; testing and training with the same machines customers have in their own facilities; broadcast training and machining demonstrations for global collaboration in real time; in-person and online training for a wide array of tools, applications and methods; and a large auditorium and integrated showroom.
One of Sandvik Coromant’s main objectives as a company is to cause zero harm to people, focusing heavily on sustainability, which Blomqvist called “the core of [Sandvik’s] strategy.”
Through the company’s “Make the Shift” initiative, Sandvik is committing to sustainability by promising to recycle 90 percent of all materials, and reduce its carbon emissions by 50 percent by 2030.
Holt called the Mebane facility a “shining star” of sustainability, noting the company is always trying to be sustainable.
“We are constantly looking into it,” he said. “We have, actually, a team of people looking at sustainability, we’re talking solar panels on the roof, things like that.”
The Mebane Sandvik Coromant Center and headquarters are open for business, with Covid-19 screenings required prior to entry, as Holt encourage potential customers to come check out the state-of-the-art facilities.