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NIMS Accredited RCBI Goes Green

Article taken from The Charleston Gazette

Published on April 18, 2009


Manufacturing institute brings a 'green' touch

Written By Charlotte Weber


Wednesday is Earth Day. But at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing, we consider every day to be Earth Day. After all, we've been in the "green manufacturing" business for nearly two decades.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Wednesday is Earth Day. But at the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing, we consider every day to be Earth Day. After all, we've been in the "green manufacturing" business for nearly two decades.

How so?

Stretching from Huntington in the west to Rocket Center in West Virginia's Eastern Panhandle, RCBI spans the state with its Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers. Our facilities are equipped with the latest, most sophisticated equipment available. Our machines offer unequalled precision and efficiency. In the manufacturing process they drastically reduce the time, energy and waste required to produce whatever it is that you happen to be making.

This, in turn, enables a manufacturer to use fewer natural resources and create less pollution while achieving greater productivity.

RCBI provides access to this state-of-the-art equipment to manufacturers throughout the region. They can try it out, lease its use and, as is often the case, ultimately invest in similar equipment for their own plants.

The highly qualified RCBI staff assists workers from companies leasing time on the equipment, showing them how to use it. If a firm decides to invest in the sophisticated machinery, our staff members will go into the plant and train its workers on the spot. This service is made available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

In addition, we provide a broad range of training programs to prepare individuals to enter the manufacturing field. For example, 250 men and women have earned more than 1,000 individual National Institute of Metalworking Skills certifications through RCBI's highly successful Machinist Technology Program. Nearly half have elected at the same time to earn associate degrees through RCBI's affiliation with the Marshall Community & Technical College in Huntington or Potomac State College of West Virginia University in Keyser. The rigorous, hands-on training that RCBI provides is helping meet regional manufacturers' need for additional skilled machinists.

The next step in machinist training is computer-numerical-controlled machining which, obviously, introduces computers to the process. This enables machinists to realize greater precision, efficiency and speed than they can attain manually. This, in turn, brings "greening" to the manufacturing process. RCBI provides CNC training, also, to veteran machinists as well as newcomers.

Another service providing a strong tint of "green" is the RCBI Quality Certification group that helps manufacturers develop and implement documented quality systems to ensure that they remain effective, sought-after and environmentally conscious suppliers. To this end, RCBI offers a strong schedule of specialized, quality-focused courses in the latest practices and techniques, and regularly helps companies develop work instructions and supervisory management skills.

Establishing an effective quality management system has become a necessity driven by competitive global market forces. To stay in business, companies must prove that they can provide a quality product or service and continually improve their processes. They must produce in "lean" environments with the minimum amount of waste to provide value to their customers. They must manage their impact on the environment and provide conditions that are healthy and safe for their employees and surrounding communities.

RCBI's experienced, skilled Quality Certification group provides training and implementation assistance at any of our Advanced Manufacturing Technology Centers - Huntington, South Charleston, Bridgeport or Rocket Center - or at the manufacturer's plant site. In doing so, they're helping to make manufacturing more environmentally responsible - "greener" - throughout the region.

These are a few of the ways RCBI has been and is working toward sustainable manufacturing, defined as "the creation of manufactured products that use processes that are non-polluting, conserve energy and natural resources, are economically sound and safe for employees, communities and consumers."

You can be confident that we will continue and strengthen our efforts to help manufacturers and their employees become increasingly "green" - and profitable. That's why we're here.

Weber is director and chief executive officer of the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing,