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NewsFriday, May 20, 2011
Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Company continued its commitment to Tri-County Technical College and to the community by making a $50,000 gift to name the Manufacturing Resource Center. Pictured from left are Michael R. Fee, vice president and owner of Reliable; John Lummus, vice president for institutional and economic advancement at Tri-County; and Courtney White, manager of donor relations for the College.
Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Company Donates $50,000 to Name Manufacturing Resource Center
CONTACT: JOHN LUMMUS, 646-1548
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 5/17/2011
(By Lisa Garrett)
PENDLETON --- Reliable Automatic Sprinkler Company continued its commitment to Tri-County Technical College and to the community by making a $50,000 gift to name the Manufacturing Resource Center.
The Reliable Sprinkler Manufacturing Resource Center is housed in Cleveland Hall on the Pendleton Campus and serves students in the Engineering Graphics, General Engineering, and Machine Tool Technology majors. The lab is filled with sophisticated equipment that includes a HAAS 5 axis vertical machining center, a rapid prototyping center, and a ROMER seven axis scanner arm.
"As a third-generation, family-owned business, our family strongly believes in giving back and being a part of the fabric of the community we live in," said Michael R. Fee, vice president and owner of Reliable, a leading manufacturer in fire protection equipment, with 20 locations in North America, including the corporate manufacturing facility in Liberty.
Fee added that another benefit of the Manufacturing Resource Center is "to further upgrade the skills and talents of the Tri-County students who will eventually be our future employees, as well as other companies in the Upstate, making the Upstate of South Carolina the number-one place in the United States to live and work."
Engineering Design and Machining Technology Program Coordinator John Norris believes students learn best through engaging, hands-on projects. Norris often accepts troubleshooting projects from area companies and uses the work as a learning experience as well as a student project. Tri-County students are given real world projects to help local industry go from a conceptual idea to prototype.
This past year they worked on a chopper, and in past years, Norris and his senior students have designed a mechanical device to lower caskets into a vault, a penny press, die casting and plastic injection molds, and aided in automating a process for mold pattern design. They've tackled upgrading the former version of the MEGAFLEX 121 ratchet manufactured by Torq Tuf and redesigned a hair dryer for a Greenville company.
"Often the company doesn't have the equipment they need to solve their problem and instead of purchasing it, they contact us and we take it on as a project," said Norris. "Often it involves reverse engineering. The company may have the physical part but no print, no documentation about the part. Using reverse engineering, we create drawings and create the documentation to manufacture that specific part for them. You can't replicate the part without the drawings," he said.
"Working on these projects is a great experience for students," said Norris. "They get to go inside plants and interact with engineers. Although it adds to their classwork and homework, they welcome it because it broadens their experience and opens doors for future jobs," he said.
"They get a real taste of what it's like to work for a company and the pressure to get a project done," said Norris. "This is what it's like in a real manufacturing environment."