Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology Opens For Business

Sixth District Congressman Jim Clyburn (center) moves a computer image by moving his hand at the 3D Virtual Reality Center housed at the new Leatherman Advanced Manufacturing Center.  FDTC President Dr. Charles Gould (left) and Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing Assistant Director Mike Mazen (right) showed the new technology to the Congressman during a recent tour.

The SiMT's first of three construction phases is named the Hugh K. Leatherman Advanced Manufacturing Center.

Members of regional and state wide news media outlets tour the Leatherman Advanced Manufacturing Center.

Florence-Darlington Technical College's first phase of the Southeastern Institute of Manufacturing and Technology (SiMT) was officially opened and dedicated, Wednesday, September 25, 2007.  The 177,000 square foot Hugh K. Leatherman Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMC) was named for the senior Republican lawmaker from Florence County during a noon ceremony at the SiMT's Pee Dee Cooperative Auditorium.

FDTC President Dr. Charles Gould praised Senator Leatherman calling him a visionary and a good friend of Florence-Darlington Technical College.  Leatherman has steered $6 million dollars of state funding for all three phases of the SiMT.

The Leatherman Advanced Manufacturing Center at the SiMT is located behind FDTC's main campus just off U.S. 52.  The Leatherman AMC houses a huge manufacturing arena consisting of 18,000 square-feet.  Machine Tool Technology students and faculty are already training there.  The facility also features a variety of technical labs and classrooms for both customers and FDTC students.  Also located in the arena is the Rapid Prototyping Center that allows partners to quickly research and develop their products.

The Leatherman AMC is also home to FDTC's Engineering Technology Department.  The AMC also features a full service conference center and an 800-seat auditorium named for Pee Dee Electric Cooperative. 

Prospective industrial clients may also take advantage of the 3D/Virtual Reality Center housed in the AMC.  The 3D Center, as it's known, partners with EON Reality, Inc. to provide 3D visual simulations in an eye-grabbing, theater like setting.

Robotics is a fast growing field, and the Leatherman AMC is home to National Robotics Training Center of Excellence.  This center will primarily develop training courses to teach robot maintenance technicians for the military. 

Phase two of the SiMT will include the Manufacturing Incubator for new manufacturing start-ups. Phase three features facilities for continuing education programs for professionals in the healthcare, safety, biotechnology and ergonomics fields.  For more information about the SiMT at Florence-Darlington Technical College, contact Jack Roach, Director of Manufacturing and Technical Training at (843) 661-8121 or visit the Institute's website at