West Bend, WI –  October 4:  The generosity of a well known Wisconsin manufacturer, combined with the passion of a local high school technical education teacher, will inspire students toward careers in industry.

Metalcraft of Mayville Inc., a Wisconsin Original Equipment and Contract Manufacturer has provided a major donation of cutting edge advanced manufacturing equipment that will support West Bend High School’s Technical Education Program and expand career pathways for its students.  The Metalcraft Learning Lab, located at West Bend High School, opened on October 4th and integrates industrial grade Robotic, Welding and CNC Machining technology.

“Metalcraft continues to grow rapidly, and a skilled workforce is the most important part of that growth,” stated Metalcraft President Randy Gloede whose company has a plant located in West Bend.  “Our investment in the students of West Bend is intended to inspire them toward rewarding careers in industry and to equip them with the skills they will need in the quickly evolving world of advanced manufacturing.”

Gloede, who along with Metalcraft Chairman & CEO Martin Gallun, attended Wednesday’s Grand Opening event at West Bend’s East and West High Schools, credited the passion of technical education teacher Jacob Gitter as being a key factor in the decision to make the donation.  It was important to Gloede that the project have a strong internal champion and he found one in the form of Gitter.

Metalcraft partnered with Mequon, Wisconsin’s LAB Midwest to develop the Metalcraft Learning Lab.   Backed by deep curriculum and supported by instructor training, the lab features robotic equipment engineered by FANUC, the most widely used industrial robot in the United States, and includes a FANUC LR MATE Robot CERT Cart and 25 seats of ROBOGUIDE simulation software that can be used to train students in basic robot operations and robotic vision systems.  The Lab also includes a FANUC / Lincoln Electric Robotic Welding Cell used to teach cutting edge automated welding operations.

LAB Midwest’s Mike Dietrich, who helped coordinate the project, said, “The Metalcraft Learning Lab provides a great example of the magic that can happen when students are provided with world class and authentic advanced manufacturing technology that’s backed by proven curriculum.  We credit Metalcraft for their generous donation.  We find across our 7 state territory that employers are much more willing to participate in these types of projects when they can see a direct connection between the equipment utilized in the learning program and the technology they use in their own plants.”

Metalcraft’s donation also includes a Robot-loaded machining center comprised of a FANUC Robot and an industrial-grade Levil CNC machine with a FANUC CNC Control.  FANUC is also the most widely used CNC control in the United States.  The lab also utilizes a FANUC Machining Simulator which will enable students to learn CNC Programming and Basic Machining Operations in a simulated environment before expanding their skills using the new equipment.  The combination of solid curriculum and learning systems, the expertise of the West Bend East and West High Schools Technical Education teachers and the exact manufacturing technology in use at every Metalcraft manufacturing facility will enable participating students to gain valuable advanced manufacturing skills.

“It was really important to the Metalcraft team that the new lab feature authentic industrial equipment of the same nature and grade that they will use in world class advanced manufacturing companies like ours,” Gloede added.  “We are proud of our association with the West Bend School District and look forward to our investment bearing fruit for our community’s young people and its manufacturers.”

For more information on cutting edge advanced manufacturing technology in education visit LAB Midwest.