An auto supplier has opened a technical training center in the region to upskill its advanced manufacturing workers.
Kariya, Japan-based DENSO — which has its North American headquarters in Southfield — opened the North Technical Training Center at its existing Battle Creek site, at 4909 Wayne Rd., according to DENSO last week.
“It’s a critical time in the auto industry, and we cannot revolutionize manufacturing and engineering without our people,” said Kenichiro Ito, senior executive officer for DENSO and CEO of DENSO North America.
“That is why DENSO is focused on introducing our employees to new technologies, providing cross-training for collaboration and developing skills that breed innovation.”
The facility represents a $1.95-million investment and is the third such training center for the company, with others in Tennessee and Mexico.
The center is designed to be at the forefront of “automated and data-rich manufacturing,” also known as Industry 4.0.
DENSO said the center is an “urgent resource” for the company and part of its Long-Term Policy 2030, a plan to move with the auto industry toward electrification and automated driving.
Kevin Carson, president of DENSO’s thermal manufacturing facility in Battle Creek, said when most of its workforce was in school, “there was no such thing as IoT, automation or Industry 4.0.”
“The automotive industry is drastically changing and that means our machines and the technology that powers them must change,” Carson said. “We are committed to supporting our employees and ensuring they have the resources necessary to stay nimble, learn new skills and flourish in their careers.”
The North Technical Training Center is geared toward engineering and skilled trades workers and machine technicians. Employees identified for training will receive a customized plan to develop new skills, gain new understanding of internet of things, or IoT, technologies and improve production efficiency.
They will learn about high-speed video cameras, advanced robotics, programming automated manufacturing systems, precision assembly and alignment of mechanical components and systems and machine-specific training for proprietary processes, among other skills.
DENSO is a global mobility supplier that develops advanced technology and components, such as thermal, powertrain, mobility, electrification and electronic systems for “nearly every vehicle make and model.”
The company has 221 facilities in 35 countries, more than 170,000 employees and reported global sales of $48.3 billion for the fiscal year ending March 31, 2019.
In North America, DENSO employs over 27,000 engineers, researchers and skilled workers across 31 sites in the U.S, Canada and Mexico.
In the U.S., DENSO has over 17,000 employees at 25 sites in 13 states.
DENSO North America reported $10.9 billion in revenue in the fiscal year ending March 31.