ICAMS hosts open house and manufacturing summit

Published: Nov 29, 2023 9:00 AM

By Dustin Duncan

The spotlight shone brightly on the Auburn University Interdisciplinary Center for Advanced Manufacturing Systems (ICAMS) on Oct. 26-27. ICAMS opened its doors to the public, showcasing the ICAMS Manufacturing Facility, and hosted an advanced manufacturing summit for industry professionals.

Four government and industry advanced manufacturing professionals visited Auburn University to discuss the future of manufacturing in the United States at the Brown-Kopel Center. The panel for the summit included Adele Ratcliff, director of the Innovation, Capability, and Modernization Office within the U.S. Office of the Secretary of Defense; John Vickers, senior leader for Advanced and In-Space Manufacturing Capabilities in the Materials and Processes Laboratory at NASA; Nathan Edwards, executive director of the U.S. Partnership for Assured Electronics (USPAE); and Chris Peters, CEO of The Lucrum Group.



During the panel discussion, Ratcliff told students and faculty that the United States has made progress over the past 15 years in restoring manufacturing in the country. However, the need for a skilled workforce still exists in the manufacturing industry.

“We have made a good down payment on it, but that should remind us of why we need to work harder at restoring a manufacturing prowess in this country with strong engineering capabilities coming out of a university like this (Auburn) that knows how to make things — lots and lots of things,” she said.

 Ratcliff said the U.S. is experiencing a population decline, necessitating increased technology development to maintain competitiveness. She presented a graphic to faculty and students, illustrating strong manufacturing skills in the northeastern part of the county but also a growing demand for increased capabilities. Yet, the declining population in the region means there aren't sufficient people to meet those needs.

Conversely, she said in the western U.S., there is a large population but an insufficient skilled workforce to meet those demands.

“Whichever condition you live in, it boils down to an insufficiently skilled workforce,” Ratcliff said. “So, for us as a society to continue our evolution of manufacturing, we have to educate everybody as much as we can … to reap the dividends of the outstanding work happening at universities like Auburn.”

On Oct. 27, ICAMS opened its doors to the public to showcase the wide range of resources available for assisting small- and medium-sized manufacturing operations to advance their businesses. The manufacturing facility is a partnership with the City of Auburn, which refers to the facility as the Advanced Manufacturing Training Center, the home of ICAMS.


Auburn University President Christopher B. Roberts, City of Auburn Mayor Ron Anders, Vice Chair of Auburn’s Industrial Development Board William Ham and Ratcliff made comments about the impact of ICAMS on Alabama and the future of the industry.

Roberts said that the collaboration between the university, the city, and the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) has resulted in a world-class facility.

“This training center is the collective vision that you all have for making a difference in this country,” Roberts said. “Through this relationship, we will provide our students with the best experiences in next-generation manufacturing.”

"This center helps to establish the new standard for expectations in training the next generation of professionals who will drive advancements in this field."

Established in 2018 within Auburn’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering, ICAMS opened its manufacturing facility in 2020, providing the equipment, space and expertise to train and educate students and industry professionals in advanced manufacturing technologies.



Media Contact: Dustin Duncan, dzd0065@auburn.edu,
several people stand behind a ribbon for a grand opening

Several ICAMS stakeholders celebrate the grand opening of the ICAMS Manufacturing Facility.

Recent Headlines