On June 1, TPM, a digitization solutions company based in Greenville, South Carolina, opened its new Additive Manufacturing (AM) Lab, also in Greenville. TPM sells hardware, software, and materials for companies incorporating digitization into their supply chains, in the architecture, engineering & construction (AEC) and manufacturing sectors.
Additionally, the company provides consulting and maintenance services for the products that it sells. According to TPM, along with printing parts for companies across the southeastern US, the new facility is also meant to “serve as a regional demonstration center” for all the technologies in the AM ecosystem. For TPM in particular, these include platforms from industry mainstays like HP and 3D Systems, with which TPM has a decade-plus relationship as an authorized reseller.
The significance of this new facility is that theme of regionality: it highlights the singular priority of geography in determining the future of manufacturing. Specifically in the case of the southeast, the region is currently seeing unprecedented levels of manufacturing capital inflows, primarily related to EV battery production.
Greenville, just 10 minutes from 3D Systems’ headquarters in Rock Hill, SC, is exactly the sort of city that can be expected to thrive in the Bidenomics era, as a new hub in the emerging southeastern advanced manufacturing cluster. Right between Charlotte (an hour and a half away) and Atlanta (two and a quarter hours away), Greenville is also less than 100 miles away from the $2.6 billion SK Battery plant in Commerce, GA, opened in 2022.
Moreover, Greenville is less than four hours away from Savannah, GA, near where Hyundai and LG have committed over $5.5 billion to EV battery facilities in the last two years. The South Carolina city is about three hours from Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner delivery point in Charleston, SC, and around that same distance from Augusta, GA, recently named one of the five national advanced manufacturing Workforce Hub cities by the Biden administration.
Finally, it is less than an hour away from BMW’s recently upgraded factories in Spartanburg, SC, a little more than two hours away from Columbia, SC, where VW will build its $2 billion Scout Motor EV facility, and about two and a half hours away from LG’s $3 billion EV battery plant in Clarkesville, TN. And this very repetitive list doesn’t even exhaust the number of advanced manufacturing operations less than four hours from Greenville, in every direction.
The point is that while this isn’t the reason a company like TPM could establish a niche in the first place, it is certainly the reason why it makes perfect sense for such a company to bet on its own growth right now. For everyone else, it is the sort of development that can provide qualitative data about the areas of the US, and the globe, in which advanced manufacturing growth is going to concentrate: find where the investments in AM labs are, and you’re likely to spot an emerging node in future supply chains.
Images courtesy of TPM
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