Coating machine seen as boon for NCI

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine was on hand to help unveil the new training equipment at the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing. Photo courtesy of CAFM.

A new machine installed at the New College Institute (NCI) should help Martinsville-Henry County keep high-tech companies and attract new ones by ensuring that people can learn advanced skills they will need to work for the firms, local industry representatives, educators and others said Thursday when the device was unveiled.

The academic coater is a one-of-a-kind, roughly $1 million machine to be used by the Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing – a partnership of NCI, Patrick Henry Community College (PHCC), the Martinsville-Henry County Economic Development Corp. (EDC) and Eastman – mainly to train people for jobs with Eastman and other performance film manufacturers.

The Center for Advanced Film Manufacturing is a 28-credit program intended to teach people the skills they need to make performance films, such as ones installed on windows to block solar radiation, with computer-run equipment. But the coater could be used by other companies to teach skills common to all advanced manufacturers, NCI officials said.

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