GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA) – SOUTHTEC, the 2023 manufacturing technology showcase was held in the Upstate this week, featuring over 200 exhibitors.

More than 5,000 people came out to the showcase over the past three days, as the latest technology was put on display. The showcase has taken place for 31 years, and 25 of those years have been spent in Greenville.

“We love the area,” Bob Willig, executive director and CEO of SME, said. “We love the enthusiasm of the people and when you think about all the manufacturing that occurs in this area, it is really an ideal location for us to be.”

Leaders at the showcase said excitement for industry advancements is at an all time high.

Exhibitors attending the showcase were represented from across the world. 

Some said they have opened additional centers right here in the Upstate.

“The Southeast and the Carolinas is very strong in aerospace and automotive,” Marc Owens, East Gulf Coast district manager with Walter USA, which recently opened operations in Greer, said. “That is one of our large strengths in the industry.”

Leaders at the showcase said while they are promoting manufacturing technology, they are also focused on developing a skilled workforce, by inspiring, preparing and supporting the next generation.

“We are talking about perhaps the most technologically advanced generation in the history of the human race,” Rob Luce, vice president of the SME Education Foundation, said. “So, when they come into a show like this and they come into automation and all the robotics, their eyes widen.”

High school and college students traveled from across the Southeast to attend the showcase. 

We spoke with some students about how the classes they are offered at the career center relate to the real world.

“We are walking down looking at all the shops and we are able to say we have done that, we can do that,” Carson Daley, Liberty High School student, said. “It was just giving us a more in depth knowledge of what is going on and how to do it.”

The Society of Manufacturing Engineers hosting the event said they will be back in the Upstate in 2025. 

SME hosts this event in only four locations across the country. In South Carolina, Texas, California, and Massachusetts.