Greenville Tech opens business incubator for manufacturing startups

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2017-3-7 GVL Center for Manufacturing Innovation Business Incubator Greenville SC Jack Robert Photography

Donald Medlin said he wanted Beam Lab, the startup company he runs, to be part of Greenville’s business community after it was born in the medical physics lab at Clemson University.

Donald Medlin, co-founder of Beam Lab
Donald Medlin, co-founder of Beam Lab

The 28-year-old doctoral student and five other Beam Lab founders are developing a radiation therapy machine they say will be better than what’s on the market now.

Medlin said he considered putting Beam Lab in a business incubator that’s located in the offices of Clemson’s graduate business school on Main Street in downtown Greenville.

Ultimately, though, he chose a business incubator designed specifically for manufacturing startups. It’s inside Greenville Tech’s new 100,000-square-foot Center for Manufacturing Innovation on Millennium Boulevard in Greenville.

The new incubator officially opened with a special ceremony on Tuesday, March 7, though Beam Lab and one other startup, Constructis, have been occupying office space there for months.

Medlin said not only was the office space nice at CMI, but Beam Lab also gets access to manufacturing equipment such as Haas machine tooling as it develops a prototype medical device.

Beam Lab can also consult with Greenville Tech experts in precision manufacturing, he said.

“As soon as we came and visited we pretty much fell in love with this place,” Medlin said from one of two workstations that constitute his company’s headquarters for now. “It was perfect for our needs.”

Constructis, the other startup in the incubator, makes a product designed to generate electricity by capturing the energy of vehicular traffic.

Both Beam Lab and Constructis are using grants from SC Launch, a state program that funds promising startups, to pay their initial rent at the incubator.

David Clayton, executive director of the Center for Manufacturing Innovation
David Clayton, executive director of the Center for Manufacturing Innovation

The main mission of the Center for Manufacturing Innovation is teaching Greenville Tech students the latest advanced manufacturing techniques in order to generate a skilled workforce for local manufacturers.

Students learn to operate sophisticated equipment such as 3-D printers, CNC machining tools, and assembly-line robots. They work on projects with established manufacturers such as Bosch Rexroth, which makes hydraulic pumps in Fountain Inn.

Having manufacturing startups on-site is another way for students to interact with industry, said David Clayton, CMI’s executive director. He said the 2,000-square-foot business incubator has room for eight more entrepreneurs.

Clayton formerly worked as an engineer with General Electric Co. in Greenville and Westinghouse Electric Co. in Columbia and as research director for the South Carolina Department of Commerce.

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