Motlow State Automation & Robotics Training Center now open for business

ARTC grand opening ribbon cutting

Motlow State Automation & Robotics Training Center now open for business

An exciting new era of training and career development arrived today in middle Tennessee as Motlow State Community College held a grand opening for the Automation & Robotics Training Center (ARTC) in McMinnville.

The grand opening was an invitation-only event for business and industry leaders. An open house will be held May 8 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. for the public to get a first-hand look at the ARTC. The 12,500-square-feet facility is located on 4.5 acres of land, donated by the Warren County Commission, adjacent to the Motlow State and Tennessee College of Applied Technology campus.

According to Terri Bryson, Vice President of Workforce Innovation, the umbrella division of the College’s short-term robotics training program, “At the ARTC our short-term objective is to provide a highly skilled work force that is second-to-none in robotics, automation, and advanced manufacturing systems. This will attract new and expanding businesses into our region. Ultimately, our long-term mission is to create new employment opportunities for our students by literally growing the number and quality of jobs available to them.”

The ARTC is unique in the fact that it houses robots and training equipment from the top three international robot manufacturers. There are currently more than 7,000 robots in operation within a 70-mile radius of the ARTC.

The new facility opened with six teaching laboratories that include industrial robots from ABB, FANUC and Motoman. The robots provide the capability to teach robotic welding, material handling and work cell design. Additionally, there is an expanding array of automation and PLC equipment to provide training to meet the needs of our industry partners. Certification class sizes are by nature very small because of the one-on-one training necessary and the fact that each student must have dedicated time to learn and demonstrate competencies on the robot trainers.

“With the completion of the ARTC facility we are offering courses that are essential to the needs of local industry that utilize robots,” said Larry Flatt, Motlow executive director of the robotics center. “Our vision of formally partnering with industry to provide training to the exact specifications of the robot manufacturer has come to fruition. The Center will provide opportunity for individuals already employed in the robotics field to receive additional manufacturing specific education and certification. It also provides an educational pathway for Motlow students who are seeking an Associate of Applied Science degree or certification in robotics.”

In addition, the ARTC offers automation training, including digital systems, sensors, electronics, hydraulics, pneumatics, programming and alarm management. Robotic training can be realized through two distinctive pathways: training for industry and job seekers, and instruction for college credit.

Dr. Michael Torrence, Motlow president, continues to reach out to industry and community partners to keep the program growing. “The ARTC’s launch was funded through a Drive to 55 grant,” said Torrence. “It is a collaboration between the State of Tennessee, the Tennessee Board of Regents, Motlow State, and regional business leaders. Sustainment and growth of the program will depend on future corporate and philanthropic support. We built this together, we must sustain it together.”

Robotics degrees and robotics industry-recognized training credentials will fuel workforce development for industry, meet existing demand for workers, create new high-wage, high-demand jobs in robotics and automation, expand the tax base for the region, and help Tennessee reach its “Drive to 55” education goals.

Initial corporate industry credentialing and certification opportunities begins at the ARTC in early May. Beginning in fall 2019, students will be able to take courses leading to a Mechatronics degree with a concentration in Robotics. For additional information on the ARTC, visit