A new facility on Georgia Tech’s campus unveiled this week will put the institution on the forefront of innovation in aerospace manufacturing, thanks to a generous grant from The Delta Air Lines Foundation.The Delta Air Lines Foundation contributed $3 million the new space, the Delta Air Lines Advanced Manufacturing Pilot Facility (AMPF), following the $2 million Delta invested in the institution in 2015. Started in 1968, The Delta Air Lines Foundation is a non-profit corporation aimed at enhancing charitable giving in the areas of education, health and wellness.
The research facility will give Delta employees and students a space to work together to come up with innovative manufacturing solutions.
“The AMPF will blaze the trail for aerospace and automotive industries for years to come and will play an important role in helping us continue to improve our operations,” said Gil West, Delta’s Senior Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and Trustee of The Delta Air Lines Foundation, during the dedication ceremony.The space gives a home to several large-scale machines used to create and test parts for aircraft and cars, including 3D printers and other digital manufacturing machinery, before they reach the commercial manufacturing floor. Through their collaboration, Delta and Georgia Tech plan to use the facility to develop next-generation aerospace technology.
Although the facility only recently opened, Georgia Tech students said they’ve already found the new space to be valuable.
“We can tell a big difference after moving into this facility – we’ve got a lot more room and tools to conduct our research projects,” said Graduate Research Assistant Roby Lynn.
However, the new learning and research space is just one part of Delta’s and the Delta Air Lines Foundation’s continually expanding partnership with Georgia Tech. In 2015, Delta invested $2 million in the institution to create its global innovation center, The Hangar. Like the manufacturing facility, The Hangar helps Delta partner with the next generation of talent and tap the best and the brightest for new ideas. The innovation center celebrated its first year in operation this May.While Delta’s partnership with the school is a key part of the airline’s commitment to investing in innovation to improve customer experience, it also supports Delta’s promise to give back to the community. And for the Delta Air Lines Foundation, education is a high priority within that promise.
“We’re proud to be providing this gift to Georgia Tech and excited about the potential this partnership brings to advancing education in the aerospace and automotive manufacturing fields,” said Tad Hutcheson, Senior Vice President – The Delta Air Lines Foundation. “Georgia Tech always is on the cutting-edge of new technology and contributes to Atlanta in so many ways. We’re fortunate to have them in our hometown.”
Delta also views its partnership with Georgia Tech as a way to build strong customer relationships and a pipeline of talented employees. Georgia Tech students see a benefit in that as well: the chance to get real-world experience working with a global airline.
“This facility is the result of collaboration and partnership and will give our students the opportunity to work side-by-side with industry experts to come up with creative ways to solve problems,” said Georgia Tech President G.P. "Bud" Peterson. “It’s our hope that one day we’ll see products developed here down at the airport and on Delta aircraft.”