ITW, Hobart open Customer Experience Center for welding


TROY — Hobart announced the grand opening of its new Customer Experience Center at its headquarters in Troy with a ribbon cutting and walk-through of the center on Tuesday, Jan. 10, at 1o1 E. Trade Square.

The new center is approximately 9,000-square-feet and has been designed to provide customers and distributors world-class technical, product and customer service support. The center will allow for both on-site and virtual demonstrations of Hobart filler metals, combined with total welding solutions from other ITW Welding Group companies, including Miller Electric Mfg. LLC, Bernard, Tregaskiss and Jetline.

“Our entire industry is threatened by a shortage of qualified welders, so our focus is on developing products that ensure weld-ability and productivity,” said Blake Heim, commercial director at Hobart. “This facility allows us to mitigate that industry pain point by providing the highest level of support to the industry. We can offer our distributors and sales force the knowledge they need to provide filler metals that are easier to use and drive productivity.”

The Hobart Customer Experience Center consists of several dedicated spaces.

The Customer Applications Lab (CAL) features two robotic welding systems, including the new Hercules automated MIG welding system from Hobart, Miller and Tregaskiss, along with semi-automatic welding stations and submerged arc welding equipment. It also includes pipe positioners, plasma cutters and advanced process equipment. Hobart welding engineers us the CAL to develop and test procedures to help customers improve productivity and quality.

“The CAL offers our customers a great opportunity to improve their businesses. It allows us to bring in their parts or mock them up and apply the preliminary work to advance their welding processes,” said Tre’ Heflin-King, applications engineering manager at Hobart. “Our customers are able to see the filler metal and welding equipment solutions in action before putting them into production. They can also try new technologies here.”

The Customer Experience Center also includes a classroom where distributors and ITW Welding sales team members receive training on filler metals, new welding technologies, welding best practices and more. The classroom, along with a weld training lab, provides the basis for growing welding knowledge. The weld training lab consists of smaller power sources, plus TIG and stick welding machines, and offers the opportunity for hands-on training with new equipment and filler metals.

For customers, distributors and sales team members who are not able to visit the Customer Experience Center in person, Hobart can provide support via a virtual training lab. This lab features fully equipped welding stations and multiple cameras.

“Ultimately, this new space is designed to benefit everyone involved: customers, distributors, our sales team and Hobart,” said Heim. “It sets the foundation for mutually beneficial growth and learning, so everyone reaps the rewards.”

“I’m so proud of the area. Not just the businesses but just the local community whenever I come back. … It’s just really heartwarming for me to come back and just see the community prosper. I think our commitment and our community engagement is really important to ITW,” said ITW Executive Vice President and former Troy citizen Sharon Szafranski. “Another thing I wanted to touch on, is just how important our customers are … we work with our customers. Our biggest tenet of our business model, besides our culture, is customer-backed innovation. So to be opening a facility like this where we can bring our customers here and have it be a playground for them, I just think it’s really, really important. We’re excited about it for our sales teams, the distributors … we’re encouraging you to really make good use of this.”

According to Heim and Hobart Filler Metals Vice President and General Manager Bob Bilokonsky, the new Customer Experience Center is already taking off with local customers and distributors. So far, the center is already booked for classes and other usage for the next three weeks.

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