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Advanced Materials in the Upstate.

Jacob Hickman
Phone: 864.283.2312

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About the Industry

Upstate South Carolina has earned itself a spot on the map as a worldwide leader in advanced materials research and manufacturing. Highly trained graduates, world renowned companies and a dynamic workforce build the foundation for innovative companies and research facilities to develop and use the next generation of manufacturing technologies.

Explore what the Upstate offers in Plastics, Optics/Photonics, Advanced Textiles and Metalworking.


With ease of access to both materials and markets, the Upstate has long since been an ideal location for the plastics industry. Our more than 150 companies employ over 20,000 and make up the largest concentration of plastic-related companies in the State of South Carolina.


Select Companies: Dispoz-O-Products, Faurecia, Mitsubishi Polyester Film, Sealed Air Corporation-Cryovac, Sterilite 

Optics & Photonics

Over 160 optics and photonics-related facilities serve the Carolinas with application in automotive, telecommunications, biosciences, defense and consumer products markets.
Supporting the Optics/Photonics industry in the Upstate is Clemson University's Advanced Materials Research Center. The 111,000 square foot facility is home to state of the art equipment and world-renown researchers. Take a 3600 tour of the Advanced Materials Research Laboratory.
In 2011, Clemson University and the SC Research Authority will open the Clemson Innovation Center, a 43,000 square foot facility housing new, high tech companies focused on commercializing advanced materials for use in optoelectronics, automotive applications and biosciences.


Select companies: AFL Telecommunications, AEDS Fiber Optics, Ceramtec, Fibersource, Global Precision Optics, Optek Systems, Suncall, Woven Electronics

Advanced Textiles

Much of the Upstate's success was once built around the textiile industry. Over the years as the industry declined, the Upstate retained its presence by transitioning to the development of higher-end engineered fibers.
Upstate-based Milliken & Company was and is a leader in private sector research in the textile industry, holding over 2,000 patents and home to the largest textile research center in the world.

Select companies: BBA Fiberweb, Cytec Carbon Fiber, Hexcel, Milliken, Sage Automotive, Solutia

Metalworking & Fabrication

The large presence of Upstate companies in transportation equipment and industrial machinery create a strong manufacturing base for companies interested in metalworking and fabrication. These industries are both large users of finished metal products in their supply chain process.
It was this presence that led American Titanium Works to announce its location of both its manufacturing and research & development center for titanium alloys in the Upstate.

Select companies: Fisher Barton, Flexible Technologies, Hoke, Renfrow Brothers, Spartanburg Steel, The Shaw Group, Timken