SSE Steel Fabrication Invests in Robots, Augmented Reality Headsets

ST. BERNARD, La. – SSE Steel Fabrication announced it is expanding its St. Bernard Parish facility with the addition of technology designed to enhance overall productivity and efficiency while creating new jobs. The business is adding a fleet of welding collaborative robots, or cobots, to its existing robotic manufacturing line, and incorporating augmented reality headsets and software into quality control processes.

The company expects to create 18 new direct jobs, while retaining 64 current positions. Louisiana Economic Development estimates the project will result in 18 new indirect jobs, for a total of 36 new jobs in the Southeast Region.

“Louisiana’s diverse manufacturing sector continues to invest in forward-leaning technology to increase productivity and create new jobs for the state’s skilled workforce,” Gov. John Bel Edwards said in a press release. “As a minority- and woman-owned business in a male-dominated field, SSE demonstrates the strength and talent of Louisiana’s small business community. We appreciate the company’s recognition of our state’s business environment and its commitment to modernization, which is so critical to sustaining the strength of this vital economic sector.”

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Cobots will be utilized in the metal fabrication process as well as for pre- and post-welding tasks such as material handling, part manipulation and inspection.

Augmented reality headsets overlay virtual mixed reality 3D models onto the real-world environment, allowing workers to increase accuracy while decreasing production time by eliminating the need to refer to traditional paper blueprints or computer screens.

“SSE Steel Fabrication is investing in innovative and leading-edge technology that will position ourselves for growth, improved competitiveness and the ability to meet customer demands more effectively,” SSE president and CEO Mindy Nunez Airhart said. “Louisiana is our home, and we are committed to staying in this business-friendly environment. The state’s strategic positioning allows us to access key markets efficiently, enhancing our competitive advantage. Moreover, the strong support we receive from our local St. Bernard Parish community allows us to hire a talented pool of local tradesmen.”

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The AR quality control system is currently in the testing stage and is anticipated to be implemented by the end of July. The cobots are expected to be delivered and fully operational at the start of August.

“SSE’s expansion is great news for St. Bernard Parish,” Parish President Guy McInnis said. “We thank them for reinvesting in our community and creating jobs for our local, skilled workforce. I look forward to seeing their continued success.”

The company began operations in 1996 and has grown into a large capacity, full-service fabrication contractor that provides services to commercial clients, industrial facilities and government agencies. SSE’s growth has been supported by its participation in numerous LED small business initiatives, including CEO Roundtables, Louisiana Growth Network and Rural Entrepreneurship programs. It is also Hudson certified, meaning it has met the qualifications for enhanced access to state procurement and public contract opportunities.

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“SSE Steel Fabrication is a prime example of what is possible for companies in St. Bernard Parish,” St. Bernard Economic Development Foundation CEO Meaghan McCormack said. “Founded nearly 30 years ago, SSE has experienced tremendous growth and remained competitive by investing in the most cutting-edge equipment, taking the initiative to earn demanding certifications and committing to community partnerships to train and hire locally.”

The state of Louisiana offered SSE a competitive incentives package which includes the comprehensive workforce development solutions of LED FastStart. The company is also expected to participate in the state’s Industrial Tax Exemption and Quality Jobs programs.

“Thanks to decades of successful growth in St. Bernard Parish, SSE Steel Fabrication is making a significant investment into their future in the Parish,” Greater New Orleans Inc. President and CEO Michael Hecht said. “This new equipment will significantly increase the company’s efficiency and output, creating new jobs for local residents in the process. Further, as a woman- and minority-owned small business, SSE Steel Fabrication is demonstrating the broad opportunities in manufacturing for all residents in the region.”

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