DETROIT, Jan. 15, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) opened its new 100,000 square-foot innovation acceleration center in Detroit today by exhibiting new technologies that use lightweight metals and announcing its new program name, LIFT — Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow.
The $148 million center will facilitate partnerships among major research institutions and manufacturers to accelerate the transfer of new manufacturing technology from the research lab to the production floor. It will work with such lightweight metals as aluminum, magnesium, titanium and advanced high-strength steel alloys and focus on new technologies to cast, heat treat, form/shape, join and coat them. This activity will build upon the Materials Genome Initiative (MGI) and Advanced Manufacturing Partnership to capitalize on recent breakthroughs in materials modeling, theory, and data mining to significantly hasten discovery and deployment of advanced materials while decreasing their cost.
ALMMII is a non-profit organization founded by three partners, The University of Michigan, The Ohio State University and EWI, an independent research and development organization based in Columbus, Ohio. It was selected last year to operate LM3I, the Lightweight and Modern Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, one of five institutes set up by the U.S. government to maintain America's manufacturing leadership. Known as the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, each institute has a particular focus. While LIFT accelerates technologies using lightweight metals, others will advance technologies in power generation, digital manufacturing, additive manufacturing, photonics, and advanced composites.
"This is an important day for the future of American manufacturing jobs and the security of our country," said Executive Director Lawrence Brown. "Taking weight out of vehicles that move people and goods and carry out military missions is a national imperative, because as we succeed, we will be saving energy, saving money, and creating jobs."
Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan said that with its history of manufacturing innovation and available workforce, Detroit was the perfect fit for LIFT.
"What you see here is not just about advancing technology, it's about advancing people," said Mayor Duggan. "The education and training collaborations will help prepare Detroiters for employment opportunities to design, build and repair the next generation of lightweight vehicles."
Chief Technical Officer Alan Taub said that LIFT is an ideal public/private partnership. "Our industry partners, with input from government agencies, will set the priorities of our effort," Taub said. We will create collaborations to focus on the opportunities manufacturing companies identify to take breakthroughs from the best research institutions around the country and commercialize them as certified, production-level processes. Our work will cross-fertilize developments in several industries — including defense and commercial applications in aerospace, automotive, marine and railroad."
Education and Workforce Director Emily Stover DeRocco said, "You can't sustain new processes and materials without the necessary talent, so a critical part of our effort will be preparing an educated and skilled workforce, confident in using new lightweighting technologies and processes. Our location along the I-75 Industrial corridor serves five states with the nation's highest concentration of metal manufacturing, and we expect to be generating new opportunities throughout the region."
Michigan is the perfect location for LIFT, said Paula Sorrell, Vice President of Entrepreneurship, Innovation & Venture Capital for the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC).
"Michigan already has the world's highest concentration of automotive research and development facilities, so it is a terrific location for this collaborative enterprise," Sorrell said. "We know we will have to work together as government, research institutions and private companies to grow our manufacturing base, and LIFT will be an important part of that effort."
"The partnerships coming out of LIFT and the other institutes will have a significant impact across many industries," said Andre Gudger, Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy, Department of Defense. "LIFT will make a difference because it will be working closely with a world-class network of academic and other research institutions and industry-leading companies in transportation and defense — along with smaller companies that are developing exciting new processes to work with lightweight metals. This cutting edge technology will help develop the kind of vehicles and equipment we need to ensure our military maintains its fighting edge over our adversaries today and in the future."
Industry partners that provided exhibits for the ribbon-cutting included: American Bureau of Shipping, Alcoa, American Foundry Society, Boeing, Comau, DNV, Eaton, Flash Bainite, GREDE, Johnson Controls, Materion, Metalsa, QuesTek, TARDEC, and Tenneco.
LIFT is operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) and was selected through a competitive process led by the US Department of Defense under the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation (LM3I) solicitation issued by the U.S. Navy's Office of Naval Research. LIFT is one of the founding institutes in the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, a federal initiative to create regional hubs to accelerate the development and adoption of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies.
SOURCE American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute and Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow