Southern U.S. Builds New Auto Production Hub Around CompositesOn March 30, 2017, in Knoxville, TN, The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation - IACMI-The Composites Institute, a national institute led by The University of Tennessee, Knoxville and U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), announced a new project to develop materials including reinforcements with advanced composites using large-scale additive manufacturing.

Committed to increasing domestic production capacity and manufacturing jobs across the U.S. composites industry, IACMI’s integration of large-scale additive manufacturing and composite materials for vehicle applications will challenge existing designs and define new components to meet longevity and crash performance requirements.

In partnership with Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Local Motors - the technology company that designs, builds and sells vehicles by combining co-creation with local micro-manufacturing—the project will demonstrate an integrated design and materials selection, together with a novel, low-cost reinforcing technique used to optimize parts for vehicle application.

The joint effort to develop materials and reinforcements for advanced composites using large-scale additive manufacturing will be performed at DOE’s Manufacturing Demonstration Facility.

Additionally, the outcomes from the outlined project will enable creation of multiple U.S. facilities that can produce cars with a substantial advanced composite make-up. Projections include new facilities, new high-skilled jobs in 2017, and complementary impact across a broad range of manufacturing sectors leading to a 50% reduction in design-to-manufacturing cycle time.

“The integration of design within the materials selection and manufacture process optimizes vehicle production by reducing cycle time,” said Gregory Haye, Local Motors General Manager.

“The partnership with IACMI-The Composites Institute and its vast group of partners provides access to unique research and development capabilities, ultimately resulting in a more efficient manufacture process for our organization.”

Bryan Dods, IACMI-The Composites Institute CEO agrees, “The Composites Institute’s impact is larger than the project research and development work taking place at our facilities. Collaboration amongst IACMI members spans the entire industry supply chain from material suppliers, BASF and TechmerPM, to design and manufacturing with Local Motors. Commercialization of new innovations is resulting in the creation of new jobs, expansion of manufacturing facilities and an overall economic development impact benefitting the entire ecosystem of composites manufacturers.”


Local Motors, the company that ‘’reinvents’’vehicules and their manufacturingLocal Motors, the company that ‘’reinvents’’vehicules and their manufacturing

Strati, the world’s first 3D-printed car which demonstrates the power of using Direct Digital Manufacturing (DDM)

Olli, a public transportation vehicle which can drive itself using overlapping sensors. It is electric and helps reduce the output of emissions in dense urban areas and helps cut down on noise pollution too.

Olli is part of a fleet management system designed to solve the needs of large campuses and municipalities.

Olli relies on an innovative app which gives you control in the palm of your hand, find existing routes, share an Olli, or charter an Olli of your own.

LM Micro Factories (ie The Factory of the Future)

LM refuses to shape the future in mega-factories of the past.  

LM believes that ideas come to life in Microfactories - the cleaner, smarter and more efficient factory of tomorrow.

Micro Factories location

Knoxville (TN) LM's first DDM-enabled production Microfactory ; Chandler (AZ); Harbor (MD) and

Berlin (Germany)


Sources: Mark Goulthorpe/IACMI-The Composites Institute/JEC Group


Written by Joshua Jampol

Joshua Jampol is an American writer, journalist and broadcaster. He has over 30 years’experience on a variety of industrial and high-tech topics.


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