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Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley announces Composites Coalition

News International-French

17 Nov 2017

Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley, the regional economic development initiative led by the Knoxville Chamber, announced the launch of the Composites Coalition.

Knoxville-Oak Ridge Innovation Valley announces composites coalition

Composites Coalition is a statewide initiative that aims to capitalize on Tennessee's assets including Oak Ridge National Laboratory's (ORNL) Carbon Fiber Technology Facility, the U.S. Department of Energy's Manufacturing Demonstration Facility, the headquarters for the Institute for Advanced Composites Materials Innovation (IACMI); the University of Tennessee, Knoxville's composites research, and several recent composites-related economic development announcements across the state.

The primary objectives of the Composites Coalition are:

  • To raise international awareness of Tennessee's composites-related assets and opportunities
  • To host quarterly composites-related existing industry cluster meetings
  • To identify workforce training needs of composites companies and to enhance training programs to fill those gaps, as well as to raise awareness of composites career opportunities
  • To target and recruit composites-related companies to locate research, manufacturing and distribution operations to the State of Tennessee

"Bringing economic development together with private industry and powerhouse research partners is a perfect combination to help us grow upon the strong momentum in the composites sector in our region and state," said Doug Lawyer, vice president of economic development for the Knoxville Chamber. 

The advanced composites industry is growing steadily at nearly 15 percent per year in the United States, accounting for 300,000 new, high-paying jobs over the past five years. The next decade promises even more robust growth as advanced composites materials are utilized in the automotive, aerospace and energy sectors.

A composite is created when two or more different materials are combined to create a superior and unique material - most commonly Fiber Reinforced Plastics. These workable materials are as strong as metal with a much lighter weight, and they are commonly used to manufacture products through 3D printing.