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LIFT welcomes national composite institute to its Detroit headquarters

News International-French

12 Oct 2015

Collaboration within the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) took a new step as LIFT and the Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI) confirmed that IACMI will open a scale-up facility at LIFT’s headquarters in Detroit.

The facility will support production-scale composite materials development focused on vehicle lightweighting in collaboration with automotive companies.

The composites scale-up facility will be run by Michigan State University (MSU), which leads IACMI’s vehicle technology area in Detroit. “Taking weight out of vehicles will require different approaches; we are focused on metals and IACMI is focused on composites,” said Lawrence E. Brown, executive director of LIFT. “But we are both working toward the same goal with many of the same industry partners, so it only makes sense for us to be physically together. All of the national institutes are based on collaborations, and we expect this one to be particularly strong.”

At a recent event in Detroit, Vice President Joe Biden echoed Brown’s lightweighting charge, saying, “Lightweighting is critical to our future. We want to own the 21st century in innovation, and composites are a big part of that goal. That’s why this administration is making a $40 million investment in the Composites Institute (IACMI) co-location in a facility in Detroit.”

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder said, “This project shows how the government can collaborate with the private sector and Michigan’s world-class universities on innovative approaches that will be the future of the auto industry. Michigan is the perfect location for a project that will provide opportunities for collaborative research and the development of new materials that will make cars better worldwide – keeping and growing the number of jobs here.”

Michigan has more than 300 industrial technical centers related to automotive technology and conducts more than 70 percent of US automotive research and development. “IACMI’s technology areas are strategically located in America’s manufacturing heartland to serve industry needs,” said Craig Blue, IACMI’s CEO. “Co-locating with LIFT in the Motor City reinforces our commitment to collaboration through partnerships that enhance the entire automotive ecosystem.”

Both IACMI and LIFT are identifying applications for lighter materials in next generation vehicles, IACMI via advanced composites and LIFT via lightweight metals. Locating in the same facility provides a unique opportunity for collaboration between NNMI institutes and the transportation industry, which have identified the need of lightweight materials to meet goals for fuel efficiency, safety, and performance.

Support of this co-location is evidenced by numerous federal, state, industry, and local commitments to the city of Detroit and this shared facility. Approximately $12 million in federal funding will come to Detroit for cost-shared development projects; the state of Michigan has committed $15 million for equipment and staffing; industrial support is valued at $18 million; and the city of Detroit is supporting IACMI’s efforts to establish the vehicle scale-up facility.

Several hundred new jobs in the industrial sector are expected as a result of the commercialization successes facilitated by this pilot-scale facility managed by IACMI.

Suggested revised copy: “That’s why this administration is making a $40 million investment in the Composites Institute (IACMI) co-locating in a Detroit facility.”

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