New 'innovation institutes' designed to strengthen U.S. manufacturing capabilities

  • 26-Feb-2014 04:51 EST

One of the end goals of the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute is greater use of lightweight materials in automobiles. This computer generated-image depicts a body-in-white using three grades of advanced high-strength steel from NanoSteel, one of the institute members. Red represents steel of the highest strength, yellow steel of highest elongation, and green a combination of the two.

President Barack Obama on Feb. 25 announced that the creation of two “manufacturing innovation hubs” in which the public and private sectors will work together to “bridge the gap between applied research and product development by bringing together companies, universities, and other academic and training institutions.” The overall goal is enhanced U.S. manufacturing capability. The Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute (LM3I) will be headquartered in the Detroit area and led by EWI. The 60-member consortium pairs leading aluminum, titanium, and high-strength-steel manufacturers with universities and laboratories pioneering new technology development and research. The goal is to remove technological barriers to the manufacture of lightweight, high-performance metals and alloys. The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDI) will be headquarters in Chicago and led by UI Labs. It will include 73 companies, universities, nonprofits, and research labs with expertise in software and manufacturing. The goal is to develop enhanced digital capabilities to design and test new products while reducing costs in manufacturing processes across multiple industries. The federal government will provide $140 million in funding for the institutes through the U.S. Department of Defense.

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