Manufacturing Research and Education Facility Gets $50-Million Facelift
Michael Alba posted on October 24, 2016 |
Detroit remains the central hub of automotive manufacturing in the U.S. (Image courtesy of MEDC.)

Detroit remains the central hub of automotive manufacturing in the U.S. (Image courtesy of MEDC.)

On this year’s Manufacturing Day–which officially took place on October 7–two Manufacturing USA institutes, LIFT (Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow) and IACMI (Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation), celebrated with a major investment.

The organizations jointly invested nearly USD$50 million in a shared manufacturing facility in Detroit, which will see new equipment and infrastructure upgrades over the next two years.


Manufacturing Innovation and Education

The facility serves as both a center for manufacturing research as well as manufacturing education. Member institutes and partners of the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (a.k.a. Manufacturing USA) will have access to the facility to conduct research projects in lightweight metals and advanced composites. There will also be educational space for students interested in learning about the composite and lightweight material industries.

The majority of the investment will go to obtaining and installing new manufacturing equipment, with LIFT contributing $20.5 million and IACMI contributing $18 million to this end. The remainder of the joint investment will go to upgrading the facility itself.

Some of the new equipment to be installed at the Detroit facility includes:

  • Hydroforming and extrusion presses
  • A flexible-robot joining cell
  • A linear friction welder
  • Compression and injection molding presses
  • Pre-preg equipment
  • Induction processing
  • A resin transfer/liquid compression molding machine

Manufacturing in Michigan

According to the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), Michigan leads the nation in manufacturing and engineering jobs, specifically in the automotive industry. This makes Detroit a natural choice for investment.

"Our co-investment and collaboration with LIFT strengthens our manufacturing ecosystem of automotive partners in Michigan—and helps to redefine Detroit as a prospering region for vehicle advancement," said IACMI CEO Craig Blue.

But the investment has loftier goals than advancing Michigan manufacturing. The facility’s focus on innovative research and education is primarily a push toward the fourth industrial revolution.

"The goal of this new investment is to make a positive impact in and beyond automotive in areas such as aerospace, defense, shipbuilding and other manufacturing sectors," said LIFT executive director Lawrence E. Brown. "Moreover, we need to continue to invest in educating and training our next generation of manufacturers. These added resources will allow us to do just that."

For more information, read about bringing smart manufacturing to the automotive industry.

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