LIFT - Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow, a Detroit-based national manufacturing innovation institute, celebrating the 5th anniversary of its founding, has announced that the Department of Defense has extended its cooperative agreement for another year while negotiations are underway for a new long-term partnership.
The American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII), which operates LIFT, signed the original cooperative agreement with the Department of Defense, through the Office of Naval Research, in February 2014, as one of the founding members of the Manufacturing USA network. LIFT is a public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight material manufacturing technologies and implementing education and training initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future.
“The first 5 years of our institute have been a tremendous success, moving from an idea on paper to creating a world-class facility in Detroit and building an ecosystem of experts across the country,” says Nigel Francis, LIFT CEO and Executive Director. “The value we have shown the Department of Defense, together with our industry and academic partners, enabled this extension and we are now working towards a new long-term agreement to be in place in the near future.”
During its initial 5 years, LIFT and its national network of partners have, among a wide array of other successes:
- Developed methods of reducing the weight of cast iron automotive parts by 50%;
- Streamlined the shipbuilding process by reducing distortion caused by welding and enabling the use of lightweight materials;
- Optimized the design of anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control system kits for military Humvees, which can reduce the number of fatal rollovers by 74 percent;
- Piloted “Operation Next” to support separating military men and women by providing educational opportunities and employment in some of the most in-demand advanced manufacturing jobs;
- Launched the “MakerMinded” online STEM activity and competition platform for middle and high-school students in eight states;
- Developed the IGNITE: Mastering Manufacturing foundational curriculum, piloted at schools in three states, to better prepare high school students for the 21st Century design and production environment.
- Designed and implemented 40 education and workforce development partnerships in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, to address the manufacturing skills gap and align technology and talent development in advanced manufacturing.
This year is an exciting one for the institute as it plans an expanded technology scope to provide more services to small- and medium-sized manufacturers. LIFT will also open the “LIFT Learning Lab”- an immersive lab focused on building the pipeline of advanced manufacturing technicians - in its Detroit facility later this spring.