New Lightweight Manufacturing Center To Open Thursday

DETROIT — The American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute will cut the ribbon to officially open its new innovation acceleration center in Detroit on Thursday, Jan. 15.

The 100,000-square-foot facility is part of a national network of research institutions and industrial companies geared toward advancing America’s leadership in manufacturing technology.

The center’s focus is to accelerate the use of lightweight metals in manufacturing, including aluminum, magenesium, titanium and advanced steel alloys. The center aims to speed the transfer of new manufacturing technology from the research lab to the production floor.

An equally important mission is to lead in the training of the workers who will be using these new processes in factories and maintenance facilitates around the country.

ALMMII is funded by the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory with support from industry partners and academic research institutions. It will be led by industry with input from the government. The lead partners in founding ALMMII are the University of Michigan, Ohio State University and EWI, an independent research and development organization based in Columbus, Ohio.

Officials said ALMMII is based in Detroit because it is the largest concentration of automotive research and development centers in the world. The location also places the center along I-75, an industrial corridor that connects states in which nearly half of America’s manufacturing workforce is located. ALMMII will directly serve a five-state region, although its work is national in scope.

Reducing the weight of materials used in vehicles is imperative to save energy costs and extend military missions. Research institutions are creating breakthroughs in laboratories that offer great promise. ALMMII connect private companies to those laboratories to do the important work of developing the specific tools and skills to make research breakthroughs practical for production of parts primarily for vehicles, airplanes and other forms of transportation.

The Jan. 15 event will coincide with industry day at the North American International Auto Show in downtown Detroit. It will feature 23 demonstrations and displays from industry and research partners, including a live demo of flash steel-making technology.

Partners exhibiting include the American Bureau of Shipping, Alcoa, American Foundry Society, Boeing, Comau, DNV, Eaton, Flash Bainite, GREDE, Johnson Controls, Materion, Metalsa, TARDEC, and Tenneco.

Speakers are to include Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, ALMMII executive director Lawrence Brown, and Andre Gudger, director of the office of small business programs at the Department of Defense.

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