Lightweight Metals Institute opens in Detroit

Mihaela Banu, ME Associate Professor, shows an example of an alloy in the GG Brown Building on February 20, 2014.

Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) Consortium

A new $148 million lightweight metals manufacturing institute called the Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) Consortium opened in January 2015 in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit. Led by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII), a public-private partnership led by Ohio-based manufacturing technology nonprofit EWI, the University of Michigan and Ohio State University. The initiative is part of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation and is being led by the Department of Defense.

The institute is charged with establishing a regional manufacturing ecosystem to move cutting-edge lightweight metals out of the research lab and into tomorrow’s cars, trucks, airplanes and ships for both the commercial and military sectors.

The LIFT Consortium has more than 70 member organizations as partners, including companies, universities, research institutions, and education and workforce leaders, the institute is expected to contribute to economic development and positive job impact in Detroit and stretching to the five-state region of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky over the next five years. Most of these jobs will be in the metal stamping, metalworking, machining and casting industries that are dominant in the Midwest.

LIFT’s Detroit location puts it close to key workforce partners such as Focus: HOPE, Macomb Community College, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech University, Wayne State University and the Wayne County Community College District. These partners will work closely with the institute’s workforce program on new manufacturing methods. The institute, in turn, will engage students in internships and technical work on its research projects.

“From this very central location on the I-75 corridor, and particularly in the heart of Detroit, the institute is poised for success in serving our nation in setting the standard for world-class lightweight metals manufacturing,” said LIFT Executive Director Larry Brown.

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