A Detroit-area based consortium of 60 companies, nonprofits, and universities and a Chicago based consortium of 73 companies, nonprofits, and universities are partnering with the federal government to launch two new manufacturing innovation hubsThe first new manufacturing innovation institute competition this year is launching today, one of four the Administration has committed to launching this year.

The President has announced new steps in partnership with the private sector to boost advanced manufacturing, strengthen our capabilities for defense, and attract the types of high-quality jobs that a growing middle class requires. First, the President will announce two new manufacturing innovation institutes led by the Department of Defense supported by a $140 million Federal commitment combined with more than $140 million in non-federal resources: (1) Detroit-area headquartered consortium of businesses and universities, with a focus on lightweight and modern metals manufacturing; (2) Chicago headquartered consortium of businesses and universities that will concentrate on digital manufacturing and design technologies.

Second, the President will also launch a competition for a new manufacturing innovation institute to build U.S. strength in manufacturing advanced composites, the first of four new competitions to be launched this year.

President Obama has declared 2014 a year of action, and while he will continue to work with Congress on new measures to create jobs and grow the economy, he will also use his executive authority to get things done. After shedding jobs for a decade, our manufacturers have added 622,000 jobs since early 2010, including more than 80,000 over the past four months.   Manufacturing production is growing at its fastest pace in over a decade, and the President is committed to building on that progress. 

Today’s announcement of two new DOD-led manufacturing institutes fulfills the President’s pledge in his 2013 State of the Union to establish three new manufacturing innovation institutes from existing resources.  In May 2013, the Administration launched competitions for the three institutes with a Federal commitment of $200 million across five agencies – the Departments of Defense, Energy, Commerce, NASA, and the National Science Foundation, building off the success of a pilot institute headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio.  In January 2014, the first of these three institutes was announced, the new Department of Energy-led Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Raleigh, N.C. 

And with the opening of the competition for the next manufacturing innovation institute on advanced composites, the President is moving forward on his new pledge in the State of the Union to launch four institutes this year, totaling eight institutes supported by the Administration.   

Each institute serves as a regional hub, bridging the gap between applied research and product development by bringing together companies, universities and other academic and training institutions, and Federal agencies to co-invest in key technology areas that encourage investment and production in the U.S.  This type of “teaching factory” provides a unique opportunity for education and training of students and workers at all levels, while providing the shared assets to help companies, most importantly small manufacturers, access the cutting-edge capabilities and equipment to design, test, and pilot new products and manufacturing processes.

Today’s announcement is another step forward toward fulfilling the president’s vision for a full national network of up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes, which will also require legislation from Congress. In July 2013, Senators Brown (D-OH) and Blunt (R-MO) and Congressmen Reed (R-NY) and Kennedy (D-MA) co-sponsored bipartisan legislation in both the Senate and House that would create a network for manufacturing innovation led by the Department of Commerce consistent with the president’s vision, helping the United States to take advantage of this unique opportunity to accelerate growth and innovation in domestic production and create the foundation for well-paying jobs that strengthen the middle class.  The President will continue to work with Congress to get legislation passed while continuing to make progress where he can to boost these partnerships that are important to revitalizing our manufacturing sector.


The winning Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation – or LM3I – Institute team, headquartered in the Detroit area and led by EWI, brings together a 60-member consortium that pairs the world’s leading aluminum, titanium, and high strength steel manufacturers with universities and laboratories pioneering new technology development and research.  The long-term goal of the LM3I Institute will be to expand the market for and create new consumers of products and systems that utilize new, lightweight, high‑performing metals and alloys by removing technological barriers to their manufacture.  The Institute will achieve this through leadership in pre-competitive advanced research and partnerships across defense, aerospace, automotive, energy, and consumer products industries. 


The winning Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation – or DMDI – Institute team headquartered in Chicago, Illinois and led by UI Labs, spearheads a consortium of 73 companies, universities, nonprofits, and research labs – creating a novel partnership between world-leading manufacturing experts and cutting-edge software companies to enable interoperability across the supply chain, develop enhanced digital capabilities to design and test new products, and reduce costs in manufacturing processes across multiple industries.


The new competition for an Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation Institute, led by the Department of Energy, will award $70 million over five years to improve our ability to manufacture advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites at the production speed, cost and performance needed for widespread use in clean energy products including fuel-efficient and electric vehicles, wind turbines and hydrogen and natural gas storage tanks. This new competition will be the fifth institute launched by the President to date and the first of four new Institute competitions he will launch this year, building on his pledge in this year’s State of the Union.  

The Lightweight and Modern Metals Innovation Institute:

Lightweight and modern metals are utilized in a vast array of commercial products, from automobiles, to machinery and equipment, to marine craft and aircraft. These ultra-light and ultra-strong materials improve the performance, enhance the safety, and boost the energy and fuel efficiency of vehicles and machines. For example, lightweight steels are helping American automakers produce cars more fuel efficient than ever before – with some cars today already up to 39% lighter and just as strong.  For the Department of Defense, lightweight and modern metals will strengthen our defense capabilities, like enabling the creation of armored vehicles strong enough to withstand a roadside bomb but light enough for helicopter-transport.

There are significant challenges for new lightweight and modern metals to reach widespread commercial production. To aid in overcoming these challenges, in June 2011, the President announced the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership and the Materials Genome Initiative for Economic Competitiveness, recognizing the critical role of materials technologies in the products we produce and the need for a better, faster, more economical way to bring these technologies to market.

Today, the Administration is launching the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute to develop and expand the use of technologies at the important intersection of materials, manufacturing, and design.  By strengthening emerging capabilities in both advanced metals manufacturing schemes and the design of their end-use components, we will accelerate innovations from lab to market and deliver products to the defense and the commercial sector at significantly reduced weight, time and cost.  For example, a large commercial light truck manufacturer recently eliminated 700 lbs by moving to an aluminum body, made possible by these technologies, in their 2015 model. This national institute will make the U.S. more competitive by expanding domestic markets for products made with lightweight and modern metals such as automobiles, wind turbines, medical devices, engines, commercial aircraft, and Department of Defense systems and vehicles. It will also lead to significant reductions in manufacturing and energy costs.

The long-term goal of the LM3I Institute will be to expand the market for and create new consumers of products and systems that utilize new, lightweight high‑performing metals and alloys by removing technological barriers to their manufacture.  The Institute will achieve this through leadership in pre-competitive advanced research and partnerships across defense, aerospace, automotive, energy, and consumer products industries. 

The winning consortium, led by EWI and headquartered in the Detroit-area includes the following members: 

34 Companies: ABS, AEM, ALCOA Technology, Boeing, Comau, Easom Automation, EWI, Fabrisonic, Flash Bainite Steel, GE, Honda North American Services, Huys, Infinium, Inc., Innovative Weld Solutions, ITW, Lockheed Martin, Luvata, Materion, MesoCoat, MTI, NanoSteel Company, Optomec, Phoenix Integration, PowderMet, RealWeld, RTI International Metals, SaCell, Southwest Research Institute (SWRI), Steel Warehouse Co., ThermoCalc, TIMET, Trumpf, Inc., UTRC, Wolf Robotics

9 Universities and Labs: Colorado School of Mines, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech University, The Ohio State University, University of Kentucky, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, University of Tennessee, Wayne State University

17 Other Organizations: American Foundry Society, American Welding Society, ASM International, CAR, Columbus State Community College, Conexus Indiana, DET NORSKE VERITAS™, Focus Hope, International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, Ivy Tech, Macomb Community College, MAGNET, Pellissippi State Community College, State of Kentucky, State of Michigan, State of Ohio, Southeast Michigan Workforce Intelligence Network

The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute

The U.S. stands on the edge of a new frontier in manufacturing, where high-tech products are designed and tested largely within a virtual environment and individually tailored for performance.  Much like the internet has transformed the way we engage in commerce, manufacturing is being transformed by digital design.  Product development no longer begins on a draftsman's table, where sketches are turned into physical prototypes and tested again and again to get it right.  As a result of increasing complexity of manufactured systems, increasing diversity across the supply chain, and the increasing requirement for low-volume production to meet highly customized needs, there is a growing opportunity to expand our capabilities in digital manufacturing and design to drive U.S. manufacturing leadership.  We already have a long-standing leadership in software development, with 80% of the world’s software produced in the U.S.  The integrated design, development, and production of highly complex systems, leveraging our existing strength in software, can speed ideas from the lab into commercial production, reduce costs, and shorten production lifecycles.   

There are significant challenges to integrate this ‘digital thread’ across different manufactured technologies and across the supply chain.  These challenges include establishing true interoperability, the effective and balanced management of intellectual property interests, maintaining network technology and security, workforce skills, and new organizational cultures that embrace and leverage the digital thread.  Collaboration across industry, academia and government provides an opportunity to directly address these challenges in a pre-competitive way.  

The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute awardee has assembled a world-class team of more than seventy organizations from across industry, including leading manufacturers and software developers, government and academia, with both broad and deep experience in all aspects of the product development process from design and prototyping to manufacturing at scale. The combined resources and expertise of the consortium partners will provide a leap forward in digital design and manufacturing.

The winning consortium, led by UI Labs and headquartered in Chicago, Illinois includes the following members:

41 Companies: 3D Systems, ANSYS, Autodesk, Big Kaiser Precision Tooling Inc., Boeing, Caron Engineering Inc., Caterpillar, CG Tech, Cincinnati Inc., Colorado Association for Manufacturing & Technology, Cray, Dassault Systems, Deere & Company, DMG Mori, Evolved Analytics LLC, General Dynamics - Ordnance & Tactical Systems, General Electric, Haas Automation, Honeywell, Illinois Tool Works, Imagecom Inc. (Aspire 3D), International TechneGroup Inc., Kennametal, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, MSC Software, North American Die Casting Association, National Instruments, Nimbis Services Inc., Okuma, Palo Alto Research Center, Parlec, Procter & Gamble, Product Development & Analysis, PTC, Inc., Rockwell Collins, Rolls-Royce, Siemens, System Insights, The Dow Chemical Company, UPS.

23 Universities and Labs: Colorado University – Boulder, Illinois Institute of Technology, Indiana University, Iowa State University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Northern Illinois University, Northwestern University, Notre Dame, Oregon State, Purdue University, Rochester Institute of Technology, Southern Illinois University, University of Chicago, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Illinois at Urbana - Champaign, University of Iowa, University of Louisville, University of Michigan, University of Nebraska- Lincoln, University of Northern Iowa, University of Texas – Austin, University of Wisconsin – Madison, Western Illinois University. 

9 Other Organizations: American Foundry Society, City of Chicago – Department of Housing & Economic Opportunity, Colorado OEDIT, Commonwealth of Kentucky, Illinois Department of Commerce & Economic Opportunity, Illinois Science & Technology Coalition, MT Connect Institute, Reshoring Initiative, UI Labs

Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation Institute Competition

Today, the President announced a new competition, sponsored by the Department of Energy, to provide $70 million to launch a new Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation Institute focused on advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites, which combine strong fibers with tough plastics to cost-effectively manufacture materials that are lighter and stronger than steel. This new competition is the first of the four the President will launch this year, building on his pledge in this year’s State of the Union and hitting the halfway point on his initial goal of creating 15 Manufacturing Innovation Institutes.

While advanced composites are used in selective industries such as aircraft, military vehicles, satellites and luxury cars, these materials remain expensive, require large amounts of energy to manufacture and are difficult to recycle. The Energy Department’s Manufacturing Innovation Institute for advanced composites will be aimed at overcoming these barriers to widespread use by developing low-cost, high-speed, and energy-efficient manufacturing and recycling processes. Through this work, the Institute will focus on lowering the cost of advanced composites by 50 percent, reducing the energy used to make composites by 75 percent and increasing the recyclability of composites to over 95 percent within 10 years.

Advanced composites could help manufacturers deliver clean energy products with better performance and lower costs such as lightweight vehicles with record-breaking fuel economy; lighter and longer wind turbines blades; high pressure tanks for natural gas-fueled cars; and lighter, highly energy-efficient industrial equipment.

For example, advanced composites could reduce passenger car weight by 50 percent and improve fuel efficiency by about 35 percent without compromising performance or safety – helping to save more than $5,000 in fuel over the lifetime of an average car at today’s gasoline prices. In the wind energy industry, doubling the length of a turbine blade can quadruple the amount of electricity generated. Advances in low-cost composite materials will help manufacturers build longer, lighter and stronger blades to capture the maximum levels of wind energy and support a cost-competitive U.S. offshore wind industry. Low-cost advanced composites are also needed to make the storage tanks for vehicles that run on hydrogen and natural gas – helping to give drivers more fuel and transportation options that save money and cut carbon pollution.

The Energy Department seeks proposals from teams of nonprofit organizations, universities, national laboratories and private industry and will make up to $70 million available over five years, subject to congressional appropriations, that must be matched by at least $70 million in non-federal commitments.

Local Motors has announced a ground-breaking new partnership with the US Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL). Local Motors will work with the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility (MDF) at ORNL to develop and deliver technology to produce the world’s first production 3D printed vehicle.

This cooperative research and development agreement (CRADA) between Local Motors and ORNL will explore making vehicle construction more efficient in every way, including lower production time, costs, and part count, coupled with higher standards of control, safety, aesthetics and mechanical flexibility. The primary tool in this drive for efficiency is a combination of material science and cutting edge advanced manufacturing techniques that are both additive and subtractive.

“By invoking the principle of open-source, this partnership – and future efforts like it – will drive a true paradigm shift in hardware product development and automotive manufacturing technologies,” said Jay Rogers, Co-Founder and CEO of Local Motors. “Just as exciting as the vision of delivering the first direct digital manufactured car, is that we will be engaging future consumers to contribute and evangelize its creation. We are living in a time when speed to market trumps slow-going protectionism. Local Motors’ open development platform is what delivers this very speed.”

The MDF at Oak Ridge National Lab is a public-facing, cutting-edge, research laboratory focused on numerous forms of additive, subtractive and direct digital manufacturing. Its goal is to help industry adopt new manufacturing technologies that reduce life-cycle energy and greenhouse gas emissions, lower production cost and create new products and opportunities for high paying jobs. Combined with Local Motors’ commitment to open source principles, and to using locally-sourced materials to deliver locally-relevant vehicle solutions, the pairing is poised to drive the development of economical, energy efficient vehicles to the local automotive market worldwide”.

“ORNL prides itself on 'solving the unsolvable' and 'making the unmakeable,' ” said Dr. Lonnie J. Love or the lab’s Energy & Transportation Science Division. “This partnership will help push the envelope on emerging technologies, such as large scale additive manufacturing, and help accelerate the growth of manufacturing in the United States.”

Said Rogers, “We expect the result of our partnership to be an indisputable win for open source design and the development of complex mechanical devices. The entrepreneurial nature of the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility and Oak Ridge National Lab is an inspiring example of this nation’s renewed commitment to leadership and innovation in manufacturing.”

Siemon, a leading network infrastructure specialist, is pleased to announce that a recent Gallup poll reinforces the importance of the company's ongoing 110-year commitment to U.S. manufacturing.

The Gallup survey shows that nearly half of all Americans are now making a special effort to buy U.S.-made products, and 64% are willing to pay more for a U.S.-made product, citing patriotism, economy and jobs as their top reasons. Government initiatives also call for U.S.-made products for any government or military projects, as well as for projects funded under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), which includes a Buy American provision under section 1605.

Siemon continues to invest in U.S. manufacturing for its core product lines as outlined in a new corporate video. With superior metal stamping, tooling, injection molding and sheet metal forming capabilities, Siemon's ISO:14001 and ISO:9001 certified dynamic manufacturing division in Watertown, Connecticut produces a broad range of leading copper and fiber network connectivity, including millions of Siemon MAX and Z-MAX copper outlets that feature the industry's fastest, easiest and most reliable termination.

"While others in our industry have moved their manufacturing overseas, we are committed to continually investing in our U.S. manufacturing capabilities, just as we have for more than 110 years," says John Siemon, V.P. of Global Operations and Chief Technology Officer for Siemon. "We have deep roots here in Connecticut and our founding principles of quality, service, innovation and value are part of our corporate culture-it shows in the quality and performance of every product we deliver."

"While international trade is important to our economy, I feel more confident in purchasing American made products-with a network cabling infrastructure, there is no room for error," says Stephen Mason, Telecom and Transport Project Manager for Lee County, Florida. "When it comes to reliability and longevity, I believe U.S.-made product quality is second to none and lead times are decreased, all of which add up to improved productivity, efficiency and happy customers."

In addition to U.S. manufacturing, Siemon's new corporate video also highlights the company's commitment to responsible environmental stewardship as the first to earn ISO:14001 environmental certification. Through innovative waste and energy reduction initiatives, the company's U.S. operations are now more than 330% carbon negative, making Siemon the greenest and only carbon negative manufacturer in the industry.

The federal interagency Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO) has issued for public comment draft performance metrics and intellectual-property-management guidelines for President Obama's proposed National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).

The draft metrics for the NNMI* are intended to be used in evaluating how effectively the network's planned Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation meet their performance objectives. Metrics are suggested in six performance areas: impact, industry value, education and workforce development, portfolio, financial, and network contribution.

The draft guidelines on intellectual-property rights** address the primary legal issues that the institutes will confront in managing inventions that result from institute-enabled work. It covers three levels of intellectual-property concerns: project-specific, institute rights, and government rights and interests. The draft guidelines are intended to provide flexibility to the institutes in designing their intellectual-property-management plans.

Finalized performance metrics and intellectual-property guidelines would apply to the NNMI and its institutes once the necessary legislation has been enacted.

Published in the Federal Register, the full request for public review and comment on the two draft publications is available at https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-27157. Due on Dec. 13, 2013, comments on each document should be submitted separately.

In his budget for fiscal year 2014, the President proposes creating a network of up to 15 regional Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation. Funded by a proposed one-time, $1 billion investment, the NNMI will focus on enabling public-private collaborations that close the gap between research and development and the deployment of technological innovations in domestic production, with the aim of spurring economic growth.

To jumpstart the network, existing funds from four federal agencies were used to launch in August 2012 a pilot institute: the National Additive Manufacturing Institute, headquartered in Youngstown, Ohio. Building off the success of the pilot, the President announced in May 2013 competitions to create three new innovation institutes. Still under way, the competitions will establish institutes focused on digital manufacturing and design, lightweight and modern metals manufacturing, and wide bandgap semiconductor power electronic devices.

Hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the AMNPO is composed of federal agencies with manufacturing-related missions.

Federal Register notice: https://federalregister.gov/a/2013-27157
NNMI: http://manufacturing.gov/nnmi.html
National Additive Manufacturing Institute: https://americamakes.us/
DOD manufacturing institutes in the NNMI: http://manufacturing.gov/dod-led_institutes.html
DOE manufacturing institutes in the NNMI: http://manufacturing.gov/doe-led_institutes.html

*DRAFT Institute Performance Metrics for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation is available at: http://manufacturing.gov/docs/nnmi_draft_performance.pdf
**DRAFT Guidelines on Intellectual Property Rights for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation is available at: http://www.manufacturing.gov/docs/nnmi_draft_ip.pdf

The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) today announced the award of two grants totaling $7.4 million to fund research projects aimed at improving measurement and standards for the rapidly developing field of additive manufacturing. Benefits of additive manufacturing include producing goods quickly and on-demand, with greater customization and complexity and less material waste.

NIST is awarding $5 million to the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) in Youngstown, Ohio, which is operated by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, for a three-phase collaborative research effort involving 27 companies, universities and national laboratories. Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Ill., will receive $2.4 million to develop tools for process control and qualifying parts made with layer-by-layer additive-manufacturing processes.

“Improving additive manufacturing is an important part of the administration’s efforts to help U.S. manufacturers by supporting new opportunities to innovate,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director Patrick Gallagher. “The public-private research partnerships led by NAMII and Northern Illinois University are tackling important measurement science-related barriers that must be overcome before this cutting-edge technology can be more widely used, helping America remain innovative and globally competitive.”

Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is a group of new technologies that build up objects, usually by laying down many thin layers on top of each other. In contrast, traditional machining creates objects by cutting material away. A diverse array of manufacturing industries—from aircraft to medical devices and from electronics to customized consumer goods—are already using or exploring applications of these new technologies.

Additive manufacturing processes face a variety of hurdles that limit their utility for high-value products and applications. Technical challenges include inadequate data on the properties of materials used, limited process control, lack of standardized tests for qualifying machine performance and limited modeling and design tools. The new projects aim to address those challenges.

Specifically, the grants announced today will support NAMII’s three-part research plan that seeks to ensure that quality parts are produced and certified for use in products made by a variety of industries and their supply chains. Northern Illinois University and its collaborators plan to develop a suite of integrated tools for process control and additive manufacturing part qualification. Descriptions of the two projects can be found at http://manufacturing.gov/msam_awards.html.

The competitively awarded grants, which are for two years, were made through NIST’s Measurement Science for Advanced Manufacturing (MSAM) Cooperative Agreement Program.

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