LIFT Announces Four New Projects through its LIFT Ecosystem Accelerator Program (LEAP)

Initiatives aim to move the needle in advanced manufacturing research and development with Raytheon and others

DETROIT – LIFT, the Detroit-based Department of Defense manufacturing innovation institute, today announced four new projects with its LIFT Ecosystem Accelerator Program (LEAP). The projects were generated by a project call earlier this year and are designed to advance new advanced manufacturing processes and techniques connecting materials science, manufacturing processes and systems engineering in a short timeframe.

The four projects, and their principal investigators are:

  • Bond Technologies, Inc. – This work will focus on demonstrating Friction Extrusion Additive Manufacturing (FEAM) scale up, and improving manufacturing readiness of Friction Extrusion Additive Manufacturing in scalable, steady-state process conditions​. Bond will work with LIFT and the University of Michigan, which has developed and filed for patent a Friction Extrusion Additive Manufacturing (FEAM) technology that enables large scale high-rate additive manufacturing of metal products.​ The purpose of Bond Technologies’ work is to demonstrate that the process is scalable to a production-level process by converting an existing large-format Friction Stir machine into a robust, flexible prototype.​
  • Loukus Technologies – This work, along with partners at Eck Industries, LIFT and Michigan Technological University, will encompass Alloy Optimization for High Temperature Metal Matrix Composites (MMC) components​, seeking to find an alloy that will eliminate incipient phase melting and maintain properties in high temperature applications​. The project targets improving the matrix alloy to possess enhanced high temperature properties over current commercial alloys. Aluminum – Cerium alloys are interesting for this application as they exhibit very little degradation in properties at elevated temperatures. ​The work will use squeeze casting of five different alloys into a consistent preform. High temperature properties will be tested and compared between all the manufactured composites.
  • Raytheon Technologies – This project together with LIFT will investigate an Integrated Computational Materials Engineering (ICME) approach for MMC manufacturing with aerospace & hypersonics applications​; expanding the capabilities of state-of-the-art, large deformation thermomechanical processing; developing a model for efficient location specific microstructure; and property prediction of MMC parts​. The project seeks to extend the capabilities of a leading-edge large deformation thermomechanical processing model with HPC compatibility by enhancing the microstructural considerations and constitutive models for application to MMC parts. ​ The outcome of the project will be an ICME approach applicable to simulating large deformation thermomechanical processing (e.g., forging, rolling, extrusion) of advanced MMC parts to provide insight into ideal processing conditions and predict as produced part properties.​
  • Terves, LLC. – This work together with LIFT will be investigating ultrasonic additive joining of AZ31 and carbon fiber reinforced polymers (CFRP) and establishing feasibility for solid-state welding of AZ31 foil utilizing ultrasonic additive manufacturing (UAM). This will be a collaborative effort, partnering with The Ohio State University, to develop UAM welding of magnesium alloy (AZ31) foil to itself and to develop transition joints between AZ31 and automotive or aerospace grade CFRP. High strength joints will be created through mechanical interlocking of carbon fiber within AZ31 using the UAM process. The program’s long-term goal is to join magnesium alloy sheet and tubular product as a means to integrate with automotive and aerospace structures for lightweighting.

The four projects are currently underway, and each expect to be completed over the next several months. Project results will be presented to the LIFT ecosystem and potentially lead to larger follow-on projects and commercialization in the future.


LIFT, operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute, is the Detroit-based, public-private partnership between the Department of Defense, industry and academia, committed to the development and deployment of advanced manufacturing technologies, and implementing talent development initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. Visit or follow on LinkedIn at LIFT or on Twitter @NewsFromLIFT to learn more.