LIFT Celebrates 6th Anniversary, Extends Partnership With Department of Defense

Institute continues to support and accelerate the growth of U.S. manufacturing industrial base in technology and talent

DETROIT – LIFT, the national manufacturing innovation institute, focused on manufacturing materials, processes and systems, operated by a public-private partnership between government, industry and academia, celebrated its 6th anniversary today and announced an extended partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Since its founding in Detroit in 2014, LIFT has delivered on its charter to bring government, industry and academia together to develop technological and talent development advances in support of the U.S. manufacturing base and the warfighter. As well as important technology developments, the institute is also on mission to reduce the advanced manufacturing skills gap by providing educational and training opportunities for high school and college students and industry workers.

“Our institute and extended network of members and partners has achieved tremendous accomplishments over the past six years,” said Nigel Francis, chief executive officer and executive director for LIFT. “The impact we have had on the U.S. manufacturing industry base in both technology and talent can be measured in the billions of dollars over the next two decades; this built on an investment from government and industry in the millions, so our ROI is clear.”

“LIFT is having a direct and positive impact on soldiers and sailors. With LIFT innovations, Humvees are less prone to rollover and ships are being built lighter,” Dr. Lisa Porter, Deputy Under Secretary of Defense for Research and Engineering. LIFT is also filling a critical skills shortfall for the nation’s manufacturing sector through Operation Next, an innovative training and credentialing program for service members transitioning from the active-duty military to civilian life.”

Accomplishments LIFT and its partners have achieved over the last six years include:

  • Developing a manufacturing process to streamline shipbuilding for the military, reducing the cost of manufacture;
  • Developing and launching Operation Next, an innovative training and credentialing program enabling active-duty soldiers to earn one or more nationally portable, standards-based, industry-recognized credentials in high-demand manufacturing fields. After a successful pilot, the program is set to launch nationwide in the coming years;
  • Opening the LIFT Learning Lab, a unique immersive learning space in LIFT’s Detroit facility, featuring eight unique labs equipped to prepare students for the most in-demand manufacturing careers;
  • Supporting the Department of Defense in researching and developing lightweight armor systems for the warfighter and key vehicles;
  • Exploring new methods of additive manufacturing, including wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM) and cold spray technology for a variety of purposes, and;
  • Developing new agile and smarter manufacturing processes, such as incremental sheet forming, which allow for more flexible and affordable methods of manufacturing components.

“LIFT continues to be a success story for Detroit, the state of Michigan, and our nation. The institute is an important part of why Michigan is a leader in advanced manufacturing,” said Senator Debbie Stabenow. “I look forward to following LIFT’s growth and partnering with them on future efforts.”

“As Michigan grows its defense footprint, it is critical that our state remains at the forefront of manufacturing innovation,” said Senator Peters, a former Lt. Commander in the U.S. Navy Reserve and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I am pleased that LIFT has extended their partnership with the Department of Defense. This partnership is a proven success that will help keep our brave men and women in uniform safe while supporting Michigan’s economy.”

“Having a national institute such as LIFT in the heart of Detroit continues the manufacturing legacy of our great city and is positioned to help educate future innovators and pass that legacy onto generations to come,” said U.S. Rep. Brenda Lawrence.

”We look forward to the next six years of LIFT and continuing to grow our ecosystem and, in turn, the impact that we together have on the U.S. manufacturing industrial base,” Francis added.