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LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow

LIFT: Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow

Manufacturing USA

LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow

LIFT is part of a national network of research institutions and industrial companies geared toward advancing America’s leadership in manufacturing technology. The center will speed development of new lightweight metal manufacturing processes from laboratories to factories for products using lightweight metal, including aluminum, magnesium, titanium and advanced high-strength steel alloys. An equally important mission is to facilitate the training of the workers who will use these new processes in factories and maintenance facilitates around the country.

What is Manufacturing USA?

Manufacturing USA is an initiative focused on coordinating public and private investment in emerging advanced manufacturing technologies.  Manufacturing USA brings together industry, academia, and government partners to leverage existing resources, collaborate, and co-invest to advance manufacturing innovation and accelerate commercialization. This network creates a competitive, effective, and sustainable research-to-manufacturing infrastructure for U.S. industry and academia. The network consists of multiple linked Manufacturing Innovation Institutes (MIIs) with common goals but unique technological concentrations.

Each institute accelerates U.S. advanced manufacturing by catalyzing the development of new technologies, educational competencies, production processes, and products via shared contributions from the public and private sectors and academia. The institutes provide shared facilities to local start-ups and small manufacturers to help them scale up new technologies, accelerate technology transfer to the marketplace, and facilitate the adoption of innovation developments across supply chains. Each institute acts as a ‘teaching factory’ to build workforce skills at multiple levels and to strengthen business capabilities in large and small companies.

Individual institutes serve as technology hubs, benefiting both regional and national interests. By bridging the gap between applied research and product development with a focus on key technology areas, the institutes encourage even further investment and production in their region and across the United States.  As part of Manufacturing USA, the institutes complement each other’s capabilities and benefit from shared approaches to matters such as intellectual property, contract research, and performance metrics.  While the institutes each carry a particular regional focus, the network is truly national, integrated, and dynamic, aiming to foster innovation and deliver new capabilities that can stimulate the U.S. manufacturing sector on a large scale.

Who is in charge of Manufacturing USA?

The Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO) is charged with convening the network of institutes, as passed in the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2014. The AMNPO is staffed by representatives from federal agencies with manufacturing-related missions as well as fellows from manufacturing companies and universities. The office includes NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the departments of Commerce, Defense, Education, and Energy. By coordinating federal resources and programs, the AMNPO will enhance technology transfer in U.S. manufacturing industries and help companies overcome technical obstacles to scaling up production of new technologies.

Who is in charge of each institute?

Currently, the Department of Defense (DoD) and Department of Energy (DOE) are each leading institutes on behalf of the US Government, and additional lead agencies may be announced in the future.

The DoD, through the OSD ManTech program in the office of Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy (MIBP) is currently leading three of the five established institutes found here (link to summary page). There are three additional DoD-led institutes currently in the competition process. Selecting Additive Manufacturing as its first technology focus area, in May 2012, the DoD, through a full and open competition, awarded the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, now call America Makes. Due to the success of this initial pilot institute, the vision for the Manufacturing USA has increased dramatically. Besides providing federal funding, the DoD incorporates lessons learned by previous institute cycles, identifies a lead service for each institute, assembles technical teams, and provides the acquisition strategy to support cooperative agreement.

The DOE is leading two of the five established institutes, and is in the competition process for one additional topic. Although very similar in nature to DoD institutes, the DOE institutes have a focus on clean energy.

Other Institutes

America Makes – The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute

America Makes focuses on helping the United States grow capabilities and strength in 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing. America Makes facilitates collaboration among leaders from business, academia, nonprofit organizations and government agencies, focusing on areas that include design, materials, technology and workforce and help our nation’s three-dimensional (3D) printing industry become more globally competitive.
DMDII – Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute

The Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, a federally-funded research and development organization, encourages factories across America to deploy digital manufacturing and design technologies, so those factories can become more efficient and cost-competitive.


PowerAmerica – The Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute

The mission of PowerAmerica is to develop advanced manufacturing processes that will enable large-scale production of wide bandgap (WBG) semiconductors, which allow electronic components to be smaller, faster and more efficient than semiconductors made from silicon. WBG semiconductor technology has the potential to reshape the American energy economy by increasing efficiency in everything that uses a semiconductor, from industrial motors and household appliances to military satellites.
IACMI – The Institute of Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation

Advanced composites are currently used for expensive applications like satellites and luxury cars. Researchers at IACMI will work to develop lower-cost, higher-speed, and more efficient manufacturing and recycling processes for them. Bringing these materials down the cost curve can enable their use for a broader range of products including lightweight vehicles with record-breaking fuel economy; lighter and longer wind turbine blades; high pressure tanks for natural gas-fueled cars; and lighter, more efficient industrial equipment. The Institute will focus on lowering the overall manufacturing costs 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 the next decade.





The American Institute for Manufacturing Integrated Photonics

AIM Photonics seeks to advance integrated photonic circuit manufacturing technology development while simultaneously providing access to state-of-the-art fabrication, packaging, and testing capabilities for small-to-medium enterprises, academia and the government; create an adaptive integrated photonic circuit workforce capable of meeting industry needs and thus further increasing domestic competitiveness; and meet participating commercial, defense and civilian agency needs in this burgeoning technology area.


FHEMII – Flexible Hybrid Electronics

The FHE MII will pioneer a new era of advanced Flexible Hybrid Electronics manufacturing in the U.S. by: catalyzing a U.S. FHE ecosystem, providing new manufacturing capability to the Department of Defense and industry partners, developing multiple product demonstrators, educating and training professionals and technicians, and exploiting the Silicon Valley’s innovation culture.


Advanced Functional Fabrics of America

AFFOA’s mission is to enable a manufacturing-based revolution by transforming traditional fibers, yarns, and fabrics into highly sophisticated, integrated and networked devices and systems.