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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

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


AIM Photonics is working to accelerate the transition of integrated photonic solutions from innovation to manufacturing-ready deployment in systems spanning commercial and defense applications.

America Makes is a national accelerator and the nation’s leading collaborative partner for technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation in additive manufacturing and 3D printing.

The ARM Institute’s mission is to create and then deploy robotic technology by integrating the diverse collection of industry practices and institutional knowledge across many disciplines – sensor technologies, end-effector development, software and artificial intelligence, materials science, human and machine behavior modeling, and quality assurance – to realize the promises of a robust manufacturing innovation ecosystem.

ARMI’s mission is to make practical the large-scale manufacturing of engineered tissues and tissue-related technologies, to benefit existing industries and grow new ones.

Smart Manufacturing works to spur advances in smart sensors and digital process controls that can radically improve the efficiency of U.S. advanced manufacturing.

DMDII encourages factories across the United States to deploy digital manufacturing and design technologies, so those factories can become more efficient and cost-competitive.

IACMI is committed to accelerating development and adoption of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies for low-cost, energy-efficient manufacturing of advanced polymer composites for vehicles, wind turbines, and compressed gas storage.

NextFlex takes key steps toward furthering U.S. development and adoption of the flexible hybrid electronics that will revolutionize the way we live, work and play.

NIIMBL is working to enable more efficient and flexible manufacturing capabilities for existing and emerging biopharmaceutical products, and develop a world-leading biopharmaceutical manufacturing workforce.
PowerAmerica is accelerating the adoption of advanced semiconductor components made with silicon carbide and gallium nitride into a wide range of products and systems.

The RAPID Institute serves as an American manufacturing leader convening companies, universities, industrial research organizations and national laboratories to focus on new technologies that maximize processes at the molecular level to save energy with every chemical reaction—adding up to big savings on the manufacturing floor.

The REMADE Institute focuses on driving down the cost of technologies essential to reuse, recycle and remanufacture materials such as metals, fibers, polymers and electronic waste.