Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center Awarded Federal Funding to Join LIFT in Accelerating the Manufacturing of Lightweight Metals

PLYMOUTH, MI – The Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center (The Center) has been awarded $1.2 million over two years from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP) program for a pilot program to accelerate applied research/development, manufacturing and technology transition to the market of lightweight metals. The announcement was made by Michael Coast, President of The Center.

The goal of the project is to establish enduring collaborations among small U.S. manufacturers, the Manufacturing USA Institutes and MEP centers. The Center will partner with LIFT – Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow , to advance lightweight metals initiatives including:

  • Developing innovative approaches for transferring new lightweighting technology from LIFT to small U.S. manufacturers;
  • Creating approaches for engaging small manufacturers in the work of the network of institutes through hands-on assistance and services;
  • Building and testing business models by which MEP centers and institutes may effectively serve the needs of U.S. manufacturers in the technology areas of the institutes, and facilitate knowledge and best practice sharing; and
  • Fostering an enhanced nationwide network of partnerships among the institutes and MEP centers.

Gregg Peterson, The Center’s lightweight materials expert, will work on-site at LIFT’s Detroit headquarters as a Principle Materials Engineer. Peterson will advise manufacturers about the important benefits lightweight materials have within the industry and provide assistance during the manufacturing transition and implementation. With nearly four decades of experience, Gregg’s expertise includes ferrous and non-ferrous body and structure design, aerodynamics, software controls, manufacturing/processing, and electrical power generation.

“Both market demand and regulatory rules favor more use of lightweight materials, particularly in the transportation sector,” said Coast. “This grant affords The Center with a valuable opportunity to propel lightweighting innovation.

“Our partnership with LIFT will positively impact manufacturing on a global scale and further strengthen our expertise across the manufacturing landscape.” Coast adds, “We also are pleased to be a conduit to other MEP centers who have clients that need access to this lightweight knowledge.”

LIFT bridges the gap between basic research and final product commercialization of new, advanced, lightweight metal materials. Its work enables technologies that will allow small to mid-sized manufacturers to produce cost-effective lightweight components for the defense, aerospace, automotive, marine and heavy truck industries.

“LIFT is helping to lead the nation in lightweight technology development,” said Lawrence E. Brown, Executive Director of LIFT. “Together with The Center, we will accelerate cutting-edge manufacturing transition by reimagining processes and procedures. Technology transition is central to LIFT’s strategy, and it is the pivotal point that led LIFT and The Center to collaborate over the next two years.”

Celebrating its 25th anniversary, the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center is an organization dedicated to supporting Michigan manufacturers to work smarter, to compete and to prosper. The Center offers personalized consulting services to meet the needs of clients in virtually every aspect of their businesses. The Center is affiliated with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and is part of the Hollings Manufacturing Extension Partnership (MEP Program). The Center also is closely affiliated with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) with the shared goal of making Michigan businesses vibrant, driving GDP growth and creating new and lasting jobs. For more information, visit

LIFT is a Detroit-based, public-private partnership committed to the development and deployment of advanced lightweight metal manufacturing technologies, and implementing education and training initiatives to better prepare the workforce today and in the future. LIFT is one of the founding institutes of Manufacturing USA, and is funded in part by the Department of Defense with management through the Office of Naval Research. As a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, NIST promotes U.S. innovation and industrial competitiveness by advancing measurement science, standards and technology in ways that enhance economic security and improve our quality of life.

Manufacturing USA consists of multiple linked Manufacturing Innovation Institutes. Each has a unique technological concentration, but is also designed to accelerate U.S. advanced manufacturing as a whole. As nodes in Manufacturing USA network, the institutes complement each other’s capabilities and benefit from shared approaches to matters such as intellectual property, contract research, and performance metrics. Each provides 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 workforce skills. The network is designed to foster innovation and deliver new capabilities that can stimulate the manufacturing sector on a large scale.