A consortium from across the US have partnered with the Department of Energy to create the $259m IACMI composite materials hub in Knoxville, Tennessee.
Last Friday, President Obama announced the launch of the Institute for Advance Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI); the fifth named institute of the President’s National Network for Manufacturing Innovation which are aimed at boosting advanced manufacturing, fostering US innovation, and attracting well-paying jobs that will strengthen the middle class.
A statement from the White House said: ‘After a decade of decline, American manufacturing is coming back, adding 786,000 new jobs since February 2010. Today’s new action is the kind of investment we need to build on this progress, creating the foundation needed for American manufacturing growth and competitiveness in the years to come.’
The Department of Energy and the consortium, which includes companies such as Dassault Systemes, Dow Chemical, Ford, GE, Honda and many more, and led by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville will invest more than $250m – $70m in federal funds and more than $180m in non-federal funds – to launch the IACMI.
“This project places the university and its partners in a unique position to strengthen Tennessee’s economy,” said University of Tennessee Chancellor Jimmy G. Cheek. “We are very honored to have been selected for this role in shaping the future of composites manufacturing through IACMI. This will build upon our deep collaborations with our consortium partners and spark innovation and growth within our nation’s industries.”
IACMI has received a $15m commitment from the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development as part of an effort to facilitate breakthroughs in manufacturing and materials.
In total 122 organisations make up the consortium which is made up of 57 companies, 15 universities, 14 other entities and 36 members.
The IACMI will focus on cutting-edge research on advanced composites – such as carbon fiber – materials that are three times as strong and twice as light as the lightest metals.
The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation will work to develop lower-cost, higher-speed, and more efficient manufacturing and recycling processes for advanced composites.
The new manufacturing innovation institute, builds on the early successes of the first manufacturing innovation institute, America Makes in Youngstown, Ohio.
America Makes is focused on reducing the cost of 3D printing, connecting small businesses with new opportunities, and training American workers to master these sophisticated technologies. Only in its third year of operations, the institute has research underway that will help accelerate the speed of 3D printing in metals by a factor of ten, is partnering to provide over 1,000 schools with access to 3D printers, and has launched new workforce training programs that have trained over 7,000 workers in the fundamentals of 3D printing.