Detroit’s LIFT Extends Partnership with Department of Defense

LIFT, the Detroit-based national manufacturing innovation institute focused on manufacturing materials, processes, and systems, has extended its partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research.
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LIFT factory
The U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research has extended its partnership with LIFT. // Photo courtesy of LIFT

LIFT, the Detroit-based national manufacturing innovation institute focused on manufacturing materials, processes, and systems, has extended its partnership with the U.S. Department of Defense’s Office of Naval Research.

“As Michigan grows its defense footprint, it is critical that our state remains at the forefront of manufacturing innovation,” says U.S. Sen. Gary Peters, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “I am pleased that LIFT has extended its 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.”

The institute, which is operated by a public-private partnership between government, industry, and academia, develops technological and talent development advances in support of the U.S. manufacturing base and the department. Its mission also includes reducing 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,” says Nigel Francis, executive director and CEO of 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 (Return on Investment) is clear.”

Among the 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 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,” Stabenow says. “The institute is an important part of why Michigan is a leader in advanced manufacturing. I look forward to following LIFT’s growth and partnering with them on future efforts,” adds U.S. Sen. Debbie Stabenow

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