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New Manufacturing Innovation Hub in Knoxville, Tennessee Announced

The Department of Energy and a Knoxville-area based consortium of 122 companies, nonprofits, and universities led by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville will invest more than $250 million - $70 million in federal funds and more than $180 million in non-federal funds – to launch a Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Advanced Composites focused on U.S. leadership in next-generation composite materials.

This announcement came last week as the latest in a series of partnerships aimed at boosting advanced manufacturing, fostering American innovation, and attracting well-paying jobs that will strengthen the middle class. After a difficult decade, American manufacturing has added 786,000 new jobs since February 2010.  This new action is the kind of investment that should help build on the recent progress, creating the foundation needed for American manufacturing growth and competitiveness in the years to come.

national-network-for-manufacturing-innovationThis announcement comes from bipartisan legislation in Congress that takes a significant step toward creating a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation to strengthen the resurgence of American manufacturing and help to create new, 21st century job opportunities for American workers in high-demand sectors.

The Institute is the fifth in the network of innovation hubs created under the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). The Institute will focus on lowering the cost of advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composite materials 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.

Background on the Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation Institute:

The new institute the Department of Energy is awarding 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.

  • Advanced fiber-reinforced polymer composites, which combine strong fibers with tough plastics, are lighter and stronger than steel. Advanced composites are currently used for expensive applications like satellites and luxury cars.
  • 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.
  • Advanced composites are especially important for progressing clean energy generation and improving the efficiency of the nation’s fleet.
  • In the wind energy industry, advances in low-cost composite materials will help manufacturers build longer, lighter and stronger blades to create more energy.
  • By doubling the length of a turbine blade these materials can help quadruple the amount of electricity generated.
  • In automotive applications, advanced composites could reduce the weight of a passenger car by 50 percent and improve its fuel efficiency by roughly 35 percent without compromising performance or safety – helping to save American families more than $5,000 in fuel costs over the car’s lifetime.
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 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 Institute has assembled a world-class team of organizations from across the industry, including leading manufacturers, material suppliers and software developers, government and academia, with both broad and deep experience in all aspects of the advanced composite product development process from design and prototyping to manufacturing at commercial scale.
  • The new institute pairs leading carbon fiber producers and suppliers – like Materials Innovation Technologies, Harper International, and Strongwell – with key end users like TPI for wind turbines and Ford for automobiles.
  • The new hub will also unite these manufacturers with top-flight research universities, such as the University of Tennessee with its pioneering 3D printed carbon fiber research, and the University of Kentucky with the largest U.S. open-access carbon-fiber chemistry laboratory.
  • The combined resources and expertise of the team will provide a leap forward in composite manufacturing and further enhance U.S. competitiveness in clean energy as the team cultivates additional new partnerships. 
Manufacturing Innovation Hub

The winning team, led by the University of Tennessee at Knoxville, has established a new not-for-profit organization headquartered in Knoxville, TN and includes the following 86 key partners and 36 additional consortia members:

57 Companies:

A&P Technology, Inc.; Adherent Technologies, Inc.; Altair; Ashland Performance Materials; Assembly Guidance Systems, Inc.; BASF Company; Boeing Company; Celanese International; Continental Structural Plastics; Convergent Manufacturing Technologies; Cytec Engineered Materials; Dassault Systemes Americas Corp.; Dow Chemical Company; DowAksa; DuPont; ESI North America; Evonik Corporation; Faurecia US Holdings; Fives; Ford Motor Company; GE Water & Power; Graco Inc.; GrafTech International; Heil Trailer International; Herty Advanced Materials Development Center; Hills, Inc.; Honda R&D Americas, Inc.; Huntsman Polyurethanes; IN3 Applications; Johns Manville; LayStitch Technologies; LM Wind Power; Local Motors; Lockheed Martin; Materials Innovation Technologies; McWhinney Real Estate Services; Michelman Inc.; Milacron Plastics Technologies Group; Momentive; North Coast Tool & Mold Corp.; Owens Corning; Phoenix Integration; PolyNEW, Inc.; PolyOne Corporation; PPG Industries, Inc.; SABIC Innovative Plastics US; SAERTEX USA, LLC; Strongwell Inc.; Thogus Products Company; Toray Composites (America), Inc.; TPI Composites, Inc.; Vestas Americas; Volkswagen; Wetzel Engineering; Williams, White & Company; Wolf Robotics, LLC; and Xperion

15 Universities and Laboratories

The University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Colorado School of Mines; Colorado State University; Iowa State University; Michigan State University; Mississippi State University; National Renewable Energy Laboratory; Oak Ridge National Laboratory; Purdue University; The Ohio State University; University of Colorado-Boulder; University of Dayton Research Institute; University of Kentucky; University of Michigan; and Vanderbilt University

14 Other Entities: 

Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation (IACMI); Abaris Training Resources, Inc.; American Chemical Council; National Composites Center; Oak Ridge Carbon Fiber Composites Consortium; Polymer Ohio, Inc.; Southern Research Institute; Colorado Office of Economic Development & International Trade; Indiana Economic Development Corporation; Michigan Economic and Community Development; Ohio Development Services Agency; State of Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development; State of Tennessee; and University of Tennessee Research Foundation\

36 Consortia Members: 

Alcoa Inc.; 3M Company; BioCycle, LLC; Braskem America; BST Nano Carbon; Chomarat North America; Cincinnati Incorporated; Concordia Fibers; Eaton Corporation; EWI; Fiber-Tech Industries, Inc.; FibrTech; Global Wind Network (GLWN); Harper International; Hexagon Lincoln; Ingersoll Machine Tools; Interlaken Technology; International Fibers, Ltd.; Johnson Controls, Inc; Koppers; Materia, Inc.; Mentis Sciences, Inc; Michigan Molecular Institute; Nexgen Composites; NONA Composites, LLC; Oerlikon Metco; OshKosh Corporation; Plasan Carbon Composites; PlastiComp; Quickstep Composites, LLC; Rocky Mountain Institute; The Magni Group; Techmer ES;  Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America, Inc.; United Technologies Research Center; and XG Sciences

We look forward to the future with such a powerhouse of companies working together to focus on manufacturing.

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