This week, President Obama made his much-anticipated announcement that the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute will soon open in Canton Township, Michigan. The township's supervisor was at the White House for the president's announcement of the research institute, which will receive $148 million in funding. The government will provide $70 million for the institute's work over five years, while the members of the consortium will contribute $78 million.
The goal of the consortium is to make innovations in lightweight alloys and metals and use them in industries like auto making and aircraft manufacturing. Those involved with the institute hope to eventually create an expanded market for these materials.
President Obama stressed that he wants America to continue on the path back to leading the world in advanced manufacturing innovations. He noted that Detroit has already played an important role in that trend.
Experts in metals manufacturing as well as local leaders say that these lightweight materials that will be developed via this project are going to play a significant role in enabling the cars of the future to meet changing fuel economy standards, and play a role in other industries as well. County Executive Robert Ficano of Wayne County notes, "The R&D that comes from the consortium will help create the materials and manufacturing blueprint for the cars, trucks, airplanes and ships of tomorrow."
The institute, which may open as early as this spring, will continue and expand on work already being done at the University of Michigan to try to shorten the time it takes to develop new materials and get them into commercial use.
The consortium of some 60 businesses, universities and non-profit organizations includes companies that the White House says are leaders the manufacturing of high-strength steel, titanium and aluminum. Some of Michigan's leading institutes of higher learning, including Wayne State University and Michigan State University, in addition to UM. A UM engineering professor will be the chief technology officer.
This institute will be able to benefit not only the Detroit auto industry and our research community, but other Michigan-based companies. Companies that expand their business lines due to new materials and technologies can benefit from partnering with experienced legal professionals who can help ensure that they do not run afoul of laws or government regulations amid their business planning for expansion and/or diversification. This can help them more easily and profitably grow their business.
Source: Crain’s Detroit Business, "Obama details plans for Canton-based modern metals institute" Chris Gautz, Feb. 26, 2014