The Lightweight Innovations for Tomorrow (LIFT) industrial research program has extended its lease at the 100,000-sq.ft. operation in Detroit where it has operated since 2015. LIFT is operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII), and has drawn more than $100 million of federal support and matching industry funding to support its research into materials and manufacturing technologies with a focus on the transportation sector.
Multiple metalcasting technologies have been taken up by LIFT and its industrial research partners, including its first project which developed thin-wall iron castings for automotive transmission cases. Later it investigated vacuum-aided aluminum diecasting for aerospace and automotive structures; and it initiated research into the formation of aluminum-lithium alloys. Subsequently, LIFT and its partners worked to scale-up a process for producing aluminum-based nanocomposite material and to develop process technologies for cast products with improved performance of large, single-piece cast products with stiffness and fatigue strength.
An ongoing LIFT project involving metalcaster Eck Industries, Manitowoc, WI, is exploring the use of ductile magnesium-based alloys for extrusions, for automotive, defense and consumer applications.
LIFT also recently supplied a tilt-pour casting machine to Michigan Technological University, to be used in academic and research programs at MTU’s Dept. of Materials Science and Engineering foundry.
LIFT was established in 2014 by the U.S. Department of Defense in collaboration with the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC), University of Michigan, The Ohio State University, and EWI, and started at its current location in 2015. It will remain there until February 2025, at least, it said.
Since 2015, LIFT has hosted numerous meetings and events, and more than 4,700 visitors over the past year.
Originally chartered under a five-year agreement through the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) and managed through the Office of Naval Research (ONR), LIFT has had more than $100 million of federal support, and matched this dollar-for-dollar with industry funding to support its national mandate.