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New Innovation Hub Aims To Slash Composite Materials Production Costs by 50%

Posted By Paul Tate, January 13, 2015 at 5:25 AM, in Category: Factories of the Future

The Obama Administration launched its latest U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Hub last week focusing on the development and production costs of next-generation composite materials.

The Knoxville based center, to be known as the Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Advanced Composites (MIIAC), comprises a consortium of 122 companies, nonprofit organizations, universities and research laboratories, led by the University of Tennessee-Knoxville and backed by the Department of Energy.

The MIIAC will invest more than $250 million from federal and commercial funds on research into the development of new advanced composite materials such as light, strong, fiber-reinforced polymer composites, currently used mostly in high-value products such as aircraft, satellites and luxury cars.

The hub will also work on developing lower-cost, higher-speed, and more efficient manufacturing and recycling processes for advanced composite materials.

The consortium’s stated aim is to bring the overall manufacturing costs down by up to 50 percent, reduce the energy used to make composites by 75 percent, and increase their recyclability to over 95 percent within the next decade.

Such advances are hoped to make new composite materials more affordable for use in a broader range of other applications such as lightweight, fuel-efficient vehicles, and lighter, more efficient industrial equipment.

Among the consortium partners are Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Dow Chemical, DuPont, BASF, GE, Ford, Volkswagen and Honda.


Written by Paul Tate

Paul Tate is Research Director and Executive Editor with Frost & Sullivan's Manufacturing Leadership Council. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Council's Board of Governors, the Council's annual Critical Issues Agenda, and the Manufacturing Leadership Research Panel. Follow us on Twitter: @MfgExecutive


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