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Volkswagen Group of America joins LIFT for automotive light-weighting research; first automotive OEM member

Volkswagen Group of America, Inc. (VWGoA) has officially joined the LIFT (Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow) institute as a Silver Member to advance the group’s research into lightweight metals, therefore reducing the weight of future vehicles. The group comprises Volkswagen, Audi, Bentley, Lamborghini and Bugatti; VWGoA is the first automotive OEM to join the Detroit-based Manufacturing USA institute.

Among the areas the group is interested in working on are researching how internal components can be made lighter while improving performance and power for the vehicle while reducing manufacturing costs.

Light-weighting is critical for the future of our vehicles, not only to improve on fuel economy, but also to help improve vehicle performance. The innovative research being done and the network of industry and academic experts available at LIFT were keys drivers in our decision to join.

—Dr. Hagen Seifert, Head of Materials, Audi AG

LIFT, operated by the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII), is an industry-led, government funded consortium focused on applied development for lightweight metal alloy production and component/subsystem manufacturing technologies.

ALMMII was founded by Ohio-based manufacturing technology non-profit EWI, the University of Michigan, and The Ohio State University. On 25 February 2014, following a competitive process led by the US Department of Defense under the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation (LM3I) solicitation issued by the US Navy’s Office of Naval Research, ALMMII was selected to operate the LM3I program—now known as LIFT.

The LIFT consortia is regional in nature, but serves the entire nation by involving more than 200 companies, universities, non-profit research institutions, and workforce development intermediaries nationwide.

The Institute’s mission is to serve US manufacturing by acting as the bridge between basic research and final product commercialization of new, advanced lightweight materials and innovative manufacturing technologies and practices. This enables the development of cost effective lightweight components for the defense, aerospace, automotive, sea and over-the-road truck industries. LIFT’s efforts span the entire transportation supply chain from conception through design, development, and production.

Key areas of focus (called “Pillars”) include:

  • Joining and assembly;
  • Coatings;
  • Novel/agile processing;
  • Thermo-mechanical processing;
  • Powder processing; and
  • Melt processing.

We are thrilled to have VWGoA, along with their other high performing brands on the market, join LIFT. Bringing an automotive OEM into membership alongside our present auto suppliers and industry OEMs members creates an enhanced robust ecosystem, allowing participants from across industries to work together and learn from each other.

—Lawrence Brown, executive director, LIFT

LIFT’s scope of activity includes more than $100 million in technology projects undertaken by its industry and university partners.

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