President Obama announces CU-Boulder will be a partner in digital manufacturing institute

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February 25, 2014 • •

Press release from the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade:

President Barack Obama today announced the state of Colorado and the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) will receive funding from the Department of Defense's institutes for manufacturing innovation. OEDIT partnered with the Colorado School of Mines and with the University of Colorado Boulder on programs to support innovation and collaboration in Colorado's advanced manufacturing industries.

OEDIT partnered with the Colorado School of Mines on the Lightweight Modern Metals Manufacturing Institute (LM3I) and with the University of Colorado Boulder for the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDI).

"These new advanced manufacturing sites will leverage our existing efforts in innovation and technology such as the Colorado Innovation Network and the Advanced Industries Accelerator Act to put Colorado at the forefront of advanced manufacturing," said Ken Lund, director of OEDIT. "These technology hubs will help small and medium sized businesses to increase productivity, develop new products, strengthen the state's supply chain, grow exports and build a trained workforce. We thank our federal, state and private partners for helping Colorado to join the national advanced industries hubs."

The Colorado School of Mines will serve as one of four core facilities in the newly formed American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Institute (ALMMII) for the LM3I project. ALMMII will be headquartered in Michigan and led by Columbus, Ohio-based EWI, University of Michigan and The Ohio State University. ALMMII will expand the market for and create new consumers of products and systems to utilize new, lightweight, high performing metals and alloys--titanium, aluminum and high-strength steels--by removing technological barriers in manufacturing.

Colorado School of Mines will develop thermomechanical process improvements and technologies, which will have broad application to Colorado's key industries such as military and defense, aerospace, energy and natural resources, advanced manufacturing, infrastructure engineering and transportation and logistics.

"This outstanding partnership will not only bring about real improvements in the creation of advanced, lightweight, high-strength materials, but will drive critical innovation and collaboration between industry and academia which is a hallmark of research at Mines" said John Poate, vice president for research and technology transfer at Colorado School of Mines. 

The University of Colorado Boulder and OEDIT will partner in the UI Labs/Digital Manufacturing Lab proposal for the DMDI in Chicago. CU-Boulder will establish a research center on cyber physical systems to enable a radical new way to manufacture advanced products through the synthesis of embedded sensing, data analytics, numerical simulation and control. CU-Boulder researchers also will help the digital manufacturing sector address future cybersecurity concerns. The work, which builds on CU-Boulder's renowned computer science and engineering programs, will be funded with $6.2 million over five years, half of which is being requested from the Department of Defense through the DMDI.

"We're excited that CU-Boulder will be able to lend its expertise in the emerging field of cyber physical systems to help reinvigorate U.S. manufacturing through this tremendous partnership," said Stein Sture, CU-Boulder's vice chancellor for research. "By working with Digital Lab, we have an opportunity to bring our cutting-edge research in the engineering sciences out of the lab and into the manufacturing sector, where it can help bolster the U.S. economy."

OEDIT is focused on the implementation of an advanced industries strategy, which promotes public-private collaboration, accelerates technology commercialization and adoption and increases advanced manufacturing activity in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West. The DMDI and LM3I align with OEDIT's commitment to support innovation and collaboration in Colorado's advanced industries.

OEDIT will provide $1 million per year for the next five years towards each of these institutes, which will be matched at least one to one by the federal government. These technology hubs will provide access for Colorado businesses to the expertise and technologies of each institute. Also, it will help educate and train institutions statewide to prepare a next-generation advanced manufacturing workforce in Colorado.

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