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Frank Kendall: Pentagon Seeks Metal, Alloy Innovation Through Manufacturing Partnerships

frank kendall
Frank Kendall

The Defense Department will head two new manufacturing innovation partnerships with businesses and universities under close to $460 million in federal and private-sector funding, according to a Tuesday White House announcement.

One Detroit-based institute will concentrate on lightweight and modern metals manufacturinga, while another Chicago-based institute will focus on digital manufacturing and design technologies.

The EWI-led Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or LM3I, will comprise of 60 aluminum, titanium and steel manufacturers.

The UI Labs-led Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, or DMDI, has 70 members that will work to integrate digital tools in product development.

“[LM3I] represents a potent new capability in the application of high-performing metals and alloys toward forward-looking commercial and military products benefitting a multitude of industries,” said Frank Kendall, undersecretary of defense for acquisition, technology and logistics.

“[DMDI] will push technology development into a new frontier, by harnessing the power of virtual reality to accurately test and prepare high-tech products before they even leave cyberspace,” he added.

These partnerships are intended to connect education and training with production and product development, encourage investment in key technologies and encourage industry innovation as members share assets among members.

Both institutes have a five-year period of performance, with the startup and initial operational phases supported by $70 million in federal funding for each group.

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