ME professor headed to White House for announcement on manufacturing institute

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February 24, 2014

Farhang Pourboghrat, professor of Mechanical Engineering, will be at the White House in Washington, D.C., Feb. 25 when President Barack Obama announces that the Detroit area is getting a $148 million Department of Defense advanced manufacturing institute concentrating on lightweight and modern metals manufacturing.Farhang Pourboghrat will represent the MSU College of Engineering during an announcement by President Obama on an advanced manufacturing institute coming to Michigan.

The president's announcement will be 3:05 p.m. at the White House Tuesday. The event will be live streamed at

CBS Detroit reported that Michigan’s winning bid came from a Detroit-area consortium of businesses and universities, led by the Columbus, Ohio-based manufacturing technology nonprofit EWI. The Chicago area was also awarded a manufacturing center that will concentrate on digital manufacturing and design technologies.

The Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation – or LM3I – Institute will be based in Detroit's Corktown neighborhood. It will receive $70 million in federal funding over five years, matched by another $78 million from the consortium partners. The funding includes $10 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corp. and additional dollars from the state of Ohio.

University partners that will participate in the center are Michigan State University, the Colorado School of Mines, Michigan Technological University, Ohio State University, University of Kentucky, University of Michigan, University of Notre Dame, University of Tennessee and Wayne State University.

Among the 34 corporate partners are ABS, AEM, Alcoa Technology, Boeing, Comau, Easom Automation, EWI, Fabrisonic, Flash Bainite Steel, GE, Honda North American Services, Huys, Infinium Inc., Innovative Weld Solutions, ITW, Lockheed Martin, Luvata, Materion, MesoCoat, MTI, NanoSteel Co., Optomec, Phoenix Integration, PowderMet, RealWeld, RTI International Metals, SaCell, Southwest Research Institute, Steel Warehouse Co., ThermoCalc, Timet, Trumpf Inc., UTRC and Wolf Robotics.

Organizational partners are the American Foundry Society, American Welding Society, ASM International, the Center for Automotive Research, Columbus State Community College, Conexus Indiana, Det Norske Veritas, Focus: Hope, International Association of Machinists & Aerospace Workers, Ivy Tech, Macomb Community College, Magnet, Pellissippi State Community College, the states of Kentucky, Michigan and Ohio, and the Southeast Michigan Workforce Intelligence Network.

The institute is expected to bring 10,000 jobs to the region within the next five years.

The Obama administration is proposing a national network of up to 45 manufacturing innovation institutes, which will require legislation from Congress.