Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Friday, June 24, 2011

Coleman joins President Obama's newly launched Advanced Manufacturing Partnership

Responding to President Obama's call to action, U-M President Mary Sue Coleman joins representatives from five other universities as part of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, a national effort bringing together industry, universities and the federal government.

The goal of the new AMP is to invest in the emerging technologies that will create high quality manufacturing jobs and enhance the United States' global competitiveness. The announcement was scheduled for 11 a.m. this morning at Carnegie Mellon University. Watch a live webstream at


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As part of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, Obama announced his plan, which leverages existing programs and proposals, to invest more than $500 million to jumpstart this effort. Investments will be made in the following key areas: building domestic manufacturing capabilities in critical national security industries; reducing the time needed to make advanced materials used in manufacturing products; establishing U.S. leadership in next-generation robotics; increasing the energy efficiency of manufacturing processes; and developing new technologies that will dramatically reduce the time required to design, build, and test manufactured goods.

"This initiative matters more to Michigan than any other state," Coleman said. "We are at ground zero for losses in manufacturing jobs. But we also are better positioned to be the epicenter of manufacturing innovation. We know how to retool."

Coleman noted that small companies are the backbone of large manufacturers. "We must support small and medium-sized firms and the prototypes they develop. Their technologies and tools are the foundation of large manufacturing companies. We are losing valuable technologies because of a funding chasm between innovative ideas and small manufacturing companies being financially positioned to build to scale. Gap funding can address this gulf."

Leading universities and companies will complement these federal efforts helping to invent, deploy and scale these cutting-edge technologies.

U-M's College of Engineering (CoE) already is actively working with industry on advanced manufacturing research. For example, faculty and students at the GM/U-M Collaborative Research Lab in Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing worked closely with GM researchers and engineers to develop and implement an advanced quality monitoring system to help guarantee that the lithium-ion battery assembly used in the Chevrolet Volt meets exceptional quality standards.

The system allows team members manufacturing the battery packs at GM's Brownstown battery plant to monitor the integrity of the battery assembly under process conditions, thus ensuring high-quality battery performance on the road.

Jack Hu, U-M co-director of the General Motors Collaborative Research Laboratory on Advanced Vehicle Manufacturing said, "Manufacturing is vital to America's economic competitiveness, national security and quality of life. We are proud that U-M is part of this partnership, which demonstrates our leadership in manufacturing education and research."

Hu, a professor in the departments of Mechanical Engineering and Industrial and Operations Engineering, is associate dean for academic affairs at CoE and the G. Lawton and Louise G. Johnson Professor of Engineering. He also is to be present at this launch.

U-M and GM also are partners in manufacturing education, delivering the Master of Engineering in Global Automotive and Manufacturing Engineering to employees in various GM sites around the globe.

The AMP is being developed based on the recommendation of the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST), which released a report titled "Ensuring American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing." The PCAST report calls for a partnership between government, industry, and academia to identify the most pressing challenges and transformative opportunities to improve the technologies, processes and products across multiple manufacturing industries.

The AMP will be led by Andrew Liveris, chairman, president, and CEO of Dow Chemical, and Susan Hockfield, president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Working closely with the White House's National Economic Council, Office of Science and Technology Policy and the PCAST, AMP will bring together a broad cross-section of major U.S. manufacturers and top U.S. engineering universities.

In addition to U-M, the universities initially involved in the AMP will be the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University and the University of California-Berkeley. The manufacturers initially involved in the AMP will be Allegheny Technologies, Caterpillar, Corning, Dow Chemical, Ford, Honeywell, Intel, Johnson and Johnson, Northrop Grumman, Procter and Gamble, and Stryker. 

The U.S. government has had a long history of partnership with companies and universities in developing and commercializing the new technologies that have been the foundation of our economic success — from the telephone, to the microwave, to the jet engine, to the Internet. The AMP will provide the platform for similar breakthroughs in the next decade, by building a roadmap for advanced manufacturing technologies, speeding ideas from the drawing board to the manufacturing floor, scaling-up first-of-a-kind technologies, and developing the infrastructure and shared facilities to allow small and mid-sized manufacturers to innovate and compete.

Major commitments to advanced manufacturing being made today

To launch the AMP, Obama announced key steps being taken by the federal government:

• Building domestic manufacturing capabilities in critical national security industries: Starting this summer, the U.S. departments of Defense, Homeland Security, Energy, Agriculture, Commerce and other agencies will coordinate a governmentwide effort to leverage their existing funds and future budgets, with an initial goal of $300 million, to co-invest with industry in innovative technologies that will jumpstart domestic manufacturing capability essential to our national security and promote the long-term economic viability of critical U.S. industries. Initial investments include small high-powered batteries, advanced composites, metal fabrication, bio-manufacturing, and alternative energy, among others. 

• Reducing the time to develop and deploy advanced materials: The Materials Genome Initiative, would invest more than $100 million in research, training and infrastructure to enable U.S. companies to discover, develop, manufacture and deploy advanced materials at twice the speed than is possible today, at a fraction of the cost. In much the same way that advances in silicon technology helped create the modern information technology industry, advanced materials will fuel emerging multibillion-dollar industries aimed at addressing challenges in manufacturing, clean energy, and national security.

• Investing in next-generation robotics: The National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, National Institutes of Health and the Department of Agriculture are coming together to make available today $70 million to support research in next generation robots. These investments will help create the next generation of robots that will work closely with human operators — allowing new ability for factory workers, health care providers, soldiers, surgeons and astronauts to carry out key hard-to-do tasks. 

• Developing innovative energy-efficient manufacturing processes: The Department of Energy will launch an effort to leverage their existing funds and future budgets, with initial goal of $120 million to develop innovative manufacturing processes and materials to enable companies to cut the costs of manufacturing, while using less energy.

Additional complementary steps as part of AMP will include:

• Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency exploration of new approaches that have potential to dramatically reduce — by up to a factor of five — the time required to design, build, and test manufactured goods while enabling entrepreneurs to meet Defense Department needs.

• Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, Georgia Institute of Technology, Stanford University, University of California-Berkeley, and U-M commitment to form a multi-university collaborative framework for sharing of educational materials and best practices relating to advanced manufacturing and its linkage to innovation. The universities will also join together with industry partners and leading government agencies to define research opportunities and build a collaborative roadmap for identify key technology priorities.

• Commerce Department development of an advanced manufacturing technology consortium, starting with $12 million in fiscal year 2012, to identify public private partnerships to tackle common technological barriers to the development of new products.

• Proctor & Gamble announcement that it will make available advanced software at no cost to American small and mid-sized manufacturers through the recently launched Midwest Modeling and Simulation consortium. This is a highly valuable digital design tool usually unavailable to smaller firms.

• Department of Energy launch of an initiative with the Ford Motor Co. and the National Association of Manufacturers to make use of the Department's National Training & Education Resource to educate and train a new generation of manufacturers.

• Defense Department investments, funded at $24 million in FY '11, in domestic manufacturing technology that address urgent operational needs including improvements for transparent armor, stealth technology, and targeting systems. The department also is developing an online marketplace to increase domestic manufacturing capacity in industries critical to our national security by connecting U.S. manufacturers with product needs at the department and other federal agencies.