Source: Energy.gov | Paul Lester | February 1, 2016
As President Obama said during his final State of the Union Address, American manufacturing is surging with almost 900,000 new jobs created in the past six years. While that’s incredible progress, how do we take manufacturing to the next level? The answer could be found in the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).
The Institutes within this network are where businesses and government work together to commercialize and drive down the cost of advanced manufacturing technologies that make products and production processes better. There are now eight Institutes, each focusing on a specific technology, each overseen by different federal agencies. The Energy Department currently spearheads:
- The Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation led by University of Tennessee Knoxville — This Institute is accelerating development of state-of-the-art advanced composites such as carbon fiber materials that are three times as strong and twice as light as the lightest metals, taking clean energy technologies like wind turbines to new heights.
- Power America led by North Carolina State University — Power America is developing the next generation of advanced power electronics, which can make everything from electronic devices and industrial motors to electric vehicles and power grids more energy-efficient than ever.
- The upcoming Institute on Smart Manufacturing — This Institute will develop advanced technologies to slash deployment costs for sensors, controls, platforms, modeling and other smart manufacturing tech. The Energy Department will also establish up to two more advanced manufacturing Institutes this year.
These Institutes are on their way to making a big impact on American manufacturing. Here are three reasons why:
1. THEY’RE PROVIDING LEADERSHIP.
Each Institute bridges the gap between applied research and product development by connecting businesses, academic institutions and federal agencies all in one place to support key emerging technology areas that encourage investment and production right here in the United States.
2. THEY’RE PREPARING AMERICA’S WORKERS FOR THE MANUFACTURING JOBS OF TOMORROW.
The Institutes provide education opportunities and training to students and workers at all levels, all while sharing tools and equipment to help small businesses design, test and use new products and manufacturing processes.
3. THEY’RE POWERING INVESTMENTS IN ADVANCED MANUFACTURING.
The Institutes fuel technological innovations that benefit both the public and private sector. As such, each Institute is launched with a five-year commitment by the federal government with equal or greater investment by the private sector.
The NNMI will be even more important as the nation switches to cleaner forms of energy that slash carbon pollution. Go to Energy.gov/eere/amo for more on the Energy Department’s advanced manufacturing work, and check out Energy.gov/eere/cemi to learn how the Department is boosting U.S. competitiveness in clean energy manufacturing.