Source: IACMI | Release | November 5, 2018

To celebrate Manufacturing Day 2018, IACMI showcased manufacturing advancements in the research and development innovation community by hosting students at both Local Motors in Knoxville, Tenn. and at the IACMI Scale-Up Research Facility (SURF) in a joint event with LIFT in Detroit, Mich.

Students toured the IACMI SURF during Manufacturing Day 2018

IACMI partnered with the Knoxville Chamber of Commerce to host 50 high school students from Hardin Valley High School in Knoxville, Tenn. to bring the students to the Local Motors microfactory. The students spoke with Local Motors’ representatives to learn more about the company and to gain insight into the research and production that Local Motors engineers lead every day. The students were led on a facility tour by Local Motors’ Knoxville General Manager, NAME NAME, to get a better understanding of the equipment capabilities – including seeing the world’s largest 3D printer in action. Finally, students spoke with IACMI interns to learn more about their experiences that led them to pursue engineering careers and to gain any advice and lessons Manufacturing Day learned about preparing for a future educational career in the STEM fields.

Additionally, IACMI and LIFT hosted 100 students from the Henry Ford Academy in Dearborn, Mich. To the two Manufacturing USA’s joint manufacturing facility in the Corktown neighborhood of Detroit, Mich. Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence kicked off the event by welcoming the students to the Manufacturing Day celebration and encouraging them to pursue manufacturing careers.

Students participated in hands-on activities that centered on the lightweighting goals of both institutes. Students joined a composites activity lead by the Society of Plastics Engineers (SPE)’s PlastiVan team that included explanations of composites, activities to make composites, and context into the importance of utilizing composites for lightweighting. “The cars coming off the line today are more than 50% composites by volume, and lightweighting is a big industry here in Michigan,” SPE PlastiVan educator, Elizabeth Egan, explained to the students as they made slime and learned about chain polymers.

Students also participated in a virtual reality session where they simulated building a vehicle through an assembly line, and chose which materials to include to achieve the best fuel efficiency and weight reduction. Finally, the Henry Ford group participated in facility tours to learn more about the world-class equipment in the facility, researchers and engineers who work in the facility, and how they could one day work in a similar manufacturing atmosphere.\

True success of the event is measured by enthusiasm that only the students can express. A few students left the Manufacturing Day event asking, “How can I work here?” and saying “I want to make carbon fiber!” Through participation in Manufacturing Day activities, IACMI is better able to reach students who have not yet been to an advanced manufacturing or research facility; the institute is also able to expand the knowledge of the STEM fields through hands-on learning experiences, and in many cases inspire new career pathways previously not considered.

To learn more about IACMI’s workforce development initiatives, visit