Skip to content

LIFT Gears Up

Bill Koenig
By Bill Koenig Senior Editor, SME Media

DETROIT -- LIFT, the Detroit-based manufacturing institute, is gearing up after the COVID-19 pandemic suppressed activity.

LIFT was one of the manufacturing institutes founded by the U.S. government in the 2010s, to spur the advancement of manufacturing.

The group’s initial mission was to find ways to make parts and components lighter. However, LIFT’s mission has broadened, with work related to new materials.

LIFT seeks to be “competitive and relevant to both industry and the Department of Defense,” Joe Steele, senior director, communications, and legislative affairs of LIFT, said.

The organization is “going beyond lightweighting,” he said. “We are diving into materials as a whole.”

LIFT is part of the Manufacturing USA network of institutes. That network was charged with finding ways to modernize manufacturing. Some institutes, such as LIFT, are affiliated with the Defense Department. Others were affiliated with other federal agencies.

Officials at LIFT decided “lightweighting was not enough to be a standalone focus for us,” Steele said.

As a result, LIFT expanded its work with materials. LIFT (formerly an acronym) is now using computer simulations to test materials.

For example, LIFT is performing digital simulations concerning materials related to “hypersonics,” used in aircraft traveling at high speeds of 4,000 to 5,000 miles per hour, and how those materials can be joined to other parts.

LIFT also has moved to deepen its relationship with the Defense Department. LIFT opened a facility in Sterling Heights, Mich., in 2021 to service U.S. Army facilities in Warren, Mich., Steele said.

The institute has expanded its home facility in Detroit. The complex has sections devoted to robotics, digital twins, and CNC machines. In addition, LIFT performs training for students and for companies.

Steele said LIFT’s mission is broader now than when it began. LIFT, he said, is intended to be “a showcase to showcase the future of manufacturing.”

  • View All Articles
  • Connect With Us

Always Stay Informed

Receive the latest manufacturing news and technical information by subscribing to our monthly and quarterly magazines, weekly and monthly eNewsletters, and podcast channel.