LIFT (Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow), a Manufacturing USA institute, has launched its third round of technology projects. This round of projects will total more than $6.5 million in combined federal and industry investment to enable a number of critical lightweight solutions.The new round of projects and partners involved include:• High-Temperature Gas Forming and Simulation: Led by GKN Aerospace, along with other industry members Interlaken and American Axle and research partners Notre Dame, University of Michigan and EWI, this $1.87 million project will develop Hot Metal Gas Forming Technology and Predictive Analytical Modeling capability, with the goal of improving dimensional accuracy and mechanical properties of complex lightweight formed components. • Systems Approach for Evaluation, Selection and Implementation of Chromate-free Coating Systems for Aluminum Alloys: Led by United Technologies, along with industry partners Lockheed Martin, Boeing and Materion and research partners Michigan State University and the Ohio State University, this $900,000 project will develop an alternative to coatings relying on hexavalent chrome for corrosion resistance of selected aluminum alloys. This environmentally friendly approach will expand the use of lightweight materials. • Knowledge Based Automated Assembly of Complex Structures: Led by GKN Aerospace, along with industry members United Technologies, Lockheed Martin and Comau and research partners Notre Dame and EWI, this $1.45 million project will demonstrate the ability to automatically weld a complex thin sheet metal structures. • Friction Stir Welding (FSW) of Complex Structures: Led by Boeing, with industry members GKN Aerospace and MTI along with research partners EWI, University of North Texas and PNNL, this $881,00 project will advance the FSW process for hermetically sealed joints, offering the opportunity to replace vacuum brazing or use of sealants and adhesives. • Friction Stir Welding of Dissimilar and Complex Aluminum-based Materials: Led by Boeing, with industry partners GKN Aerospace and Materion and research partners University of Michigan, University of North Texas, Case Western Reserve University and EWI, this $1.44 million project will expand the use of friction stir welding to advanced metal matrix aluminum composites.
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