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Officials from the American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) and the city of Detroit have announced that the new $148 million lightweight metals manufacturing institute, announced in February by President Obama will locate in the Detroit neighborhood of Corktown.

ALMMII is a public-private partnership led by Ohio-based manufacturing technology nonprofit EWI, the University of Michigan, and The Ohio State University. The initiative is part of the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) and is being led by the Department of Defense.

The institute, opening this fall, is charged with establishing a regional manufacturing ecosystem to move cutting-edge lightweight metals out of the research lab and into tomorrow’s cars, trucks, airplanes and ships for both the commercial and military sectors.

Mayor Mike Duggan said locating this new high tech hub in Detroit shows the city can compete for and win major manufacturing investments. “To win a competitive process for a project of national significance is a major win for the city,” he said. “Detroiters should expect to see us win a lot more in the future.”

The ALMMII facility will be located at 1400 Rosa Parks Boulevard in Detroit. The last tenant of the 107,000 square-foot property was Mexican Industries, which made plastic moldings for the auto industry until filing for bankruptcy in 2001.

Job Impact & Workforce Training
Mayor Duggan also said having the institute located in the city will provide significant opportunity to Detroiters, who will be able to receive training through Focus: Hope and other regional partners for the high tech manufacturing jobs that will come as a result of getting these lightweight metals into production.

Operations at ALMMII will commence with an initial staff of ten. Eventually, two dozen employees will be based in the Detroit facility. The building will house offices, meeting rooms, training space and laboratories for developing and testing technologies for manufacturing.

With 75 member organizations including companies, universities, research institutions, and education and workforce leaders as partners, the institute is expected to contribute to economic development and positive job impact in Detroit and stretching to the five-state region of Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Tennessee and Kentucky over the next five years. Most of these jobs will be in the metal stamping, metalworking, machining and casting industries that are dominant in the Midwest region.

Beyond its R&D efforts, the institute aims to help educate the next generation of manufacturing’s technical workforce. ALMMII will engage workforce partners from across the region to strengthen education and training pathways to high quality jobs in all transportation manufacturing sectors, including the automobile, aircraft, heavy truck, ship, rail and defense industries. The White House has referred to the institute as a “teaching factory.”

“Detroit’s renewed energy and revitalization efforts mesh perfectly with the goals of ALMMII, making the city an ideal spot for its headquarters. This is an exciting next step in the university’s longstanding relationship with Detroit, at a time of great importance,” said University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel. “I look forward to seeing the innovations that will come out of the institute that will transform American manufacturing.”

“ALMMII represents the first of what I hope are many innovative regional collaborations among Ohio State, Michigan, EWI, and other key regional assets,” concurred OSU’s College of Engineering Dean David B. Williams. “When it comes to advanced manufacturing, workforce development, and U.S. competitiveness, we are all on the same team.”

Location, Location, Location
ALMMII’s Detroit location puts it close to key workforce partners such as Focus: HOPE, Macomb Community College, Michigan State University, Michigan Tech, and Wayne State Community College District, and Wayne State University. These entities will work closely with the institute’s workforce program on new manufacturing methods. The institute, in turn, will engage students in internships and technical work on its research projects.

The institute is one of four pilot centers of the NNMI, a Presidential initiative to boost the nation’s competitiveness. The new initiative, funded through the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation (LM3I) program, was selected through a competitive process led by the U.S. Department of Defense.

The institute will receive $70 million in federal funding over five years, matched by another $78 million from the consortium partners themselves. The funding includes $10 million from the Michigan Economic Development Corporation and an additional $10 million from the state of Ohio. The New Economy Initiative, a Detroit-based non-profit, has committed $1 million over two years for capital expenses at the headquarters.

Lawrence BrownLarry Brown, ALMMII Executive Director said, “From this very central location on the I-75 corridor, and particularly in the heart of Detroit, the institute is poised for success in serving our nation in setting the standard for world-class lightweight metals manufacturing.”


The American Lightweight Materials Manufacturing Innovation Institute (ALMMII) is a public-private partnership founded by EWI, University of Michigan, and The Ohio State University. It was established to develop and deploy advanced lightweight metals manufacturing technologies, and implement education and training programs to prepare the workforce. ALMMII is one of the founding institutes in the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, a federal initiative to create regional hubs to accelerate the development and adoption of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies. It was selected through a competitive process led by the US Department of Defense under the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation (LM3I) solicitation issued by the U.S. Navys Office of Naval Research. For more information, contact 614.688.5180 or


Marc on bike

If you are following EWI Associate Marc Purslow’s cross-country, solo bike trek to raise money for ASAS (After-School All Stars), you’ll know that he’s relentless in achieving his goal. Since he embarked on his journey from Maine on July 3rd, he has left New England, crossed New York State, and made his way through Ohio. For news about his adventures and challenges, be sure to follow his blog. To find out where Marc is at this very moment. click here.

Ride on, Marc — we’re proud of you!

Fabrisonic President Mark Norfolk is interviewed by MEM's Sarah Webster at RAPID 2014

Fabrisonic President Mark Norfolk is interviewed by MEM’s Sarah Webster at RAPID 2014

EWI affiliate Fabrisonic LLC attracted the attention of the media last month at the SME’s RAPID conference in Detroit. The company was profiled in a feature by Manufacturing Engineering Media to introduce an additive manufacturing method that is unique in the 3D printing world. To see the interview with Fabrisonic President Mark Norfolk, click here.

RAPID 2014



One of the great things about being an engineer at EWI is having the opportunity to touch so many different technologies and applications. The first application I have had the opportunity to learn about is pipeline construction from our experienced team. When oil and gas pipelines are constructed, a major concern is the quality of the weld being made to connect two pieces of pipe together. The cost of a bad weld can be substantial, both monetarily and environmentally. This has been in the national news recently regarding the Keystone Pipeline and the potential environmental impact if the pipeline were to leak. This proposed pipeline is under much scrutiny by environmental groups because of the potential devastation it could cause on the environment.

Nondestructive evaluation (NDE) techniques are currently used to scan pipe welds to make sure there are no flaws. One such NDE technique is ultrasonic inspection. Ultrasonic inspection can be used on either the outside or inside of the pipe, and can give results quickly. The technique is somewhat sensitive to operator interpretation, and there can be a high false-positive rate which can cause issues. Each false positive can be costly and take up valuable time. EWI has worked with companies in the oil and gas industry to come up with supplementary methods of testing pipelines.

Pig Picture

One method is using laser topography to scan the internal weld of the pipe using a pigging system. A pigging system involves inserting a small tubular device called a “pig” which carries the electrical system used to inspect the weld. Over the past 15 years, EWI has developed and modified many laser inspection pigs for use in pipelines, both onshore and offshore. For offshore applications, EWI has partnered with a member company that specializes in pipelines to work in conjunction with their Internal Lineup Clamp (ILUC)such that the inspection occurs immediately after welding without having to insert a separate piece of inspection equipment. After a piece of pipe is welded together, EWI’s system lines up over the weld to perform an internal circumference inspection.

The current prototype uses a laser scanner, three motorized axes, and a video camera. The laser scanner is used to read the topography of the weld to identify features such as alignment mismatch, bead height and several other surface features. The three-axis system allows the operator to manipulate the video camera and laser to a specific point in the pipe. It also allows the operator to rotate the video camera freely to review a certain part of the weld if necessary. During inspection, the operator can view live video of the weld as it rotates.

The software program allows the operator to view any imperfections and add comments. Once finished, the weld data and video can be cataloged and saved for future reference. The entire process of lining up the pig, scanning, and analyzing the results can be completed in a few minutes.

This inspection system is a great example of how the different technology groups at EWI work together. EWI’s welding experts, NDE experts, design experts, and controls experts all collaborated on this technology to make it a success.

If you would like more information about laser-based weld inspection, please contact Patrick Hanlon at


Today’s edition of Device Talk, from Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry, describes some of the challenges facing device manufacturers contemplating the production of implantables through additive manufacturing processes.  The questions raised in the article are appropriate, as no one would condone use of an additive manufactured implant if the manufacturer could not validate that the processes used resulted in material properties that enable useful life and performance of the device.

We at EWI are focused on helping manufacturers in the medical device industry characterize and define the parameters required to produce the desired material properties, and, of course, the resulting device performance.  Unfortunately, many potential users of additive processes are enamored with the concept of “3-D Printing.”  We wish it were as simple and straightforward as downloading a CAD file, pushing a button, and extracting the desired component.  There are a lot of factors to consider when producing “3-D printed” components – factors that are critical to understand if you wish to manufacture parts that actually work as planned!

EWI’s Dr. Shawn Kelly leads our efforts to help manufacturers better define these important materials issues.  His approach is shown below:

EWI's Holistic View of Additive Manufacturing

If you are contemplating an additive manufacturing process and would like to make sure the process you specify can produce the parts you need, we would be happy to help you develop and define that process.  You may start by contacting Dale Robinson by phone at 614.688.5232 or e-mail at



EWI won the latest EWI-MDK Bike to Work Challenge by a score of 60 to 48. The Challenge started  Monday, June 2, 2014 and ended Friday, June 13, 2014.  The scoring was one point per day of commuting to work by bicycle during the work week, regardless of distance (you didn’t need to ride the full distance).  Tracking of rides was done on RideNet | Home.  Our challenger is a locally-based law firm, Home : Manley Deas Kochalski, LLC (employer of Blake McAllister’s sister and Jim Tighe’s sister-in-law).  Several of us from each team met for a Happy Hour last week to celebrate (or lick our wounds, as the case may be).

On a larger scale, Thursday, May 1 was the start of the National Bike Challenge.  This covers all types of riding and will continue until the end of September.  EWI has a team in this event.  Information can be found at Home | National | National Bike Challenge.

A bit of history:  The first Central Ohio Bike to Work Week was held in 2008.  Five EWI Associates participated that year and Team MDK won the 100 to 499 employee division.  I looked at the numbers and realized that we could have won if we doubled our score.  With a bit of a push in 2009, EWI had 17 riders and won our division. Team MDK was second. The photo below shows most of our team that year, including Jim Tighe holding our trophy.

2009 Bike to Work Week Victors

The third year of the local Bike to Work Challenge, Jim’s sister-in-law said in an email “You may also want to spread the word around your office that the bike to work week cheating that costs us our title last year will not be tolerated.  God sees all, and I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and believe that you had nothing to do with it.  Prepare to be schooled in the correct way to win.  Let me be your guide.”  With this extra motivation, we had 33 people (nearly 25% of our workforce) ride at least once and won our division a second time.  Team MDK was second. The end results were the same for the top two of our division in 2011, the last year of the local challenge.

EWI and MDK have held our own Bike to Work Challenge the past two years.  EWI has continued to prevail.  The power of innovation…



Marc Purslow is passionate about helping disadvantaged kids succeed. That’s why the EWI Applications Engineer (arc welding) is taking time this summer to raise money for After School All Stars, a program that provides free afternoon programs that keep at-risk children safe and help them achieve in school and life.

Marc and kids

But if you know Marc, you know he doesn’t do things half-way. He’s made a commitment to ride his bicycle solo across the country to raise $50,000 for the ASAS program! Marc starts his journey in coastal Maine on July 3rd, and plans to end in San Francisco some 4-5 weeks later.

We at EWI are incredibly proud of Marc, and are thrilled to support his ASAS Cycle America Challenge. We’ll be keeping up with his adventures and reporting on his cross-country progress throughout the summer. If you want to “join the ride,” you can check “Latest News” at, where we’ll post Marc’s regular reports from the road.

You can learn more about ASAS and support Marc’s goal, by clicking here. All donations from his ride will benefit ASAS Ohio.

Go, Marc!

Challenge map

Marc on bike




Fabrisonic logo (2)

EWI affiliate Fabrisonic LLC is featured this month in Machine Design magazine following its exhibit at the SME RAPID conference in Detroit.  A pictorial article, “Innovative 3D Printing Technology at RAPID 2014,” highlighted Fabrisonic’s novel ultrasonic additive technique and described it’s unique advantages. To see the article, click here.

RAPID 2014




z_workingLogo3EWI Forming Center is pleased to have received one of nine grants from the Edison Advanced Manufacturing Program (AMP), managed by the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA). The grant will allow EWI Forming Center to establish a material formability testing service to assist domestic suppliers to produce lightweight components and utilize advanced forming technologies.

Current testing methods are insufficient for the new generation of lightweight materials. This new service will test lightweight materials and their performance in manufacturing and production environments in order to establish practical and reliable testing methods for industry.  The EWI Forming Center’s expertise will result in faster time to market for new lightweight materials and products by allowing better design of manufacturing processes and reduction in new product development trial and error times.

In collaboration with The Ohio State University Center for Precision Forming (OSU-CPF) the EWI Forming Center’s project team also includes Honda R&D Americas, KTH and Shiloh, three Ohio manufacturers which will provide significant financial and technical support to this program as cost share partners. The proposed program will yield a range of commercially available products and services to support the domestic metal forming industry.

Congratulations to the entire project team!


Buffalo native Michael Ulbrich has been appointed President of EWI New York.

Buffalo native Michael Ulbrich has been appointed President of EWI New York.

EWI is pleased to welcome Michael Ulbrich as President of EWI New York.

An industrial engineer by training, Ulbrich comes to EWI from JP Morgan Chase where he spent the last decade . He most recently served as the Vice President of J.P. Morgan Private Bank, Nordic Region.

“With his broad and deep experience in engineering, business development, operations, technology systems, finance, and team building, Michael brings so much to the table,” said Henry Cialone, President and CEO of EWI. “We are thrilled to have him at the helm of EWI New York as we open our newest facility.”

Ulbrich, a native of Western New York, is excited. “EWI New York has the potential to make huge impact on the future of manufacturing and the economy of Buffalo-Niagara. I am committed to the revitalization of this region and its industries, and am excited to be part of it.”

To read the full story, click here.   Print