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Big Ideas Become Reality at National Labs

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Have you ever wondered how U.S. National Labs are affecting the manufacturing world? The key is in public-private partnerships that can solve real world problems. Penny Brown interviewed Dr. Lonnie Love, Group Leader – Automation, Robotics & Manufacturing, at Oak Ridge National Lab about their mission and currents projects, including a 3D-printed Shelby Cobra that earned them a visit from President Obama. Learn more about the car here and see it in person next week in Oak Ridge, TN! More information will be posted to IMTS.com soon.

“We’ve seen ourselves as bringing science to manufacturing,” Love continued, “Developing a lot of scientific tools to help U.S. manufacturers become more competitive worldwide.” Oak Ridge focuses on emerging technologies, such as additive manufacturing and carbon-fiber composites.

One of the primary uses of carbon fiber is in the automotive industry, which is striving to hit the 54.5 mpg CAFE standard by 2025. Love says, “You have two choices, making the car lighter or using an all-electric vehicle.” Oak Ridge has partnered with high-volume automakers in order to find an advanced manufacturing solution.

Government and private partnerships are a “win-win,” said Love, because they enable researchers to work on real world problems utilizing billions of dollars in research funds. At the end of the day, Oak Ridge can create incredible products, but “unless we have an industrial partner that wants to sell the products, it’s useless.”

Watch the video to learn more about how Oak Ridge is helping to grow a Smartforce with students and veterans.

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