More than a hundred people were on hand recently for the opening of a new center at UT.
Officials at the ceremony repeatedly cited the positive effect that UT, ORNL, and IACMI have had on Tennessee’s economy. IACMI alone represents a $259 million investment in the local economy. Also, the alliance of UT, ORNL, and IACMI has attracted partnerships with a variety of industries, ranging from aerospace and automotive to energy and power, over the past few years.
“The composites manufacturing industry is changing rapidly, and we’re at the epicenter of that change,” said Vice Chancellor for Research and Engagement Taylor Eighmy. “That’s the truly important thing about having facilities like this one—the impact it has on East Tennessee. The advanced manufacturing ecosystem is growing here, and we look forward to it.”
“Students will be able to get their hands dirty—work their way through the system from concept to manufacturing a final product,” said Vaidya. “We have the chance to be the best place for experiential learning.”Governor’s Chair in Advanced Composites Manufacturing Uday Vaidya will oversee most of the research in the newly renovated space, which previously served as a center for nonwoven fibers. He said the center’s state-of-the-art facilities will bring a bonus to students: more hands-on experience with the wave of changes coming to manufacturing.
While the bulk of the building will be what Blue, now IACMI CEO, called the “cornerstone of composite manufacturing in the South,” it retains some of its engineering heritage thanks to the EcoCAR team.
UT’s team, which has participated in all but one of the EcoCAR competitions held in the past three decades, has space in the building. The facilities will give the EcoCAR team more open area to run its tests.
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