US Department of Defense to Invest $75 Million in New Flexible Electronics Manufacturing Hub

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the seventh of nine new manufacturing institutes underway will invest $171 million in advancing next-generation flexible hybrid electronics manufacturing, fostering American leadership in manufacturing technologies from smart bandages to self-monitoring weapons systems to wearable devices.

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter will announce today that the FlexTech Alliance, a public-private manufacturing consortium based in San Jose, California, will lead a new Manufacturing Innovation Institute to secure U.S. leadership in next-generation bendable and wearable electronic devices. Flexible hybrid electronics have the power to unleash wearable devices to improve medical health monitoring and personal fitness; soft robotics to care for the elderly or assist wounded soldiers; and light weight sensors embedded into the very trellises and fibers of roads, bridges, and, and other structures across the globe.

The Department of Defense is awarding the new Manufacturing Innovation Institute for Flexible Hybrid Electronics to lead a consortium of 162 companies, nonprofits, labs, and universities headquartered in San Jose, CA at the heart of Silicon Valley. The new institute is the seventh awarded of nine manufacturing innovation institutes already launched by the Administration and represents the latest outgrowth of the Pentagon’s commitment to build collaborative innovation hubs throughout the tech community.

With a total investment of over $171 million—$75 million in federal funds, and more than $96 million in non-federal contributions—the announcement marks the first manufacturing institute launched that will be headquartered on the West Coast. The winning consortium unites major electronics and semiconductor companies like Applied Materials, Apple, United Technologies, Hewlett Packard, and Qualcomm with end users like Boeing, General Motors, the Cleveland Clinic, Corning, and Motorola that can embed these flexible, bendable electronics into everything from medical devices to supersonic jets while also building on the cutting-edge research underway at partner universities such as Stanford, UC Berkeley, Harvard, and MIT.

After a decade of decline in the 2000s, when 40 percent of all large factories closed their doors, American manufacturing is adding jobs at its fastest rate in decades, with nearly 900,000 new manufacturing jobs created since February 2010. Today’s new action is the kind of investment we need to build on this progress, creating the foundation for American manufacturing leadership for years to come.

From the very first manufacturing institute, pioneering novel 3D printing technologies in Youngstown, OH to the most recently awarded institute pushing the boundaries on integrated photonics in Rochester, NY—each institute is part of a growing network dedicated to securing U.S. leadership in the emerging technologies required to win the next generation of advanced manufacturing and attract more jobs and investment to the United States. With this seventh manufacturing innovation institute, the Administration has invested over $500 million matched by over $1 billion in non-federal funds across industry, academia, and local governments, demonstrating the strong demand for these unique partnerships to advance U.S. manufacturing capabilities.Read more

Source: White House Press Release; image: