The SHYFT Design and Innovation conference, hosted by Techmer PM,  was held on March 30 in Chattanooga, Tenn. for partners in design, research, and innovation to come together to discuss collaboration and engagement among the communities. IACMI members and partners such as Oak Ridge National Laboratory and Local Motors attended, and IACMI CEO, Bryan Dods presented during the conference.

The conference centered on five presentations from innovation leaders as well as break-out sessions to discuss the benefits of co-design and how companies can integrate it into their strategic design and development processes. Bryan Dods spoke on manufacturing for the future, discussing how composites play an ever-growing force in manufacturing because of their lightweight, corrosion-resistant, flexible, and durable qualities. Dods explained how a growing number of industries, including aviation manufacturing, are integrating composites into manufacturing designs, often inspired by nature. Many composites designs seen today imitate the models and systems seen in nature, such as Japan’s 500 Series Shinkansen bullet train whose design was inspired by the kingfisher’s beak.

Dods also discussed the increasing opportunities for composites to solve some of the infrastructure problems in the United States. Bridges, aviation, and dams all have opportunities for composite integration, and the collaboration between SHYFT participants can produce innovative solutions for these problems.

From SHYFT, participants gained a better perspective on how to work together across disciplines to creatively embrace the opportunities and challenges in the design, research, and innovation communities.