Oct. 9, 2019

To celebrate National Manufacturing Day 2019, IACMI partnered with LIFT to host high school students from Denby High School in Detroit, MI at the institutes’ joint manufacturing facility in Detroit. This is the fourth year the Institutes have partnered for Manufacturing Day celebrations in Detroit, reaching nearly 500 students in the Detroit area over the past four years.

The 100 students participated in hands-on activities led by researchers at IACMI and SURF, and went on a facility tour to learn more about what composites are, why lightweighting in the automotive industry is important, and the steps that companies are taking through research projects at IACMI SURF to integrate composites into their production lines.

At the IACMI hands-on STEM activity station, students created slime with and without fibers and fillers to compare how the components change the properties and give new strength characteristics to composites. Students were able to make the connection between creating composites and composite applications by seeing the Volkswagen liftgates that have been molded at SURF.

Additionally, the students participated in an “ask an engineer” session in which the students spoke with engineers and technicians at IACMI SURF about what their day-to-day jobs entail, how they got to where they are now, and what they have learned about their careers along the way. Students left the morning activities with a better understanding of the potential career opportunities in advanced manufacturing, and an appreciation for the impact that careers in manufacturing have in their communities.

With automotive manufacturing being a significant component of the Detroit workforce, it is important for the next generation to have awareness of the opportunities in advanced manufacturing in their home city. Manufacturing Day provides a unique opportunity for students across the nation to understand the impact of manufacturing on each of their communities, and helps the nation to recognize the vast number and variety of jobs related to manufacturing that create vibrant communities in the United States.