President Barack Obama is satisfying a year-old pledge by announcing the creation of two Pentagon-led institutes that will combine public and private resources to foster manufacturing innovation.
One center will be in Obama's hometown of Chicago; the other will be outside Detroit. The institute in Canton, Mich. will focus on light metal manufacturing. The one in Chicago will concentrate on high-tech digital manufacturing and design.
The professor who's helping lead Chicago lab says the facility will mean 50 to 70 jobs for the city but a wealth of potential innovation for companies involved.
William King is an engineering professor at the University of Illinois. He will be the chief technical officer of the new Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute.
Big companies such as Caterpillar Inc. and Deere & Co. are part of it along with dozens of smaller firms.
King says the lab should become a link between research that often stays at universities and manufacturers large and small that can use it.
Obama will announce the centers Tuesday at the White House.
The two institutes fulfill Obama's 2013 State of the Union promise to create three manufacturing hubs with a federal infusion of $200 million. He announced the first one in January - an Energy Department-led project in Raleigh, N.C.
The institutes will get $70 million each in federal funding and millions more from outside sources. The institutes bring together companies, federal agencies and universities to work on technologies that can boost manufacturing.
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