Accelerating the Tennessee Valley automotive industry

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Mar 13, 2015

RevV! Advances Access to DRIVE! Innovation Assets

DRIVE! Consortium partners are piloting a voucher program that helps Tennessee industries tackle their toughest manufacturing problems with the expertise and resources of the U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

The State of Tennessee, in partnership with the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have created a new $2.5 million manufacturing innovation program called RevV! The program funds access to world-leading ORNL researchers and facilities where companies can get help with product development and process innovation. The program is managed by the University of Tennessee and ORNL, with the goal of building Tennessee manufacturers’ competitive advantage in the global marketplace.

“Through RevV!, we will be able to help businesses push themselves when it comes to innovation and maintain our reputation as a state that continues to stay on the cutting edge,” Economic and Community Development Commissioner Randy Boyd said. “This pilot program will not only allow companies to take advantage of one of our state’s best assets, ORNL, but will ultimately open a pathway to creating more jobs and sustaining long-term community growth.”

ORNL operates several facilities that are available to companies, including the Manufacturing Demonstration Facility where two vehicles including a replica Shelby Cobra were built in recent months via 3-D printing.

“Manufacturing is evolving rapidly, and our National Laboratory System offers American industry unique capabilities for driving improvement,” ORNL Director Thom Mason said. “This commitment by Tennessee to connect manufacturers to Oak Ridge National Laboratory holds great potential.”

To be eligible, companies have to be located in Tennessee or have made a firm commitment to locate here, have a minimum of 10 employees, demonstrate the potential to create new Tennessee jobs and take advantage of ORNL’s unique assets.

Unique capabilities and expertise that can be engaged at ORNL include:

  • Materials science and technology including advanced materials   processing, characterization, and fabrication
  • Measurement, sensor and control systems
  • Computational science, data analytics, and modeling and simulation
  • Energy and environmental related technologies

Tennessee manufacturers can apply online and describe their technical problems or challenges. ORNL will inventory its capabilities to identify potential solutions. Two tiers of projects will be available: fast turnaround efforts focused mainly on materials characterization and other analyses, and larger projects that will require more time and effort.

Among the initial RevV! participants, Spectrum FML is working with ORNL to develop an infrared bulb for runway lighting in collaboration with FedEx; Dalen Products is getting ORNL’s help evaluating 3D printing solutions for die modifications, and Denso is partnering with ORNL to develop an automated guided vehicle system for their manufacturing environment.

RevV! is open to companies statewide. For more information on RevV! and how to submit proposals visit http://www.ornl.gov/programs/revv

Map of the Tennessee Valley

The Tennessee Valley region is home to six major automotive manufacturers with a supply chain of over 900 mostly small- and medium-sized businesses, employing more than 100,000 people.

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