Automobile executives from across Kentucky and beyond have been briefed this week on many facets affecting their industry during the annual Autovision conference in Lexington.
Among the topics has been materials used in building today’s vehicles.
Larry Brown is director of Detroit-based Lightweight Innovations For Tomorrow or LIFT, a public-private non-profit partnership.
Brown says, in vehicle construction, it’s all about finding the right material for the right place.
“We can selectively put the right materials where we see the highest loads, whether it’s crash or what have you in the right place,” said Brown. “So, at the end of the day we do result in lightweight solutions and we do not compromise the safety of the vehicle.”
In his presentation, Brown spoke of aluminum, magnesium, and titanium as well as steel and hybrid materials.
Presentations did not focus exclusively on four-wheeled vehicles on the ground. Brown touched on aerospace applications in addressing auto executives.
He says moving to lighter construction materials for aircraft can affect both commercial and military operations.
Brown says the aerospace industry may be a little more aggressive than the automotive business in going after newer materials and paying a little more. Kentucky ranks second place nationally in aerospace exports.
The LIFT executive says a program initiated this past spring aims to help military personnel move from the armed services to manufacturing jobs.
“We launched that with the idea to reach out to military that we know are going to be separating in the next six months and start a training program that they could start to get into now,” noted Brown. “So, that once they leave the gates of Fort Campbell, there’s a job, there’s an opportunity lined up for them.”
Brown concluded his remarks noting that the perception of manufacturing jobs being dirty and dangerous remains alive and well today. But the LIFT executive says manufacturing is moving every day into a more high tech profession.