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News | May 31, 2017

The Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) Manufacturing USA Institute Opens a Fabric Discovery Center at UMass Lowell

The Department of Defense’s (DoD) Advanced Functional Fabrics of America (AFFOA) Manufacturing USA institute, in collaboration with NextFlex – the Manufacturing USA institute for flexible hybrid electronics – announced their partnership with University of Massachusetts (UMass) Lowell to open a Fabric Discover Center focused on innovation in advanced manufacturing. The AFFOA–UMass Lowell partnership supports the institute’s mission to increase American competitiveness in advanced manufacturing by facilitating technology transfer and training the manufacturing workforce. Located in a growing regional center for the textile industry, the UMass Lowell Fabric Discover Center will promote new advancements in textile manufacturing and job growth in the Northeast and across the nation. With an $11.3 million joint investment from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and industry, the Fabric Discovery Center will revolutionize the way fabrics and textiles are manufactured in the United States.

This grant also benefits NextFlex, the Manufacturing USA institute for flexible hybrid electronics, which currently houses a regional hub at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Together with AFFOA and NextFlex, the UMass Lowell Fabric Discovery Center will provide a unique joint-usage capability for collaborative work in flexible electronics and smart fibers and textiles. The commitment of funding by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and UMass Lowell are essential elements to realizing the DoD goal of creating a robust manufacturing ecosystem that leverages the state’s regional strengths, but also acts as a critical node in a national network of DoD-led institutes.

The UMass Lowell press release can be found here:

For more information about DoD’s support of Manufacturing USA, please go to