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From Research Lab to the Assembly Line: Walmart, the Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors Award $4 Million to Help Spark Innovation in American Manufacturing

Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund will award $10 Million in grants over next five years; Grants latest milestone in Walmart's unprecedented $250 billion domestic manufacturing commitment

DENVER, Aug. 14, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Walmart, the Walmart Foundation and the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM), kicked off a new chapter in the modern American manufacturing story today as the global retailer announced the first grant recipients of the Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund's $10 million commitment at the 2nd U.S. Manufacturing Summit in Denver. The summit is bringing together manufacturers suppliers, governors and mayors from across 42 states.

U.S. Conference of Mayors.

Seven leading research and development institutions were awarded a total of $4 million in grants to create new processes, ideas, and job creation that will foster America's growing manufacturing footprint. The fund, which focuses on the development of domestic manufacturing with a specific goal of advancing the production or assembly of consumer products in the U.S., will provide a total of $10 million in grants over the next five years.

"Innovation is part of the heart and soul of Walmart," said Michelle Gloeckler, Walmart's executive president of consumables and U.S. manufacturing. "By investing in American ingenuity originating everywhere from the research lab to the assembly line, we can transform our approach to manufacturing to be more cost-effective and efficient. We can bring more jobs and more production back into American communities."

The grant recipients were selected for their ability to address two key areas that currently present barriers to increased domestic manufacturing:

  • Reducing the cost of textiles manufacturing, including home textiles and apparel, in the U.S. by addressing obstacles throughout production.
  • Improving common manufacturing processes with broad application to many types of consumer products.

"It's only fitting to work with the nation's largest retailer on this initiative, a company that is committed to U.S. manufacturing and creating more jobs to help boost the U.S. economy," said Kevin Johnson, President of the U.S. Conference of Mayors and mayor of Sacramento. "The projects recognized today are some of the best ways we've seen to bring American manufacturing into the Cities 3.0 era, helping to create hubs of innovation, entrepreneurship, and technology. Cities 3.0 is the next era of the American city, where cities are becoming the laboratories and incubators of change by supporting projects like the ones recognized today."

The 2014 Walmart U.S. Manufacturing Innovation Fund grant winners are:

  • Georgia Tech Research Corporation for innovation of thread-count-based fabric motion control, a critical enabling technology for the automated production of sewn goods.
  • Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) to advance and accelerate the industrial implementation of metal 3-D printing for the manufacturing of plastic injection tooling as an alternative to current metal-shaping practices.
  • North Carolina State University College of Textiles to address challenges to manufacturing of furniture cushions in the U.S. by implementing new technologies in both fabric printing and cut-and-sew automation.
  • Oregon State University to develop two novel alternative mold fabricating approaches, and evaluate for functionality, precision and cost reduction potential.
  • Texas Tech University to support collaborative research on cotton breeding and biotechnology, cotton production, and various aspects of textile manufacturing, dyeing efficiency and specialty finishes.
  • University of Texas at Arlington to develop a novel manufacturing system that will autonomously prepare small motor sub-systems and assemble the motor components.
  • University of Georgia Research Foundation to develop an innovative approach to fabric dyeing that will greatly reduce, and perhaps eliminate, the need for water in dyeing cotton and cotton/polyester fabrics and yarns.

The Innovation Fund is another milestone in Walmart's broader commitment to help revitalize U.S.-based manufacturing. In January 2013, Walmart announced the retailer would buy an additional $250 billion in products supporting American manufacturing and American jobs by 2023.

Together, these commitments represent a significant investment that will help accelerate the pace of U.S. manufacturing. By making production in the U.S. more cost effective and efficient, the global retailer believes it can bring American consumers an increasing number of American-made products and ultimately create more jobs in communities across the country.

For more information on Walmart's commitment to U.S. manufacturing, please visit http://corporate.walmart.com/global-responsibility/us-manufacturing.

About Walmart 
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere -- in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, more than 245 million customers and members visit our almost 11,000 stores under 71 banners in 27 countries and ecommerce websites in 10 countries. With fiscal year 2014 sales of over $473 billion, Walmart employs more than 2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmart. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.  

About Philanthropy at Walmart 
Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are committed to helping people live better through philanthropic efforts. By operating globally and giving back locally, Walmart is uniquely positioned to address the needs of the communities it serves and make a significant social impact within its core areas of giving: Hunger Relief & Healthy Eating, Sustainability, Career Opportunity and Women's Economic Empowerment. Walmart and the Walmart Foundation are leading the fight against hunger in the United States with a $2 billion commitment through 2015. Walmart has donated more than 1 billion meals to those in need across the country. To learn more about Walmart's giving, visit foundation.walmart.com.

About The U.S. Conference of Mayors
The United States Conference of Mayors is the official non-partisan organization of cities with populations of 30,000 or more. There are nearly 1,400 such cities in the country today. Each city is represented in the Conference by its chief elected official, the mayor. The primary roles of the Conference are to promote the development of effective national urban/suburban policy; strengthen federal-city relationships; ensure that federal policy meets urban needs; provide mayors with leadership and management tools; and create a forum in which mayors can share ideas and information. www.usmayors.org


SOURCE The U.S. Conference of Mayors

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