Additive Manufacturing US unveils $70 million additive manufacturing initiative

Editor: Eric Culp

A consortium of businesses and universities will co-invest with the US government in an institute for advancing the technology.

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US President Barack Obama said institutes like the one announced for additive manufacturing will help strengthen American industry.
US President Barack Obama said institutes like the one announced for additive manufacturing will help strengthen American industry.
(Source: The White House)

The Obama Administration has announced the launch of a public-private organisation for developing additive manufacturing in Youngstown, Ohio, called the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII). The White House said the development centre will serve "a pilot" for other such sites as part of a planned $1 billion national network of manufacturing technology institutes.

According to the White House, the Ohio site was selected through a competitive process, led by the US Department of Defense, to award an initial $30 million in federal funding, matched by $40 million from the winning consortium of manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges, and non-profit organizations from the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

“I’m pleased that we are taking steps to strengthen American manufacturing by launching a new manufacturing institute in Ohio,” President Barack Obama said. “This institute will help make sure that the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow take root not in places like China or India, but right here in the United States of America. That’s how we’ll put more people back to work and build an economy that lasts.”

European industrial leaders have also been requesting their governments further support manufacturing on this side of the Atlantic. In an exclusive interview with ETMM, Martin Kapp, president of Cecimo, Europe's association of machine tool makers, said policymakers here need to improve the business environment for manufacturers.(Read story here.)

Additive manufacturing institute part of plans for $1 billion national network

In March, Obama announced a plan to invest $1 billion to create a national network of up to 15 manufacturing innovation institutes to serve as regional hubs of manufacturing excellence that will help make the country's manufacturers more competitive and encourage investment in the United States.

The White House said additive institute will also serve as a pilot for proof-of concept for the national network. Five US federal agencies - the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce, the National Science Foundation, and NASA – jointly committed to invest $45 million in Youngstown-based project.

According to the White House, the proposal for a national network of such institutes is part of Obama's plan to revitalize American manufacturing. It said the NAMII will provide the innovation infrastructure needed to support new additive manufacturing technology and products in order to become a global centre of excellence for additive manufacturing. This pilot institute will bridge the gap between basic research and product development for additive manufacturing, provide shared assets to help companies, particularly small manufacturers, access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment, and create an environment to educate and train workers in advanced additive manufacturing skills.

NAMII is led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, and includes companies such as Boeing, ExOne, FMW Composites, General Dynamics, General Electric, Honeywell, IBM, Johnson Controls, Kennametal, Laser Technology Assts, Lockheed Martin, Lubrizol, M-7 Technologies, MicroFab Technologies, Northrop Grumman, nScrypt, OSRAM Sylvania, Optomec, Oxford Performance Materials, Paramount Industries / 3D Systems, Parker Hannifin, Plextronix, POM, RTI, Ruger, Sciaky, Stratasys, Stratonics, Timken, Touchstone Research Lab and Westinghouse Nuclear.

University and non-profit members of the consortium include Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Lehigh University, Penn State University, University of Pittsburgh, the Association for Manufacturing Technology, the National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.