As part of his plan to catalyze a nationwide network of regional manufacturing innovation institutes, President Obama also acted to launch an institute that would further U.S. capabilities in an important emerging manufacturing technology and to pilot principles and approaches to guide the design and operation of the NNMI. Five federal agencies — the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce, the National Science Foundation, and NASA — jointly committed to invest in a pilot institute.
On May 9, 2012, the federal government issued a solicitation for proposals from teams led by non-profit organizations or universities to establish an Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. Issued in the form of a Broad Area Announcement by the Department of Defense, the solicitation sought proposals, including technical and business plans, detailing steps to accelerate research, development, and demonstration in additive manufacturing and transition technology to manufacturing enterprises within the United States.
On August 16, 2012, after a competitive process, the Administration announced the selection of a new consortium led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) to establish the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII).
The NAMII will provide the innovation infrastructure needed to support new additive manufacturing technology and products in order to become a global center 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.
Additive manufacturing, often referred to as three-dimensional (3D) printing, is a new way of making products and components from a digital model, and will have implications in a wide range of industries including defense, aerospace, automotive, and metals manufacturing. Like an office printer that puts 2D digital files on a piece of paper, a 3D printer creates components by depositing thin layers of material one after another using a digital blueprint until the exact component required has been created. The Department of Defense envisions customizing parts on site for operational systems that would otherwise be expensive to make or ship. The Department of Energy anticipates that additive processes would be able to save more than 50 percent of energy use compared to today’s ‘subtractive’ manufacturing processes.
In addition to the NCDMM, the NAMII currently includes:
40 Companies: Allegheny Technologies, AlphaMicron, Applied Systems and Technology Transfer, Autodesk, Boeing, Catalyst Connection, Energy Industries of Ohio, ExOne, FMW Composites, General Dynamics, General Electric, Honeywell, IBM, Johnson Controls, Kennametal, Kent Displays, Laser Technology Assts, Lockheed Martin, Lubrizol, M-7 Technologies, MicroFab Technologies, Morris, 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, Westinghouse Nuclear, Wohlers Associates
9 Research Universities: Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Kent State University, Lehigh University, Penn State University, Robert Morris University, University of Akron, University of Pittsburgh, Youngstown State University
5 Community Colleges: Eastern Gateway Community College, Lorain County Community College, Northampton Community College, Penn College of Technology, Westmoreland County Community College
11 Non-Profit Organizations: Association for Manufacturing Technology, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, JumpStart Ohio, Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, MT Connect, NorTech, National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium, Ohio Aerospace Institute, Robert C. Byrd Institute, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.
For more information:
We Can’t Wait: Obama Administration Announces New Public-Private Partnership to Support (Whitehouse press release)
Obama Administration Announces New Public-Private Partnership to Support Manufacturing Innovation, Encourage Investment in America (Department of Commerce press release)
NCDMM is Chosen to Manage National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NCDMM press release)
Additive Manufacturing (Department of Commerce fact sheet)