Obama’s High Hopes for New Manufacturing Institute

Last week, the Obama Administration announced the launch of a National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown, Ohio.

It’s hoped that the public-private institute— led by the Department of Defense—will rejuvenate the rust belt and help manufacturing jobs of tomorrow take root in the United States and not in India and China, the President said.

Additive manufacturing can greatly shorten the supply chain, and allows for more flexibility and innovation in design and manufacture.

The institute is also an attempt to appeal to a younger generation for whom additive manufacturing will be a mainstay.

The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) will focus on 3-D printing technology, and was launched with $30 million in federal funding, matched by $40 million from manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges, and non-profits.

The NAMII 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, according to the White House.

Additive manufacturing has implications in a wide range of industries including defense, aerospace, automotive, and metals manufacturing.

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 energy use compared to today’s ‘subtractive’ manufacturing processes.

If all goes well with this pilot, 15 manufacturing innovation institutes may be built around the country as part of the President’s proposed $1 billion National Network of Manufacturing Innovation project aimed at boosting competitiveness throughout America.

Photo Credit: The White House Photo Galleries

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