Congratulations to Youngstown, Ohio, the new home of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII). As someone who lives and works in Ohio, this is great news for the state. If you have not heard, the U.S. Department of Commerce and Department of Defense are engaged in an initiative that will explore the use of 3D printing/additive manufacturing machines and technology in general manufacturing as well as in specific industries, including defense, aerospace and automotive.
This will be a great opportunity to examine how additive manufacturing (AM) can affect and potentially alter or enhance other manufacturing technologies and processes. Everyone it seems has an opinion on how 3D printing/additive manufacturing will alter manufacturing. It will be interesting to see how it affects, if it does, mass production—which is one of the key reasons we have the manufacturing industries we do. Will we really shift to custom low-production volumes? Will this technology really result in less waste? Will AM really reduce the overall costs of producing one-offs? These are just a few of the questions the initiative might address.
It will also be an excellent opportunity to explore materials, the development of new ones and well as working on issues of using materials in different equipment.
President Obama announced this initiative–the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI)–in March 2012. The goal is to have up to fifteen Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation located around the country. Working with universities and community colleges, federal agencies, and the states, these institutes ideally will accelerate innovation by investing in industrially relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications. These institutes will serve as regional hubs of manufacturing innovation, and will be known as world-class centers for applied research, technology incubation, and commercialization.
A competition was held for a pilot institute and Youngstown won. Youngstown should receive up to $30 million of federal funding, with an additional $39 million provided as a cost share from industry and the states of Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
The National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) (http://ncdmm.org) led a proposal team which will form the nucleus of the NAMII organization and governance board, consisting of leading universities, community colleges, large and small manufacturers and economic development groups principally from the Western Pennsylvania, Northeast Ohio and Northern West Virginia region. Much of this industry and education lies along I-80 and I-79, with nearly 32,000 manufacturers. Commonly known as the “TechBelt,” this region may be small geographically, but produces more manufactured products that Texas and California.
Specific organizations on the NCDMM Team include: Carnegie Mellon University, University of Pittsburgh, Robert Morris University, Robert C. Bird Institute at Marshall University, Penn State Applied Research Laboratory, Lehigh University, Case Western Reserve University, Youngstown State University, University of Akron, Kent State, Westmoreland County Community College, Lorain County Community College, ExOne, Optomec, Stratasys, Sciaky, 3D Systems, nScript, Paramount Technologies, Morris Technologies, Thogus/RM&P, M7 Technologies, Autodesk, IBM, Timken, Kennametal, ATI, RTI, Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, General Dynamics, Honeywell, Osram Sylvania, FMW Composite Systems, Touchstone, Parker Hannifin, Ohio Aerospace Institute, Association for Manufacturing Technology, Society of Manufacturing Engineers, NorTech, Youngstown Business Incubator, Fourth Economy, Wohlers Associates, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, JumpStart, numerous TechBelt small manufacturers and the Manufacturing Extension Partnerships of Ohio and PA.