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America Makes:

National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII)

Summary

  • Established August 2012
  • Lead: National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM)
  • Headquarters location: Youngstown, Ohio
  • Regional location: "TechBelt" Cleveland to Pittsburgh Corridor
  • Includes 50 companies, 28 Universities and Labs, and 16 other organizations
  • Federal funding (cooperative agreement): $50 million
  • Mission Statement: Accelerate the adoption of additive manufacturing and 3D printing technologies in the U.S. manufacturing sector and to increase domestic manufacturing competitiveness.

What is Additive Manufacturing?

Additive manufacturing, often referred to as three-dimensional (3D) printing, is a way of making products and components from a digital model. It is being applied in a wide range of industries, including defense, aerospace, automotive, medical, and metals manufacturing. Like an office printer that transfer 2D digital files onto a piece of paper, a 3D printer follows a digital blueprint as it deposits thin layers of material, one after another, until the as-designed component has been created. There are many different technologies for additive manufacturing. Each is suited to different product applications and requirements. Some of the technologies have been used for rapid prototyping for decades, but new developments are enabling their use for actual production.

Key benefits of additive manufacturing are: shorter lead times, mass customization, reduced parts count, more complex shapes, parts on demand, less material waste, and lower life-cycle energy use. 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, compared to today’s ‘subtractive’ manufacturing processes, additive processes will reduce energy use by more than 50 percent.

 

The America Makes Mission

America Makes (www.americamakes.us) aims to accelerate the development and transfer of additive manufacturing technologies to the nation’s manufacturing sector and to increase U.S. manufacturing competitiveness by:

  • Fostering a highly collaborative infrastructure for the open exchange of additive manufacturing information and research.
  • Facilitating the development, evaluation, and deployment of efficient and flexible additive manufacturing technologies.
  • Engaging with educational institutions and companies to supply education and training in additive manufacturing technologies to create an adaptive, leading workforce.
  • Serving as a national institute with regional and national impact on additive manufacturing capabilities.
  • Linking and integrating U.S. companies with existing public, private, or not-for-profit industrial and economic development resources, and with business incubators, focusing on assisting small- and medium-sized enterprises and early-stage companies (start-ups).

Accomplishments

First-year efforts focused on bringing together the Institute’s many member organizations, establishing its Innovation Factory, further developing roadmaps for the Institute and its initiatives, and starting research and development projects. Achievements include:

  • Established the Innovation Factory in Youngstown, Ohio, which included refurbishing a building and installing over 20 additive manufacturing systems and ancillary equipment entrusted by members.
  • Engaged 95 dues-paying members from industry, academia, and non-profit organizations.
  • Developed an industry-driven technology investment strategy, leading to 22 ongoing applied research projects performed by 90 organizations and funded with a $13.5 million public investment and a $15 million industry cost share. Also initiated several agency-directed research projects funded at over $7 million.
  • Launched multiple technical working groups and small collaborative teams to target critical technical and strategic issues.
  • Began design and implementation of a website that includes a secure, virtual collaboration section for America Makes members. This section will link to a repository for materials and processing data, which companies can use to design products made with additive manufacturing processes.
  • Led and supported numerous workforce training and STEM outreach programs, including an Additive Manufacturing Certificate program, providing mentoring and equipment to FIRST Robotics teams, and co-creating the privately-funded "3D Printer in Every School" initiative.

For further updates, see the America Makes website: www.americamakes.us.

Background

In 2012, President Obama called for the creation of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI), consisting of regional hubs that would accelerate development, scale-up, and adoption of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies. As a first step, the Administration initiated a competition to launch an institute that would further U.S. capabilities in an important emerging manufacturing technology and would pilot principles and approaches to guide the design and operation of future NNMI institutes. Six federal agencies — the Departments of Defense, Energy, Commerce, and Education; the National Science Foundation; and NASA — jointly committed to form 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. The solicitation sought proposals that included technical and business plans and detailed steps to accelerate research, development, and demonstration in additive manufacturing and to transition technology to manufacturing enterprises in 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.

Identity Shift

On Oct 8, 2013, the institute announced a new identity, America Makes. This new brand and name sets the stage for all those working and innovating in additive manufacturing and 3D printing to realize the mission of reinvigorating the nation's manufacturing industry and jobs market by sending a strong message. According to Ralph Resnick, Founding Director of the Institute and NCDMM President and CEO, "America Makes is a vehicle for the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute to raise our profile, reach a wider audience to include the hobbyist and the entrepreneur, and ultimately, provide a richer member experience. America Makes sets the stage for us to realize our mission of reinvigorating the U.S. manufacturing industry and jobs market by serving a strong message. America Makes is our call to action. America Makes challenges the perception of manufacturing. America Makes is a far-reaching movement that goes beyond the walls of industry and into the homes of individuals. This is how we will become competitive. This is how we grow our nation’s economy and get ahead. This is how we lead. When America Makes, America Works!"

For more information:

America Makes (NAMII) web page

We Can’t Wait: Obama Administration Announces New Public-Private Partnership to Support (White House 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)

Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca Blank’s remarks at National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute pilot announcement, Youngstown, Ohio



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