America Makes:

National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII)

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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, and is being applied in a wide range of industries including defense, aerospace, automotive, medical, 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. There are many different technologies for additive manufacturing, and each one is best suited to different product applications and requirements. Some of the technologies have been used for rapid prototyping for decades, but new developments are allowing them to be used for actual production.

Key benefits of additive manufacturing are that it enables 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 additive processes would be able to save more than 50 percent of energy use compared to today’s ‘subtractive’ manufacturing processes.

The NAMII Mission

The focus of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (rebranded as America Makes in October 2013) is to accelerate additive manufacturing technologies to the U.S. manufacturing sector and increase domestic 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 US companies with existing public, private or not-for-profit industrial and economic development resources, and business incubators, with an emphasis on assisting small- and medium-sized enterprises and early-stage companies (start-ups).

First Year Accomplishments

America Makes' first-year efforts focused on bringing together its many member organizations, establishing its Innovation Factory, further developing the roadmaps for the Institute and its initiatives, and starting research & development projects. Highlighted achievements include the following.

  • Partnered with 79 member organizations, including companies, universities, community colleges, and non-profit organizations; implemented a governance model and elected a Governance Board, Executive Committee, and Technical Advisory Board; adopted a membership agreement and an organization charter.
  • Hired a Director, four Deputy Directors, and an Innovation Factory Manager to execute the mission.
  • Established the Innovation Factory in Youngstown, Ohio, which included refurbishing a building and installing numerous 3D printing systems and ancillary equipment entrusted to NAMII by its members.
  • Funded seven research & development projects to be conducted by seven teams including 35 industry, university, and non-profit organizations.
  • Engaged with members to develop an industry-driven technology investment strategy that builds upon previous technology roadmaps and strategy documents and targets high-value investments that are most appropriate for public-private partnership investments.
  • Developed plans for education and workforce training and outreach.
  • Began generating concepts and requirements for a website that will facilitate innovation and collaboration.

For further updates, see the America Makes website at


As of its one-year anniversary in August 2013, America Makes included the following organizations as members, with dozens of additional membership applications in-process:

Companies: 3D Systems, Abbatron, Alcoa, Allegheny Technologies Inc., APEX CNC Swiss Inc., Applied Systems and Technology Transfer, Automated Dynamics, Bayer Material Science, BioDevice Design, Boundary Systems, Catalyst Connection, ExOne, FMW Composite Systems, Fourth Economy, , General Electric Global Research, Innovation Works, Johnson Controls, Kennametal, Kent Displays, Liquid X Printed Metals, Lockheed Martin, Lubrizol, M-7 Technologies, Moog, Northrop Grumman, nScrypt, Optomec, OSRAM Sylvania, Oxford Performance Materials, PTC Alliance, POM/DM3D Technology, rp+m, RTI, Solid Concepts, Stratasys, Stratonics, Timken, Touchstone Research Lab, United Technologies Research Center, Wohlers Associates

Universities: Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Kent State University, Lehigh University, Missouri University of Science and Technology, Penn State University, Robert Morris University, South Dakota School of Mines and Technology, University of Akron, University of Connecticut, University of Pittsburgh, University of Texas-Austin, University of Texas – El Paso, University of Toledo, Wright State University Youngstown State University

Community Colleges: Northampton Community College, Westmoreland County Community College

Non-Profit Organizations: Association for Manufacturing Technology, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, Concurrent Technologies Corporation, Delaware Valley Industrial Resource Center, Energy Industries of Ohio, Greenleaf Corporation, IRC Network, JumpStart Inc., Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network (MAGNET), Manufacturing Resource Center, NorTech, Northeastern PA IRC, Northern Illinois Research Foundation, Northwest Pennsylvania Industrial Resource Center, Ohio Aerospace Institute, Robert C. Byrd Institute, Society of Manufacturing Engineers (SME), TechSolve Inc., Youngstown Business Incubator.

Historical Background

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. 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).

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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