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Obama Partnership To Pump $70 Million Into Manufacturing

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Following through the We Can't Wait initiative, the Obama administration has announced the launch of a new public-private institute for manufacturing innovation in Youngstown, Ohio as part of its ongoing efforts to help revitalise American manufacturing and encourage companies to invest in the United States. 

This new partnership, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), was selected through a competitive process, led by the Department of Defence, to award an initial $30 million in federal funding, matched by $40 million from the winning consortium, which includes manufacturing firms, universities, community colleges, and non-profit organisations from the Ohio-Pennsylvania-West Virginia "˜Tech Belt.'

In order to create an economy built to last, America needs to make more things the rest of the world wants to buy. After losing millions of good manufacturing jobs in the years before and during the deep recession, the economy has added over 530,000 manufacturing jobs since February 2010 - the strongest growth for any 30 month period since 1989. Companies are also increasingly choosing to invest in the U.S. and bring jobs back. While there's more work to be done, steps like this announcement build on this momentum.

 "I'm pleased that we are taking steps to strengthen American manufacturing by launching a new manufacturing institute in Ohio," said President Obama. "This institute will help make sure that the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow take root not in places like China or India, but right here in the United States of America. That's how we'll put more people back to work and build an economy that lasts."

On March 9th, 2012, President Obama announced his plan to invest $1 billion to catalyse a national network of up to 15 manufacturing innovation institutes around the country that would serve as regional hubs of manufacturing excellence that will help to make our manufacturers more competitive and encourage investment in the United States. The President called on Congress to act on this proposal and create the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). As part of his Administration's We Can't Wait initiative, President Obama also announced immediate steps to launch a pilot institute to serve as a proof-of concept for the NNMI.

Five federal agencies - the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce, the National Science Foundation, and NASA - jointly committed to invest $45 million in a pilot institute on additive manufacturing. The initial $30 million award under existing authorities is matched by $40 million from the winning consortium. Youngstown, Ohio and the surrounding region knows what happens when manufacturing production declines.

But in this area once known as the "˜rust belt', investments like this new pilot institute demonstrate the potential within a region to bring together the capabilities of America's companies and universities, in partnership with the federal government, to invest in the cutting-edge technologies and skills our manufacturers need to compete.

With this initiative, Youngstown is poised to become the epicentre of burgeoning new industries from its leadership in additive manufacturing or 3-D printing. Director of the National Economic Council Gene B. Sperling, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca M. Blank and Under Secretary of Defence Frank Kendall along with other Administration and local officials, will announce the award at M7 Technologies in Youngstown, Ohio.

The winning consortium is led by the National Centre for Defence Manufacturing and Machining and consists of leading research universities like Carnegie Mellon and Case Western Reserve University, world-class companies like Honeywell, Boeing, and IBM, innovative small manufacturers like M7 and ExOne, and community colleges spread across Eastern Ohio and Western Pennsylvania. The President's proposal for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation was endorsed by his Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee.

The AMP's final recommendations, released last month in the report Capturing Domestic Competitive Advantage in Advanced Manufacturing, outlined a set of actions to enable innovation, strengthen our workforce, and accelerate investment in America. The President's proposal for a NNMI is part of his comprehensive plan to revitalise American manufacturing, which includes providing tax incentives to encourage manufacturers to invest in America, eliminating of tax breaks for manufacturing firms that ship jobs abroad, investing in community colleges and workforce training, supporting innovation in cross-cutting manufacturing technologies, investing in the 21st century infrastructure our manufacturers need, and levelling the playing field so American workers can compete on the merit of their hard work.

The NAMII will provide the innovation infrastructure needed to support new additive manufacturing technology and products in order to become a global centre 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 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 defence, 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 Defence envisions customising 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. NAMII is led by the National Centre for Defence Manufacturing and Machining, and 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 Organisations: 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.
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