Friday, August 17, 2012

Four Pittsburgh-Area Universities and Latrobe Center Picked to Lead New Manufacturing Innovation Initiative

Four Pittsburgh-area universities and a Latrobe-based research center have been selected to lead a new manufacturing innovation initiative to advance the use of 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, it has been announced in a White House ceremony.

The National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) in Latrobe, Westmoreland County, was selected to manage the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), the pilot institute for the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).

The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute is a network of nine research universities, including  Carnegie Mellon University, the University of Pittsburgh, Robert Morris University and the Penn State Applied Research Laboratory, 40 companies, five community colleges, and 11 nonprofit organizations in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia, led by NCDMM.

The initial three-year plan calls for $30 million in federal funding, matched by $40 million in contributions from the winning consortium partners.

In March 2012, President Obama announced the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, with up to 15 Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation located around the country. These institutes will bring together industry, universities and community colleges, federal agencies, and the states to accelerate innovation by investing in industrially relevant manufacturing technologies with broad applications.

Each Institute will bridge the gap between basic research and product development, provide shared assets to help companies – particularly small manufacturers – access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment, and create an unparalleled environment to educate and train students and workers in advanced manufacturing skills. 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.

Additive Manufacturing, also commonly known as 3D printing, is an emerging and evolving manufacturing process that builds parts made of metal, plastic, ceramic and electronic parts using a layer-by-layer technique, precisely placing material as directed by a 3D digital file. A competition for the pilot institute was launched in May. This BAA stipulated the proposals address criteria such as technical vision and scope, example collaborative applied research projects, technology transition plans, institute management and infrastructure, educational outreach and workforce development, and plans for sustainability of the institute.

The NCDMM-led team which will form the nucleus of the NAMII organization and governance board, consists of numerous leading universities, community colleges, large and small manufacturers and economic development groups principally from the Western Pennsylvania, Northeast Ohio and Northern West Virginia region. This I-80/I-79 corridor with nearly 32,000 manufacturers, commonly known as the “TechBelt,” represents a smaller geographic area but larger manufacturing output with more combined average production workers per year (1.01 million) than the two largest manufacturing states, Texas and California.

Other organizations on the NCDMM Team include the Robert C. Bird Institute at Marshall University, 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.

“We are honored to be chosen to lead this significant effort and we look forward to addressing the challenge set forth by President Obama to help revitalize our nation’s manufacturing industry,” said Ralph Resnick, NCDMM President and Executive Director and Acting Director for NAMII, “NCDMM feels privileged to be part of such a high quality and comprehensive collaborative team. There was keen competition for the Institute from other high quality teams and we will be reaching out to these other national assets to assist our core team in meeting the mission of NAMII.”

For nearly a decade NCDMM has been delivering manufacturing innovation to the U.S. Defense Industry, Resnick said. 


About NCDMM 
The NCDMM delivers optimized manufacturing solutions that enhance the quality, affordability, maintainability, and rapid deployment of existing and yet-to-be developed defense systems. This is accomplished through collaboration with government, industry, and academic organizations to promote the implementation of best practices to key stakeholders through the development and delivery of disciplined training, advanced technologies, and methodologies. For additional information, visit the NCDMM at www.ncdmm.org.

Source: National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining

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