In the once-thriving industrial center of Youngstown, Ohio, today, news of a $30 million public-private advanced manufacturing partnership is turning conversations of the failing "rust belt" into that of a new and thriving "tech belt."
The change comes with the announcement from President Obama that a consortium of regional businesses, universities and nonprofit organizations has been awarded $30 million by the Department of Defense and the Department of Commerce to establish the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute.
The NAMII will be composed of a core group of manufacturers, research universities, community colleges and non-profit organizations throughout Northeast Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia, which will contribute an additional $40 million to the partnership.
"I'm pleased that we are taking steps to strengthen American manufacturing by launching a new manufacturing institute in Ohio," president Obama said. "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."
An Innovation Infrastructure
The NAMII aims to provide the innovation infrastructure needed to support additive manufacturing technology and products with the goal of making the U.S. a global center 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.
“Today’s announcement is a clear acknowledgment that emerging technologies like additive manufacturing can lead to the rejuvenation of manufacturing in this country," said Dave Burns, president and COO of NAMII member, ExOne -- a Pittsburgh-based provider of additive manufacturing products, 3D printers and advanced material systems for industrial applications.
"The vibrancy of the research efforts at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute will greatly accelerate the learning curve of this important and emerging technology. That, combined with the educational initiatives of the Institute, will mean that the region should become a hotbed for economic development associated with additive manufacturing,” he explained.
The award is part of the President's $1 billion national Network for Manufacturing Innovation plan announced in March that seeks to create 15 manufacturing innovation institutes around that country that would serve as regional hubs of manufacturing excellence.
The initiative will be led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining and consists of leading research universities like Carnegie Mellon and Case Western Reserve University and world-class companies like Honeywell (IW 500/37), Boeing (IW 500/16), and IBM (IW 500/10), innovative small manufacturers like M7 and ExOne and higher education institutions spread throughout the area.