U.S. Government’s Manufacturing Innovation Update

If any sign were necessary that additive manufacturing (AM) was becoming a vital part of a slowly growing American manufacturing sector, surely the fact that politicians have taken notice of it would be one. We covered the Manufacturing Innovation proposal earlier and now seems like a good time for a small update.

For those not in the know, the President has proposed a $1 billion investment into a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation as part of his 2013 budget. The pilot program is to have a focus on AM.

The Pentagon

The Pentagon. Courtesy of U.S. Geological Survey

We all know the kind of wrangling that goes on between Congress and the President, but it seems likely that this proposal will generate some interest on both sides of aisle. Stereotypical partisans may conclude that including the National Science Foundation would appeal to some of those on the left and the interest shown in the program by the Pentagonwould probably sway some on the right.

Specifically, the Department of Defense (DoD) looks to invest $30 million in fiscal 2012 through 2014. This investment will be spent promoting AM research and education with the idea that 3D printing can eventually save the DoD money by reducing costs of assembly tools. The DoD isn’t adverse to the idea that AM can help save cash on aerospace and defense parts, either.

The program will also help support AM in a more general way by pushing development and drawing attention to the technology. On May 14, the U.S.government began to solicit proposals for the program:

The objective of this solicitation is to identify a recipient to establish a pilot Institute for Additive Manufacturing to accelerate research, development, and demonstration in additive manufacturing and transition technology to manufacturing enterprises within the United States.

The deadline for proposals is 3:00 p.m. EST on June 14, 2012.

I don’t have any new, exciting video on the subject, but I will point you toward the original post a second time if you’d like to watch President Obama’s speech on manufacturing or get more details.

Sources: Federal Business Opportunities, Industrial Laser Solutions, Mashable

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