America Makes Manufacturing USA Institute Announces New Seven Year $322M Agreement with Air Force Research Laboratory
Dec 9, 2019
America Makes, the National Additive Manufacturing (AM) Innovation Institute, recently announced a new agreement with the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) that will enable a $322 million investment in additive manufacturing technologies over seven years. The new agreement signifies continued support from the Department of Defense (DOD), the lead agency associated with the America Makes Manufacturing Institute. America Makes is set up to support DOD’s research and engineering efforts, focusing on addressing cross-cutting defense manufacturing needs.
America Makes is one of 14 Manufacturing USA Institutes, each with an individual focus on a specific advanced manufacturing technology area. Established in 2012, America Makes has grown to manage a portfolio of over $215 million in public and private funds. The Institute is mandated by Congress and for every dollar of Federal investment, the Institute is required to bring in a dollar-for-dollar match. Now with the new $322 commitment from AFRL, America Makes’ portfolio will increase to over half a billion dollars over the next seven years.
A press release issued by the institute states that “under the terms of this new [cooperative agreement] during the next seven years, America Makes will continue to employ the successful collaborative public-private model and to make continuous improvements to strengthen and further refine the Institute’s mission effectiveness and business resilience. The goal will be to create a more robust and capable manufacturing base to provide AM solutions to private and defense industries.”
The release goes on to note that America Makes sees the greatest need and opportunity for additive manufacturing residing in the materials space. “The lack of materials design data for both metal and polymer is hindering the wider adoption of AM technologies and processes in general, and within specific industries like automotive, for example. With a greater understanding of the most critical materials and how to best optimize them for the available AM technologies and process would be a significant step forward industry-wide.”
In addition to investing in developing cutting-edge manufacturing technologies, America Makes also has a Congressional mandate to grow the manufacturing workforce and increase educational opportunities in additive manufacturing. “It’s not enough to adopt and implement the technology. Full commercialization of AM into production and supply chains cannot be realized without an acute understanding of how to best maximize the design freedoms and benefits of AM. Making design for AM (DfAM) courseware for designers more widely available at the academic level to include trade schools and universities, and the business level with apprenticeships and training, would spur innovation and generate substantial economic gains for the industry.”
To read more on this new investment, please visit: https://www.americamakes.us/america-makes-announces-new-7year-322m-cooperative-agreement-afrl/.