ASME Conducts Congressional Briefing on Advanced Manufacturing

Jun 25, 2014

(From left) Thomas Gardner, member of ASME and the Industry Advisory Board, who presented opening remarks at the briefing; moderator Grace Wang of the National Science Foundation; and panelist Neil Gershenfeld from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

ASME partnered with the National Science Foundation and DISCOVER Magazine to convene a briefing for Congress to address the topic "Customization in Internet-Enabled Manufacturing." The purpose of the briefing, which was held on June 17, was to provide information to congressional staff on the advances in manufacturing technology, especially as it deals with the "maker movement" and significant advances in 3D printing.

The speakers detailed how the ability of manufacturing to be "made to order" is vital to the future of U.S. manufacturing. Manufacturing production has grown at its fastest pace in more than a decade, creating more economic value per dollar spent than any other sector. Adding to this surge is customization, the ability to quickly and efficiently make what you want, when you want it.

Dr. Steven Schmid, a professor from the University of Notre Dame and former ASME Foundation Swanson Fellow, opened the briefing by discussing the significant advances in manufacturing technology. He also showed how the United States is being out-invested by other countries around the world when it comes to manufacturing research. If the United States is to remain an economic leader with future industries, there is a great need for the U.S. to invest in the manufacturing sector now to ensure industry has the latest and greatest technology moving forward.

Another speaker during the briefing, Dr. Neil Gershenfeld, a professor at MIT, spoke about how large-scale customization is now possible due to a combination of Internet-based business platforms and technological advances in manufacturing. From 3D printing to cyber-physical manufacturing systems, current and future engineering research holds promise to improve productivity in both production and the supply chain, benefiting suppliers and customers along the way.

This briefing was held a day before the White House held the first-ever Maker Faire, a day to celebrate makers, innovators, and entrepreneurs of all ages who are using cutting-edge tools like 3D printers and easy-to-use design software to bring their ideas to life.

Additional information about the ASME briefing, including video of the event, will be available at a later date.