Boeing and Northrop to join White House-backed advanced manufacturing program


WASHINGTON, Aug 17 (Reuters) – Boeing Co> (NOC.N) are joining a White House-backed pact to help small U.S.-based suppliers increase the use of 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing technologies.

The program, unveiled by President Joe Biden in May, aims to boost the use of additive manufacturing (AM) by suppliers.

Driven by 3D printing, the technology makes it possible to build complex, layered shapes from particles of plastic or metal. The Biden administration sees it as an innovation that will allow American industrialists to prosper and create jobs. Read more

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The program, Additive Manufacturing Forward (AM Forward) is organized by the nonprofit Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America).

“The supply chain crisis isn’t just about building ports. It’s about building parts — right here in small American factories,” said Neal Orringer, CEO of ASTRO America.

GE Aviation (GE.N), Siemens Energy (ENR1n.DE), Raytheon Technologies (RTX.N), Honeywell (HON.O) and Lockheed Martin (LMT.N) were the first companies to commit.

Manufacturers say they will buy additively produced parts from small U.S. suppliers; train supplier workers on new additive technologies; provide technical assistance; and participate in standards development and certification.

Boeing and Northrop Grumman both aim to increase the number of small and medium-sized suppliers competing on quotation offers for products using additive manufacturing. Boeing will also aim to increase its capacity of qualified small and medium suppliers by 30% and provide technical guidance to meet qualification requirements.

“We know that the competitiveness of America’s industrial base, including Boeing, relies on the ability of a wide range of suppliers to produce and after-process critical aerospace parts,” said Melissa Orme, Boeing vice president for additive manufacturing.

These technologies can reduce part lead times and material costs by 90%, and reduce energy consumption by half.

The White House says too few American companies are using 3D printing or other advanced, high-performance manufacturing technologies.

A Biden administration official told Reuters the program could expand to the automotive or semiconductor sectors.

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Reporting by David Shepardson. Editing by Gerry Doyle

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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