The White House pushes a national program to promote additive manufacturing


President Joe Biden announced plans to launch the Additive Manufacturing Forward program at United Performance Metals in Hamilton, Ohio on May 6. With him are Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, left, and Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio. Andrew Harnik for AP Photo

The Biden administration on May 6 joined several major U.S. companies in launching Additive Manufacturing Forward (AM Forward), a voluntary public-private pact to expand the use of 3D printing among small and medium-sized vendors based in the USA.

The first commercial partners are GE Aviation, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies and Siemens Energy.

“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of small suppliers helping these iconic American companies compete globally,” President Joe Biden said. “And when [smaller suppliers] do well, big companies do even better.

When small providers succeed, big companies do even better. – President Biden

“3D printing technology…can reduce part turnaround times by up to 90%, cut material costs by 90%, and cut energy consumption in half. But not all small and medium-sized businesses have access to the resources, funding, and support they need to adopt this technology, until today. »

A commitment by large companies to help smaller ones adopt new technologies, Biden continued, will help the country “continue to be the leading exporter of aircraft and engines and in areas such as medical devices and technologies. clean energy”.

Forward Thinking

The COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting economic impact have exposed longstanding vulnerabilities in global supply chains across all major industries and at all levels of the industrial base. The challenges have been particularly acute among suppliers fulfilling low/high volume orders for parts fabricated from castings or forgings. The result: widespread delays and shortages of LVHM parts, inflation and plant closures.

These impacts affect key industries including aviation, energy, automotive, medical devices and national security.

The implementer of AM Forward is the Applied Science and Technology Research Organization of America, a nonprofit research institute and think tank dedicated to advancing manufacturing technologies and policies. ASTRO America wants to help small and medium US manufacturers use or expand their use of AM/3D printing technologies in their stores, factories and plants.

The COVID-19 pandemic and its resulting economic impact have exposed longstanding vulnerabilities in global supply chains across all major industries and at all levels of the industrial base.

Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and other initial members of AM Forward have signed letters of intent outlining their specific commitment to increasing demand for 3D printed parts, as well as providing training opportunities for supplier workers, offering detailed technical assistance and to engage in the development of standards.

Below is a sample of the commitments made publicly by AM Forward participants:

• GE Aviation will aim to have SME (small and medium-sized enterprises) suppliers compete on 50% of the tenders it sends out for additively manufactured products and related technologies. GE will also target 30% of its total external sourcing of additively manufactured parts from US-based SMEs.

• Raytheon aims to have SMEs respond to 50% or more of its tenders for 3D printed products and to simplify and accelerate its procurement process for AM parts.

• Siemens Energy aims to purchase 20% to 40% of all externally sourced AM parts and services from US-based suppliers and partners. It will also teach inspection and post-processing best practices to 10 to 20 SMEs.

• Lockheed Martin will work with its SME suppliers to conduct research aimed at improving the performance of additive manufacturing techniques, with a particular focus on the use of 3D printing as an alternative to casting and forging. The aerospace company will also participate in university programs aimed at AM workforce development.

• Honeywell is focused on getting U.S.-based SMEs to respond to its RFPs for products, machinery, manufacturing tools, and/or manufacturing process developments that use AM or related technologies. It will also offer technical assistance in the areas of part design, data generation, machine operation, post-processing and part inspection.

The Biden administration hopes AM Forward will reduce costs for American families by improving the competitiveness of the nation’s small and medium-sized manufacturers, creating and sustaining well-paying manufacturing jobs, and improving supply chain resilience through to the adoption of AM.

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