Not Your Father’s Factory Floor
Tucked away in downtown Youngstown, Ohio, it looks like just another old industrial warehouse from the early 1900s. But inside the brick walls, resting atop the hardwood floors is well over a million dollars of 3D printing equipment, and counting.
A Winning Team
Meet the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or NAMII. This additive manufacturing – or 3D printing - center is an exciting win for the bi-national Great Lakes region. The successful project team, based in the Tech Belt Corridor running along I-80 and I-79 from Toledo, Ohio to Happy Valley, Pennsylvania, out-prepared and outbid 13 other high-powered competitors around the nation. It is a great demonstration of the power of collaboration.
Seventy organizations – small and large firms, community colleges, universities and non-profits – are involved in NAMII. Companies put up $40 million over a three-year period, and the Department of Defense contributed $30 million and selected the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), located in central Pennsylvania, to manage the pilot, whose decentralized operating teams and processes will resemble cloud computing.
The Democratization of Manufacturing?
One of the seventy collaborators, Ohio Aerospace Institute - which recently entered a collaboration with Aero Montreal - sees a big advantage in producing lowvolume components which have high part variability and high complexity. 3D printing will democratize component design and machining by:
- Providing greater access for those who are not process experts
- Enabling rapid prototyping
- Increasing scalability for short runs
- Eliminating barriers to entry
The initial beachhead for additive manufacturing will be aerospace and biomedical. But it will also evolve to support the low-cost design and production of tooling for high volume production, from golf balls to automotive components.
For more information on NAMII, NCDMM, and additive manufacturing, check out these links: