Jan.19, 2013

The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), the newly launched initiative to scale the use of additive manufacturing (3D printing), was named as one of the top 10 "Innovations to Watch" by The Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program and The Rockefeller Foundation.

This year's list of "Innovations to Watch" represents the most forward-thinking and effective solutions that are now being implemented by America's states and metropolitan areas in the arenas of low carbon, exports, human capital, innovation, and governance. The innovations are part of the Brookings-Rockefeller Project on State and Metropolitan Innovation, which presents fiscally-responsible state policies and practical metropolitan-led solutions that leaders can use to move toward the next economy.

Last August, Youngstown was announced as the headquarters for a $70 million public-private pilot institute to exploit opportunities resulting from 3D printing. How is the progress in the last five months at NAMII?

"There still isn't a lot of activity happening yet at the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown, but that didn't stop it from getting some significant recognition." WKBN reports.

The Institute is housed in a 10,000-square foot section of the Youngstown Business Incubator. Officials with the Youngstown Business Incubator stressed that NAMII won't actually make anything in Youngstown. Instead, it will serve as a research lab, with workers looking for ways to make additive manufacturing more user friendly, less expensive and more efficient, allowing more companies to consider using it to make the products they need.

"They are tackling the issues surrounding additive manufacturing that are keeping it from being more fully integrated into the local manufacturing process. So they are taking on the big-picture structural issues that need to be addressed so that it becomes more mainstream," said Barb Ewing, chief operating officer for the Youngstown Business Incubator.

The main development up to now was NAMII's decision to open membership to the broader additive manufacturing and research community. NAMII has lately got University of Texas at Austin, the Missouri University of Science and Technology and the University of Texas at El Paso as its members.

On November 27, 2012, NAMII announced its initial project call from NAMII members for applied research projects at the Defense Manufacturing Conference (DMC) 2012 in Orlando, Fla. The call focuses on the areas including development of materials database, methods to manage materials variability, methods for rapid qualification and certification, process repeatability and throughput improvement, improved part quality and in-situ adaptive control systems. This call for projects will close on Jan. 31.

The NAMII Project Call process is open to all organizations as long as they are partnered with a NAMII member and the NAMII member submits the proposal on behalf of that project partnership/collaboration.

"We didn't want to be viewed as a regional cluster of innovation," said Scott Deutsch, spokesman for the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, which leads NAMII's more than 65 private and public members. "It's really a national network, and the reality is that Youngstown is its hub of activity. That does great things for the city and the country." vindy reported.

Companies or universities can choose to join the consortium as lead, full or supporting members and an annual fee can range from $200,000 to $15,000.

In its decision to name NAMII to its innovators list, Brookings cited Youngstown has been hard hit by the country's retrenchment from manufacturing in the last decade, losing more than 46 percent of its manufacturing jobs between 2000 and 2010. But it also noted Youngstown is still one of the most manufacturing-intense metros in the country, with that sector contributing more than 12 percent of total employment. NAMII model bridge the gap between research and small-scale operations in 3D printing, and large-scale commercialization of this technology for sectors including automotive, aerospace, and health care devices and it can be replicated for other economy-shaping initiatives.






Posted in Rapid Prototyping


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