America Makes commemorated the progress and contributions the Institute has made to advance the additive manufacturing (AM) industry on its fifth birthday at its Innovation Factory in Youngstown.
Both America Makes Executive Director Rob Gorham and Founding Director Ralph Resnick spoke at the event, summarizing the achievements of the last five years, as well as what lies ahead for the Institute in the next five years. Additionally, the Institute’s nationwide membership community will also be celebrating “virtually” via social media through the posting of photos or videos using the hashtag #AMfiveyears.
“There’s no question that America Makes has accomplished a great deal in its first five years,” said Ralph Resnick, America Makes Founding Director. “Not only did America Makes pave the way for the Institutes to follow within the Manufacturing USA network as a trailblazing and successful example of the public-private partnership and collaborative model, but we also made substantial contributions to advance the AM industry, fostering a highly collaborative infrastructure for the open exchange of AM information and research.”
Driven by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes is the national accelerator for AM and the flagship Institute within the Manufacturing USA network. The Manufacturing USA network is operated by the interagency Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office (AMNPO), which is headquartered in the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), in the Department of Commerce. The AMNPO office operates in partnership with the Department of Defense (DoD), the Department of Energy, NASA, the National Science Foundation, and the Departments of Education, Agriculture, and Labor. America Makes is managed by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) under the DoD Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) program through the Defense-wide Manufacturing Science and Technology Program—OSD, Manufacturing and Industrial Base Policy.
“America Makes is the first Manufacturing USA institute to reach this initial five-year milestone,” said Tracy Frost, Director, DoD Manufacturing USA Institutes, and Acting Director, DoD ManTech Program. “Throughout the past five years, the America Makes team has created a collaborative environment that has already started to bring technology advancements from the lab to the factory floor, produce more competitive products, and reaffirm the United States’ place of leadership in the global manufacturing market.”
As a public-private partnership, America Makes currently has a membership community comprised of more than 180 member organizations, bringing together our nation’s brilliant technical minds from all corners of government, industry, and academia to create a hub of advanced manufacturing innovation in AM. Since its inception, America Makes has established and managed a $100M technology R&D and workforce portfolio, funding 66 projects.
“On behalf of the Department of Defense, I congratulate the Institute on its incredible accomplishments to date and look forward to continuing to work side by side with America Makes in full support of the Institute’s plans for the future,” added Frost. “DoD Manufacturing USA Institutes, which includes America Makes, represent $500M in manufacturing investment, in partnership with commercial companies and state governments that represent $1.5B of total investment.”
This investment is intended to spur innovation in the commercial sector to benefit both DoD and commercial products. I have complete confidence that the Institute will continue to accelerate the adoption of AM technologies in the U.S. manufacturing sector and increase domestic manufacturing competitiveness. The Department of Defense looks forward to continuing to strengthen our already strong public-private partnership with America Makes.”
“Of the Institute’s milestone and the future of the Institute,” America Makes Executive Director Rob Gorham said, “While we are taking the time to pause and commemorate our accomplishments to date, we are keenly focused on the future, strategically laying the groundwork for the Institute’s continued success. Moving forward, I see America Makes defined by three main roles—first, as an impartial convener of AM and 3D printing stakeholders; second, as a coordinator of technical and workforce information and data; and lastly, as an activation catalyst through high-value, high-difficulty, and high-impact projects. We have rolled out support mechanisms, in the form of methodologies and technologies, to enable the Institute to succeed in these crucial roles.”
To better fulfill its role as an impartial convener, America Makes recently launched the @Program, a new methodology to continue cultivating a diverse and robust membership community to more broadly represent the AM ecosystem in the United States. It is America Makes’ desire to establish more relationships with more organizations, working to advance the AM industry and making membership a more feasible option. The @Program offers cost share credits in lieu of the annual membership dues for those activities in which members are likely already working on and that align to the mission objectives of America Makes.
With the launch of the America Makes Digital Storefront, a product lifecycle management (PLM) platform, America Makes has implemented a powerful tool that enables membership to access, search and discover, and consume intellectual capital assets from a broad and diverse set of stakeholders. Simply put, the Digital Storefront is not just a collection of data. It’s the live connection of data to the Voice of Industry-led Technology Development and Workforce & Education Roadmaps. All projects, their deliverables (or outcomes), and associated artifacts are linked directly to the Roadmaps through requirements. Today, the Digital Storefront has approximately 350 requirements and more than 1,000 project artifacts contained within it.
In its role as a catalyst for innovation, America Makes continues to leverage both the Technology and Workforce Development Roadmaps in tandem with its technology investment strategy to help the membership community identify measurable and meaningful challenges that, when met, promote inquiry, knowledge-sharing, and technical advancements. Through thoughtful planning and inquiry, America Makes announces, facilitates, and funds efforts that are challenging members and industry. Since every America Makes funded project also requires a pilot technology transition demonstration, projects are better positioned for successful, innovative, and high-impact outcomes.
A New Online Presence
The new, redesigned Website at http://americamakes.us reflects the ongoing evolution of both the Institute and the needs of its growing membership community.
“Our newly redesigned digital presence captures the essence of America Makes’ evolving roles as an impartial convener of additive manufacturing and 3DP stakeholders, a coordinator of technical and workforce information, and an activation catalyst for innovation and research breakthroughs,” said Rob Gorham, America Makes Executive Director. “The Website redesign is just one of many initiatives that we’ve recently undertaken to ensure that the Institute remains at the forefront of advancing the additive manufacturing industry.
“From the visual aesthetic and ease of use, to the wealth of information, and revamped navigation, the new site further refines not only the mission of the Institute, but also our contributions to the industry and successful project outcomes,” continued Gorham. “I am confident that the new site will resonate among our public/private partners, our members, non-members, and our industry. I encourage you to visit http://americamakes.us, learn more about America Makes and how we, in collaboration with our partner and membership community, are accelerating the adoption of AM technologies in the U.S. to increase domestic manufacturing competitiveness.”
The official launch of the new site came just a day ahead of America Makes’ five-year birthday.
“It’s [been] a big week for us,” concluded Gorham. “It’s amazing to think of the impact that the Institute has made in the last five years. The launch of our new online identity is yet another reason to celebrate.”