America Makes, the United States’ National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, has announced a second Satellite Center, which will be based at the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES)—already an America Makes platinum-level member. Plans for the new center were made official at an MOU signing event between America Makes and TEES last week.
Managed by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes currently has public-private partnerships with over 220 member organizations. This broad network, which brings together technical experts from government, industry and academia, aims to drive innovation within the AM and advanced manufacturing sector.
The expanding America Makes Satellite Center model, for its part, has the goal of increasing the organization’s reach by establishing innovation hubs at American universities. The Satellite Centers—of which there are now two—are mutually beneficial in that they leverage engineering and technical expertise from the academic level to bolster AM innovation while simultaneously making AM a bigger focus at said schools through support and resources.
America Makes opened its first Satellite Center in 2015 at the W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP). When the second satellite center opens, the state of Texas will be reinforced as a leading partner of the America Makes program.
“On behalf of all of us at America Makes, we are pleased to announce the selection of the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station as the site of our second America Makes Satellite Center,” commented America Makes Executive Director Rob Gorham. “For more than 100 years, TEES has performed groundbreaking engineering research and developed technology to address state and national problems.
“With our second America Makes Satellite Center to also be located in Texas, housed on the Texas A&M campus, we have strategically expanded our reach of accelerating the adoption of additive manufacturing technologies to encompass all of the Southwest and Southeast United States. We look forward getting the America Makes Satellite Center at TEES up and running soon.”
The enthusiasm was echoed by Dr. M. Katherine Banks, Engineering Vice Chancellor and Dean of Engineering and National Labs at Texas A&M, who said: “Texas A&M has one of the largest concentrations of core manufacturing subject matter experts in the country, which makes it the perfect location for American Makes’ newest Satellite Center. As a Platinum-level member of America Makes, we have built a strong partnership with the Institute and will be able to leverage our relationships with industry and academe to accelerate new developments in additive manufacturing technologies.”
The decision to base the new Satellite Center at TEES was strategic and based largely on the program’s leading position in the field of transformational engineering. The Texas A&M engineering center already has a number of established collaborations with government and industry to find innovative solutions for challenges in energy, infrastructure, security, healthcare, manufacturing, workforce development and more.
The second America Makes Satellite Center will be located at the university’s Emerging Technologies building. Down the line, however, the plan is to move the 3D printing center to the Texas A&M System RELLIS Campus, a high-tech, multi-institutional research, testing and workforce development campus in Bryan, Texas. Currently, the campus is being expanded by the university by 2,000 acres.
“Today marks an exciting milestone for America Makes,” concluded America Makes Director of Partnerships & Community Relations Erin O’Donnell. “By expanding the Satellite Center network to include another world-class engineering research entity, we are able to capitalize on the strength of our shared goal and synergies to further the innovation in and the adoption of AM technologies. From Youngstown to El Paso and now College Station, America Makes is leading the transition of AM technologies from the research lab to commercialization. I can’t wait to collaborate with the America Makes Satellite Center teams at both UTEP’s Keck Center and TEES to fulfill the mission of America Makes.”