Markforged Distributes 3D Printers to Project DIAMOnD Participants in Michigan

MI-based Automation Alley poised to run one of the world's largest emergency response networks capable of producing physical objects on demand.

MI-based Automation Alley poised to run one of the world's largest emergency response networks capable of producing physical objects on demand.

Project DIAMOnD is an initiative created by Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, which is dedicated to improving manufacturers’ agility. Image courtesy of Markforged.


Markforged, creator of the global metal and carbon fiber additive manufacturing platform, the Digital Forge, announces that it has distributed its first wave of 3D printers to manufacturers in Michigan as part of Project DIAMOnD. An initiative created by Automation Alley, Michigan’s Industry 4.0 knowledge center, Project DIAMOnD is dedicated to improving manufacturers’ agility and resiliency by helping them scale up their Industry 4.0 activity.

More than 200 manufacturers have already received their printers and are ready to print personal protective equipment (PPE) when asked to do so. In the meantime, they can also use the printers for creating parts critical to serving and growing their manufacturing operations.

Project DIAMOnD will enable small and mid-sized Michigan manufacturers to print PPE, filling a gap in the medical supply chain during the continued fight against COVID-19. Each individual printer connects to a centralized, blockchain-enabled cloud, operated by Automation Alley. The project is poised to become one of the world’s largest emergency response networks for printing physical objects on demand, according to Markforged.

The project will also create supply chain resiliency and flexibility by presenting an opportunity for the participating manufacturers to print the parts they might need to keep their lines operational and versatile in the face of future disruption. Automation Alley selected Markforged’s 3D printing platform to meet these goals, along with Microsoft’s Azure cloud technology. Project DIAMOnD is powered by a grant Automation Alley received from Oakland County and Macomb County, allowing for 300 applicants to receive Markforged printers.

“There is boundless potential for 3D printing and it’s starting to unfold in Michigan,” says Tom Kelly, executive director and CEO of Automation Alley. “With Project DIAMOnD, manufacturers in Michigan are setting the pace for what’s possible. At Automation Alley, we’re eager to direct this initiative and measure the impact it has on the production of health care equipment as well as other parts critical to the supply chain across multiple industries.”

Various manufacturers in Michigan have applied to participate in Project DIAMOnD, including Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers. The participants include HERCO Group, a diecast mold and equipment solutions provider; Accufacture, an automation manufacturing company; and Custom Valve Concepts (CVC), a liquid and gas product manufacturer for brands like Nestle, GE, Citgo and PepsiCo.

“Project DIAMOnD and the participating manufacturers are bringing the true promise of the Digital Forge to life,” says Michael Kelly, director of Print System Engineering at Markforged. “Traditionally, governments have maintained special networks dedicated to the distribution of information and goods during emergencies, but this will be the first response network capable of actually manufacturing tangible parts and objects on demand as needs arise. From printing PPE to enabling mass supply chain resiliency, this initiative is showcasing the power of a cloud-connected, digital 3D printing network. Our hope is that, through our contributions, manufacturers can find unique, effective ways to contribute to COVID-19 relief efforts and continue innovating with our printers for years to come.”

More information on Project DIAMOnD can be found on Automation Alley’s website.

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