White House Pushes 3D Printing to Fix the Supply Chain

The new AM Forward initiative is a voluntary compact among manufacturers to encourage adoption of additive manufacturing.

The new AM Forward initiative is a voluntary compact among manufacturers to encourage adoption of additive manufacturing.

President Joe Biden, along with Ohio Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown, announces the AM Forward initiative early in May. Image courtesy of the White House.

In May, President Joe Biden announced the new Additive Manufacturing (AM) Forward initiative, an effort to leverage advanced manufacturing technologies to help secure U.S. supply chains and encourage domestic manufacturing.

AM Forward is a voluntary compact between large manufacturers and their U.S.-based suppliers. 

According to the announcement, AM Forward builds on the investments made through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the proposed Bipartisan Innovation Act by helping to advance three key administration goals:

  • More resilient and innovative supply chains, by investing in small and medium sized companies;
  • Growing industries of the future, overcoming coordination challenges that limit adoption of new technologies like additive manufacturing; and
  • Both inventing and making more in America, through investments in regional manufacturing ecosystems.

GE Aviation, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Siemens Energy are the initial participants in AM Forward, and have pledged to support their U.S.-based suppliers’ adoption of new additive capabilities.

President Biden announced the program during a stop at United Performance Metals, a Hamilton, Ohio-based specialty metals solution center. He was joined by Ohio Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, who both support passage of the Bipartisan Innovation Act.

According to the announcement, AM Forward is a completely voluntary compact open to any OEM to participate, provided they are willing to make public commitments to support their suppliers’ adoption of additive capabilities. It will be supported by Applied Science & Technology Research Organization (ASTRO), a non-profit organization.

“We believe that for our company and for the industry to remain competitive, we must have a robust supply chain in the U.S. producing and processing critical parts and components for the energy sector,” said Rich Voorberg, president of North America for Siemens Energy. “AM Forward will help accelerate the adoption of 3D printing at scale, increasing the agility and resiliency of our supply chain and supporting good-paying jobs across the United States.”

You can read the administration's fact sheet here

Additive manufacturing industry organization America Makes released a statement after the announcement: 

“America Makes applauds the Administration’s release of the Plan to Revitalize American Manufacturing and Secure Critical Supply Chains, where advanced manufacturing technologies, specifically additive manufacturing, will help drive the future of the American manufacturing sector and help the United States take critical steps towards securing domestic supply chains.

“Additionally, the corresponding Department of Defense report ‘Securing Defense-Critical Supply Chains’ specifically mentions additive manufacturing as a strategic enabler to help achieve supply chain resiliency.

“Both the report and plan provide clear opportunities for the additive manufacturing industry to continue to show its importance to U.S. supply chains.”

To support the initiative, the Biden administration is offering a range of programs to SME manufacturers for adoption of additive manufacturing, including access to affordable financing; delivering technical assistance from the federal government to OEMs and SME manufacturers for 3D printing adoption; providing a workforce training curriculum with America Makes; and conduct measurement science for metals-based additive manufacturing and help develop new additive manufacturing standards. 

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