Biden Announces AM Forward Program, Designed to Revive American Manufacturing by Leveraging 3D Printing

There was a time when Americans made things – lots of things. And we made them well. But over the years, things have changed, and we find ourselves now doing more consuming and less making. Hopefully, that’s about to change.

The AM Forward Program is designed to encourage large manufacturing companies to purchase more parts made by small US-based suppliers using additive manufacturing (3D printing) technologies.

It’s a sad reality that we find very few areas of agreement between the two main political parties in the United States these days, but creating new jobs and reducing the cost of common goods are things both sides do agree on. AM Forward hopes to do exactly that.

“AM Forward will help lower costs for American families by improving the competitiveness of America’s small-and-medium-sized manufacturers, creating and sustaining high-paying manufacturing jobs, and improving supply chain resilience through adoption of additive manufacturing.”

whitehouse.gov

One of the best ways to reduce the costs of services, goods, and necessities that families and individuals rely on is to make more things here in the USA with a stronger, more secure, and expansive supply chain.

During the COVID crisis, we learned the hard way that our reliance on a fragile supply chain from other countries, sometimes for basic and simple parts for repairs, resulted in backlogs, bottlenecks, and ultimately higher prices for families, small business owners, and especially the lower-income citizens who already struggle financially.

Here at 3D Universe, we already have numerous customers that are using desktop 3D printing technologies to produce small-volume end-use parts for their customers, and these businesses have been experiencing tremendous growth over the last couple of years. We are very excited to see how AM Forward can help to encourage larger companies to start partnering with these small businesses to help with their production needs.

Launching Additive Manufacturing Forward (AM Forward)

A metal 3d printed part using BASF Ultrafuse 316 materials
A metal part created with BASF Ultrafuse 316 metal materials

American manufacturing companies are incorporating 3D printing and other high-performance technologies into their production and business models and realizing the benefits of doing so. But we need more of that kind of shift than what we’ve seen so far.

Several large, iconic manufacturers and their smaller U.S.-based suppliers are joining in on this new AM Forward movement in hopes of making a change.

GE Aviation, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, and Siemens Energy are the initial participants in AM Forward. These leading manufacturers will support their U.S.-based suppliers’ adoption of new additive capabilities, helping to transform shop floors across the country.

whitehouse.gov
A 3D Printed Volkswagen window tool
A 3D Printed Volkswagen window tool

According to the statement released from the White House, “Through AM Forward, these companies will make clear, public commitments to purchase additively produced parts from smaller U.S.-based suppliers; train the workers of their suppliers on new additive technologies; provide detailed technical assistance to support their suppliers’ adoption of new capabilities, and engage in common standards development and certification for additive products.”

This is a great start, but we hope to see many more large companies follow suit.

Supporting the AM Forward Program

A 3D printed Volkswagen wheel tool as an example of what the AM Forward program could produce
A 3D printed Volkswagen Wheel Tool

To support AM Forward, the Biden Administration has identified a range of federal programs that U.S. SME manufacturers can use to support their adoption of additive capabilities and increase their competitiveness.

whitehouse.gov

Part of the plan is to provide various funding sources to purchase 3D printers as well as pay for specialized training for their employees along with providing technical assistance from the Federal Government.

According to the official White House Statement, “To support the AM Forward program, the Department of Energy will make its Manufacturing Demonstration Facility at Oak Ridge National Laboratory available to SME manufacturers to test new additive techniques. The Manufacturing Extension Partnership will provide enhanced technical assistance; and the Department of Defense (DOD) will use its Mentor Protégé Program to reimburse the cost to the large OEM participants in AM Forward for providing technical assistance to their smaller U.S.-based suppliers owned and controlled by socially and economically disadvantaged individuals. DOD’s Manufacturing Technology Program Office will work with America Makes, a DOD-sponsored Manufacturing Innovation Institute, and AM Forward members on a pilot standardization project.”

We are excited to see how quickly this project might grow and look forward to seeing how other companies may participate in the near future.

A 3D Printed jig for Ford as an example for the AM Forward program
A 3D Printed Jig for Ford

For more information on the AM Forward Project, please visit the official White House announcement.

For information or questions on 3D printing and how we may help you get started with your own set up, please feel free to visit our shop at shop3duniverse.com or email us at info@3duniverse.org.