By BRENDA J. LINERT
YOUNGSTOWN - A Youngstown-based public-private research group exploring ways to move manufacturing of the future from prototype to market will have $5 million in additional funds to work on their goal.
The National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, a non-regulatory agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce, on Thursday announced a $5 million grant for the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or NAMII of Youngstown.
The funds will be used for experimentation being done by the main collaborators Edison Welding Institute of Columbus, Concurrent Technologies Corp., of Johnstown, Pa., and the University of Louisville in Kentucky, along with 23 others to test and provide more data on the properties of materials made through futuristic manufacturing.
"We are eager to move ahead with our research and development efforts to advance the capabilities of tools and processes required for producing highly accurate, quality, certified products using additive manufacturing technologies," said NAMII Director and National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining Vice President Ed Morris.
Additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing, is new technology that builds up objects, usually by laying down many thin layers on top of each other. In contrast, traditional machining creates objects by cutting material away. A wide variety of manufacturing industries, from aircraft to medical devices and from electronics to customized consumer goods, already use applications of the new technologies.
Additive manufacturing faces a variety of hurdles, however, limiting its use in high-value products and applications. Technical challenges include inadequate data on the properties of materials, limited process control, lack of standardized tests and limited modeling and design tools. Research at NAMII aims to address those types of challenges.
U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, congratulated NAMII and NCDMM, calling NAMII "the go-to place for additive manufacturing," and "a great example of investments being made that provide jobs and increase the quality of life for Americans."
The grant to NAMII is one of two awarded by NIST on Thursday. The second, $2.4 million, was awarded to NAMII member, Northern Illinois University, and its main collaborators.