Well 3D printing has officially sold out. The Pentagon is going to fund a new program called the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). It will be 15 institutes which will each serve as a hub for “manufacturing excellence.” It will be managed by the Department of Defense (DoD), Department of Energy (DOE), Department of Commerce’s NIST, the National Science Foundation, and friends.
Wanna read President Obama’s speech on the subject? Of course you don’t, so here are the important bits:
I’m laying out my plans for a new National Network of Manufacturing Innovation –- and these are going to be institutes of manufacturing excellence where some of our most advanced engineering schools and our most innovative manufacturers collaborate on new ideas, new technology, new methods, new processes…To do that, we need Congress to act. Hmm. (Laughter and applause.) It’s true. (Laughter.) But that doesn’t mean we have to hold our breath. We’re not going to wait — we’re going to go ahead on our own. Later this year, we’re going to choose the winner of a competition for a pilot institute for manufacturing innovation — help them get started…And sparking this network of innovation across the country – it will create jobs and it will keep America in the manufacturing game. Of course, there’s more we can do to seize this moment of opportunity to create new jobs and manufacturing here in America.
An interesting note from the Request for Information is that, “Each Institute will have a clear focus area that does not overlap with those of the other Institutes. The focus area could be an advanced material, a manufacturing process, an enabling technology, or an industry sector. The federal government does not intend to create or provide a complete list of focus areas for the NNMI. The NNMI solicitation will invite applicants to propose such areas.” The RFI offers additive manufacturing as the first example of a potential focus area.
This whole thing will be overseen by the brand new Advanced Manufacturing National Program Office which will be hosted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). The FY13 budget (pdf) “makes available” $1 billion to help the NNMI establish an “ecosystem” of manufacturing activity.
Hopefully this endeavor will manufacture more than just acronyms.
- Dillow, Clay. (16May2012). The Pentagon is Investing Millions to Advance the Future of 3D Printing Tech. popsci.com
- Lim, Dawn. (9May2012). Pentagon Seeks To Join 3D Printing Revolution. nextgov.com