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America Makes signs cooperative agreement with AFRL

Dec '19
Pic: Air Force Research Laboratory
Pic: Air Force Research Laboratory
America Makes, the national additive manufacturing innovation Institute, has entered into a seven-year cooperative agreement (CA) with the Department of Air Force, Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL). The CA is a cost-reimbursement/cost share agreement with a total funding up to a combined $322 million of government cost and America Makes cost share.

The institute is sponsored by the Office of the Secretary of Defence (OSD) Manufacturing Technology (ManTech) programme, which focuses on cross-cutting defence manufacturing needs. The mission of America Makes directly supports the OSD ManTech programme. In particular, the institute looks to directly support the manufacturing technology needs for the OSD research and engineering modernisation priorities, including hypersonics, cyber, and AI/machine learning.

“For America Makes, this new CA with AFRL marks a monumental milestone,” said America Makes executive director John Wilczynski. “We have worked tirelessly together with the America Makes membership community during the last seven years and two previous cooperative agreements with AFRL to execute our mission of advancing the adoption of additive manufacturing. We have moved well beyond our initial pilot start-up phase and a project phase driven by consortium developed roadmaps to become the recognised voice of our industry.”

“The new CA certainly signifies a high level of confidence by AFRL in America Makes, our collaborations, and the additive R and D projects whose outcomes are beginning to make real industry impact, especially for the defence industry and its supply chain,” added Wilczynski. “Much of this success is directly related to what I believe is our biggest accomplishment to date and that’s overcoming the direct business competitiveness amongst our membership community. The Intellectual Property (IP) policy that we established as part of the membership agreement into the institute to share IP has been vital to what our membership community has been able to accomplish together. That’s an aspect to our success as a collaborative consortium that I cannot stress enough.”

Driven by the National Centre for Defence Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM), America Makes is the nation’s leading and collaborative partner in AM technology research, discovery, creation, and innovation. Established in 2012, it is the first of eight manufacturing innovation institutes established and managed by the US Department of Defence as public-private partnerships. America Makes is also a member of the Manufacturing USA network, which seeks to secure US global leadership in advanced manufacturing. America Makes comprises member organisations from industry, academia, government, non-government agencies, and workforce and economic development resources.

“Seven years ago, NCDMM embarked on a unique journey to demonstrate the effectiveness of a new model—a public-private partnership—as a vehicle to establishing a national centre of excellence for additive manufacturing and reinvigorating the US manufacturing industry and job market,” said Dean L Bartles, NCDMM president and CEO. “Our journey has been tremendously successful. We’ve achieved much success working with the America Makes membership community to innovate and accelerate additive technologies to increase our nation’s global manufacturing competitiveness. We paved the way for subsequent institutes to follow within the Manufacturing Innovation Institute network as an effective and sustainable example of the public-private partnership model. The award of our third cooperative agreement with AFRL is an undeniable testament to what we’ve accomplished and the promise of what we have yet to attain.”

America Makes manages a portfolio of more than $215 million in public and private funds invested in advancing the state-of-the-art in AM in the United States. With the additional funding, that number in the next seven years will increase to more than a half of a billion dollars.

Under the terms of this new CA during the next seven years, America Makes will continue to employ the successful collaborative public-private model and to make continuous improvements to strengthen and further refine the institute’s mission effectiveness and business resilience. The goal will be to create a more robust and capable manufacturing base to provide AM solutions to private and defence industries.

America Makes will also continue to cultivate its role as a convener, coordinator, and catalyser.

“Working with our membership community, we’ve spent an inordinate amount of time dedicated to roadmapping the technology and workforce needs of the industry,” explained Wilczynski. “As a result, we are acutely aware of what steps in what focus areas we need to take in order to best address and resolve these needs. This focused coordination with our membership has been instrumental in the catalysing results that we are seeing from our R and D projects and education initiatives that are now beginning to significantly impact industry.”

Fibre2Fashion News Desk (SV)

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