U.S. manufacturing to receive boost from 3-D printing

August 17, 2012

The increased role of technology in the U.S. manufacturing industry has been supported by businesses as a way to stimulate further growth, but now the government is stepping in to join these firms in order to expedite the adoption of these tools that help to establish the American sector as a world leader.

According to USA Today, the Obama administration announced the creation of a National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Youngstown, Ohio. This effort would be devoted to promoting 3-D printing technology.

"This institute will help make sure that the manufacturing jobs of tomorrow take root not in places like China or India, but right here in the United States of America," Obama said in a statement. "That's how we'll put more people back to work and build an economy that lasts."

The institute will receive both federal and private financing, and its business strategy will be tied to using 3-D printing technology to expand the overall scope of operations for manufacturers in the U.S.

This effort will serve a three-state region, as manufacturers Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia will be given assistance in adopting and getting the most out of the technology. Though there may be political motivation behind the announcement, due to the fact these places are crucial in the upcoming election, the potential for the institute is tremendous given the joint private and public interest in the program.

"On March 9, 2012, President Obama announced his plan to invest $1 billion to catalyze a national network of up to 15 manufacturing innovation institutes around the country that would serve as regional hubs of manufacturing excellence that will help to make our manufacturers more competitive and encourage investment in the United States," the White House said in a statement after the initiative was announced.

This news came prior to a report from the Association for Manufacturing Technology that noted the total orders in the sector dropped from May to June, but the numbers are still better than the same period from the previous year.

According to Manufacturing.net, the news may actually be rather positive for the sector, given the expected gains for the coming months.

"Suppliers to technology builders are experiencing a backlog two to three times above normal levels, and consequently growth in manufacturing technology orders has slowed. A significant uptick in order activity is expected after IMTS (the International Manufacturing Technology Show)," said Douglas K. Woods, AMT President.