Northrop and Boeing to join White House-backed Additive Manufacturing Forward programme

©Boeing

In an effort to help smaller U.S.-based suppliers up their use of 3-D printing and other advanced manufacturing technologies, the White House under President Biden has got behind the Additive Manufacturing Forward (AM Forward) programme. The voluntary programme has been designed to boost the use of additive manufacturing by suppliers.

Focusing heavily on 3-D printing, the intention is to enable current technology to build complex shapes in layers using either plastic or metal particles. The Additive Manufacturing Forward (AM Forward) programme has been organised by non-profit Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America).

“The supply chain crisis isn’t just about building out ports. It’s about building up parts–right here in America’s small business factories,” said ASTRO America’s CEO, Neal Orringer.

GE Aviation, Siemens Energy, Raytheon Technologies, Honeywell and Lockheed Martin were the first companies to engage with the programme. The manufacturers say they will purchase additively produced parts from smaller U.S. suppliers; train supplier workers on new additive technologies; provide technical assistance and engage in standards development and certification.

It is anticipated that such technologies could reduce part lead times and materials’ cost by 90%, and also reduce energy use by 50%. The White House says insufficient American companies are currently using 3-D printing or other high-performance advanced manufacturing technologies and according to Reuters news agency, the Biden administration feels that these technologies could be rolled out into the automotive and semi-conductor sectors.

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