NIST Puts $7.4 Million Toward Additive Manufacturing Research
As new technologies emerge every day, one in particular appears to be taking off at a much faster rate than the rest. Known as additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, the process of manufacturing items quickly and with the option of customization could be the future for manufactured goods across the globe.
To keep up with additive manufacturing's growing popularity, many organizations are attempting to learn more about it and potentially improve the technology. One group in particular is the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).
NIST announced that they are awarding two separate grants, both dealing with additive manufacturing, in order to improve the measurements and standards for the field.
NIST is anticipating that with these two grants quality parts can be produced, utilized, and certified for additive manufacturing. These grants are for two years and were made through NIST’s Measurement Science for Advanced Manufacturing Cooperative Agreement Program.
The first grant will be awarded to the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) in Youngstown, Ohio. Operated by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, NAMII will receive $5 million for a three-phase research effort that will involve 27 companies, universities, and national laboratories.
Northern Illinois University will receive the second grant totaling $2.4 million. This funding will be used by the university to develop additional tools to be used in tandem with the technology.
“Improving additive manufacturing is an important part of the administration’s efforts to help U.S. manufacturers by supporting new opportunities to innovate,” said Patrick Gallagher, Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST Director. “The public-private research partnerships led by NAMII and Northern Illinois University are tackling important measurement science-related barriers that must be overcome before this cutting-edge technology can be more widely used, helping America remain innovative and globally competitive.”
Currently, additive manufacturing processes are facing some challenges dealing with process control, machine performance testing, and limited modeling and design tools. Because of this, additive manufacturing’s usefulness for high-end products and applications is limited.