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Boeing, Northrop to Join Additive Manufacturing Program

By Antonio Gozain | Wed, 08/24/2022 - 13:18

Boeing and Northrop Grumman will join a US White House-backed program to help smaller suppliers to increase the use of additive manufacturing and other advanced manufacturing technologies, reported Reuters.

The Additive Manufacturing Forward (AM Forward) program was unveiled by US President Joe Biden in May 2022, aiming to boost suppliers’ use of additive manufacturing (or 3D printing). AM Forward is organized by non-profit Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America).

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

Additive manufacturing is basically the application of plastics, metal or ceramics to make objects from a 3D model, traditionally layer upon layer. The technology levels up manufacturing capabilities by allowing broader design possibilities, customized products, production at point and on-demand, higher levels of material and energy efficiency, as reported by MBN.

Boeing and Northrop Grumman will join GE Aviation, Siemens Energy, Raytheon Technologies, Honeywell and Lockheed Martin, which were the first companies to join the voluntary program. These OEMs committed to increasingly purchase additively produced parts from smaller US suppliers, while training supplier workers on new additive technologies, providing technical assistance and engaging in standards of development and certification.

AM Forward will help lower costs for US families by improving the competitiveness of US’s small-and-medium-sized manufacturers, creating and sustaining high-paying manufacturing jobs and improving supply chain resilience through the adoption of additive manufacturing, said the White House.

Boeing and Northrop Grumman aim to increase the number of small- and medium-sized suppliers competing over quote packages for 3D-printed products. Boeing also aims to increase its qualified small and medium supplier capacity by 30 percent and provide technical guidance to meet certification requirements.

"We know the competitiveness of the US industrial base, including Boeing, relies on the capability of a wide spectrum of suppliers producing and post-processing critical aerospace parts," said Melissa Orme, Vice President for Additive Manufacturing, Boeing.

While in Mexico there are no public-private initiatives to boost additive manufacturing, its adoption accelerated rapidly over the past five years, said to MBN Sebastián Romo, CEO, Tridi: “Many companies in Mexico know about desktop machines but are in the process of discovering what industrial and professional grade machines can do for them. OEMs are increasingly using this technology. Almost all OEMs in Mexico own a professional or an industrial machine.”

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
MBN, Reuters
Photo by:   Unsplash
Antonio Gozain Antonio Gozain Journalist and Industry Analyst