U.S. Department of Defense Office of Economic Adjustment Funds
Mountain West Advanced Manufacturers Network
Test case integrates R&D, OEMs, contractors and subs to efficiently employ AM processes, expand markets and increase resiliency
ADAPT, the Alliance for the Development of Additive Processing Technologies, a research consortium focused on developing technologies to accelerate the certification and qualification of 3D printed metal parts, in cooperation with the University of Utah, has received funding from the U.S. Department of Defense for the first phase of the Mountain West Advanced Manufacturer’s Network (MWAMN). From the approximately $2.7 million in funding, roughly $1.5 million will go to Colorado School of Mines and ADAPT.
“This program creates a new manufacturing platform to advance economic and workforce resilience in response to changes in defense spending,” said ADAPT Technical Director Aaron Stebner. “Enabling manufacturers to efficiently deploy additive manufacturing processes helps diversify their product offerings, expand into non-defense markets, and provide resilient employment and value to their communities and the economy independent of defense spending.”
The MWAMN leverages ADAPT’s existing data infrastructure built with funding from a State of Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade Advanced Industries Accelerator grant and funds from founding member companies. This data infrastructure will help inform product and material change-overs; create new innovations and diversification; accelerate product development; and reduce reliance on the defense industry while improving the ability respond to new Department of Defense requirements.
Other network members include Citrine Informatics; Carnegie Mellon’s NextManufacturing Center; and the NIST Manufacturing Extension Partnership organizations from Colorado and Utah, Manufacturer’s Edge and the MEP Center at The University of Utah.
“Additive manufacturing holds the promise of enabling manufacturers to quickly adapt to changing market needs compared to traditional manufacturing methods,” noted Heidi Hostetter, ADAPT industry board chair. “Today, building new parts or switching materials with this technology takes too long. MWAMN is focused on radically shortening that time, lowering costs, and reducing the negative economic impact on companies and communities when defense programs and spending changes.”
Together, members will network past, present, and future defense-supported metals manufacturers directly with advanced manufacturing research and development centers via a centralized, artificially intelligent database. This platform will enable defense manufacturing contractors to efficiently use AM processes to shorten product development cycles, expand product mix, enter new non-defense markets, increasing economic diversification of their businesses along with economic and workforce resilience.