The American Foundry Society (AFS) has significant roles in two major manufacturing initiatives announced today by President Obama. The new programs, led by the U.S. Department of Defense, are backed by more than $280 million of public and private funds and aim to propel American manufacturing forward by bringing together product developers, researchers, manufacturers, universities and training institutions into regional hubs. The hubs will connect private businesses with research institutions to advance high tech manufacturing.
AFS is a not-for-profit technical and management society that provides and promotes knowledge and services that strengthen the metalcasting industry for the ultimate benefit of its customers and society. The society has been closely involved in initiatives like these to partner with the private sector to boost advanced manufacturing, strengthen our capabilities for defense, and attract the types of high-quality jobs that a growing middle class requires.
“The impact of these large scale Manufacturing Initiatives on metalcasting will be unprecedented for the industry,” said AFS Vice President Technical Services Tom Prucha. “We will have an immense opportunity to secure the future of the metalcasting industry for generations, and AFS is proud to be part of that milestone.”
One of the two manufacturing hubs Obama announced today is the Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation (LM3) project based in Canton Township, Mich. It will focus on the manufacture of aluminum, titanium and high-strength steel, while working with universities and labs on research and development. AFS is part of a consortium of 34 companies, nine universities and 17 other groups, including Boeing, General Electric and The Ohio State University, who are pledged to work together to pioneer lightweight, high performing metals and alloys while developing the skills and training needed for production.
The Michigan Hub is backed by $140 million of federal and private funds and is expected to create in excess of 10,000 new jobs in metals manufacturing, according to the University of Michigan. The jobs will range from metal stamping, metalworking, machining and casting. It also will add 100 metal related engineering jobs per year and 1,000 skilled trade workers.
The second hub announced today, Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovations Institute (or Digital Lab), is led by UI Labs, in Chicago. The Digital Lab will bring together manufacturing and software companies, from Boeing to GE, to develop compatible software and hardware for supply chains to reduce manufacturing costs. AFS will work with the other partners at the new Chicago Digital Lab to solve century old manufacturing dilemmas while utilizing the most state of the art technology available with supercomputers and big data.
“AFS is thrilled with its role in the President’s new manufacturing initiatives,” said AFS CEO Jerry Call. “By convening titans of industry and academia in each of these hubs, we can keep metalcasting in the conversation about the future of our country.”
Today’s announcement comes on the heels of the AFS-backed research project “Accelerated Adoption of AM Technology in the American Foundry Industry” being awarded funds from the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining’s America Makes initiative in January. The project is led by Youngstown Business Incubator, with partnership from AFS, Youngstown State University, ExOne, Humtown Products, Janney Capital Markets, and the University of Northern Iowa. The research will support the transition of binder jet additive manufacturing to the small business casting industry by allowing increased access to the use of binder jet equipment and the development of design guidelines and process specifications.
“We are pleased to report a flurry of investment going into projects with which AFS has been and will be closely involved,” Call said. “This shows that metalcasting is a key stakeholder in the nation’s manufacturing industry and economy.”
For more information on the manufacturing initiatives, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/02/25/president-obama-announces-two-new-public-private-manufacturing-innovatio