3D printing in the United States

With the creation of the America Makes Institute, which specializes in additive manufacturing and pilot institute of the network for industrial innovation (NNMI), the Obama administration wanted to put 3D printing at the service of the preservation of the American manufacturing industry. A study by A.T.Kearney predicts the creation of 3 to 5 million skilled jobs in the United States in the next ten years through the integration of 3D printing in the industry. One of the latest additions to the network, the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute, has received $ 80 million from the Department of Defense (DoD) to “print” human tissues and organs for military and civilian patients. Like the rest of the network, this state-of-the-art institute wants to bridge the gap between scientific research and the establishment of large-scale production activities.

The printing of life is not the only field of application of additive manufacturing to arouse a marked interest in the United States. The printing of spare parts, especially metal, is also booming thanks to US start-ups raising tens – or hundreds – of millions of dollars in 2017, such as Desktop Metal, Mark forged and Divergent 3D. In this area too, the DoD is proactive: the Marines were the first service to print in 3D ammunition and spare parts and unveiled their plans to manufacture surveillance micro-drones. This progress is not without regulatory challenges, since the US State Department has already had to ban the online release of weapons plans to print in 2013.

Large US companies, led by GE (which developed its own R & D center in Pittsburgh in 2016), are acquiring and investing in many start-ups. Venture capital investments, however, declined in 2016, signaling a tightening of the market. Among the startups that stand out, Carbon 3D, now valued at $ 1.7 billion, wants to expand to consumer products and the dental and medical sector, two significant markets for 3D printing. . But if the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) believes that the generalization of 3D printing will allow individualized manufacturing at lower cost, the mass customization and use of 3D printers at home remain uncertain: printing 3D requires space, a supply of raw materials, specific skills and sanitary precautions.

Beyond the economic, societal and regulatory issues, research continues to progress: MIT is now working on 4D printing to achieve objects capable of changing shape or properties over time.


Management and support for 3D printing by the US government 3D printing presented as a solution to preserve the manufacturing industry by the Obama administration (2009-2017)

If the notion of industrial policy speaks little to Americans – the idea that the state can play a role of support to a sector or company is generally rejected (“the market knows best”) – preservation the manufacturing industry is perceived by US governments as a need for economic recovery and long-term growth as well as for social reasons and policies.

President Obama placed the renaissance of the manufacturing sector as a major theme of his political action, both in his speech and in the intervention of the federal state in politics with the rescue plan of the automobile industry.

In this context, 3D printing was justly perceived by the Obama administration as a means to preserve the manufacturing industry and American jobs by relocating the production activities on the national territory, particularly within the “Rust Belt”, which was once boosted by its industries heavy.

3D printing, associated with the digital production chain, challenges the dominant model of past decades, relying on global production chains where part of the production activities and assembly are located in emerging countries with low labor costs. The public authorities the previous administration supported the idea that 3D printing could make production on the ground more competitive than off shoring, due to (i) a lower carbon footprint, (ii) a higher degree of customization possible and (iii) fast delivery. On the first point, the Department of Energy estimates that additive technologies would save 50% of energy compared to “subtractive” manufacturing processes.

The network of institutes for industrial innovation The National Network of Manufacturing Innovation During his presidency, Obama strengthened federal support for industrial innovation by creating a network of Manufacturing USA Institutes: the National Network of Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). These institutions are intended to structure clusters in the sectors manufacturers of the future via public-private co-financing.

Their goal is to ensure the future of manufacturing industry in the United States through innovation, training and public-private partnerships. The White House press release presented the creation of the NNMI as part of “continuing efforts to help revitalize the US manufacturing industry and encourage companies to invest in the United States “(” ongoing efforts to help revitalize encourage companies to invest in the United States “)

 The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute

In this network, the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute pilot institute (NAMII, also called American Makes Institute) specializes in 3D printing. It brings together more than 80 industrialists (including Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Siemens, GE, Johnson & Johnson, Eaton Corporation and Johnson

Controls), about thirty universities, several community colleges (vocational training institutes) and non-profit organizations. This institute was established in 2012 in Youngstown, Ohio, a state at the heart of the Rust Belt particularly suffering from deindustrialization and economic decline, thanks to an initial US $ 30M investment (from the Department of Defense and the US Department of Energy) supplemented by contributions from universities and companies for 40M USD.

He played the role pilot institute in the creation of NNMI. The America Makes Institute’s mission is to accelerate the adoption of 3D printing and technologies associated by the manufacturing industry. Among the actions already initiated is the implementation of a Innovation Factory equipped with 3D printing systems as well as conducting programs of training and mentoring in the field of 3D printing.

The America Makes Institute has thus recently collaborated with the 3D Veterans organization, GE’s Center for Additive Technology Advancement and Robert Morris University to Offer Veterans 3D Printing Training Program (Additive Manufacturing Boot camp).

The Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute

In the same network, the Advanced Regenerative Manufacturing Institute (ARMI), which has several dozens of member companies, began operations in 2017 after receiving funding from $ 80M from the Department of Defense as part of a call for proposals for the establishment of a State-of-the-art institute working on the production of human tissues and organs to treat military patients  and civilians (BioFabUSA).

First American institute to work on the issue of bio-manufacturing, the ARMI was established in Manchester, New Hampshire, which was once a world capital of the industry and hopes to become the capital of regenerative medicine. This institute (as others in the network) seeks to bridge the gap between initial scientific research and development more advanced product, by advancing technologies that are crucial for the implementation of manufacturing production on a large scale.



Adam smith has been working with blogger for four years, Completed Bachelor Of Engineering in 2013, Technology addict much interested to writing about recent tech news, Adam can be followed on social media at @itsme_adamsmith, +Adam smith and Facebook.

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