Biden Launches AM Forward Program with America Makes Members

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO – President Biden announced Friday the AM Forward program, a voluntary agreement between Youngstown-based America Makes members GE Aviation, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Siemens Energy, to improve the competitiveness of America’s small and medium-sized manufacturers.

Biden, joined by Ohio’s two U.S. Senators, Republican Rob Portman and Democrat Sherrod Brown, spoke to employees and guests at United Performance Metals, a small manufacturer in Hamilton.

“We’re at this plant because smaller manufacturers are going to make this happen,” Biden said.

The concept is to strengthen the manufacturing workforce and domestic supply chain through additive manufacturing, or 3D printing. The program will include America Makes working closely with the participants and the U.S. government to develop standardization and workforce development programs that help to further the adoption of additive manufacturing throughout the U.S. supply chain.

Under the program, GE Aviation and Raytheon have set a goal to consider small and medium-size manufacturers for half of their quotes for products or components that require additive manufacturing. Siemens has committed to use small manufacturers for 20% to 40% of its 3D printed parts, while Lockheed Martin and Honeywell have also agreed to work with small-to-medium forges and suppliers.

Biden toured a 3D printing bay at United Performance Metals that manufactures complex components for a variety of industries and spoke with suppliers that use the technology to manufacture parts for aircraft, power generation plants and consumer products. 

“It goes across the board,” the president said.

Bident said that the federal government could help by providing technical assistance, access to loans, and education and training for small- to medium-size companies that want to invest in additive manufacturing capabilities.

“3D printing technology is incredible,” Biden said. “It can reduce parts lead times by as much as 90%, slash material costs and cut energy use in half.”

Biden emphasized how the pandemic and the war in Ukraine has exposed the vulnerabilities of relying on overseas supply chains. Disruptions in these supply networks, the president said, have factored into higher prices for goods that hurt American pocketbooks every day.

“We know that one of the best ways to fight inflation is to strengthen the resilience of our supply chains,” Biden said. “That includes making more things here in America.”

The White House initiative also strengthens the role of organizations such as Youngstown-based America Makes, the first advanced manufacturing hub in the Manufacturing USA network.

“We are honored to be a part of this new initiative launched today by the White House,” stated America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski. “As America Makes continues to build the foundation for the acceleration of additive manufacturing, the AM Forward program represents a proof of concept for the original vision of the institute – to utilize the public-private partnership model in collaboration with private sector innovation to propel advanced manufacturing industries forward. We look forward to working to engage our membership as the program evolves.”

AM Forward builds upon the foundation created across the Manufacturing USA network, specifically America Makes, the Department of Defense Manufacturing Innovation Institute dedicated to additive manufacturing, Wilczynski said. The network was established by the Obama administration in 2012.

Since its inception, America Makes has engaged the additive community on nearly 200 projects to accelerate additive technology, regional partners across the country to develop additive ecosystems, and over 65,000 participants in education and workforce development initiatives.

“For the first time in decades, we have a president and an administration that understand the damage corporate outsourcing has done to our state,” U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown said in a statement. “We need to make more in America. It’s why we passed the strongest ever Buy America protections into law – to ensure American tax dollars support American jobs. And it’s why today we are launching this plan to facilitate partnership between Ohio suppliers and America’s premier manufacturers, like GE Aviation.”

Biden also took the opportunity Friday to urge lawmakers in Washington to reconcile differences in House and Senate bills that would provide investments into science, technology and innovation, including semiconductor manufacturing.

“Pass the damn bill and send it to me,” Biden implored.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

Pictured: U.S. Sens. Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown listen to President Biden during his presentation Friday in Hamilton, Ohio.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.