CWRU part of $30 million federal initiative to grow, improve manufacturing

Case Western Reserve University is among the leaders of a consortium that secured a $30 million federal grant to demonstrate ways to improve and expand manufacturing in the United States.

Along with Carnegie Mellon University and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing, Case Western Reserve helped forge partnerships among more than five dozen organizations across Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia. After an extensive evaluation process involving the Departments of Defense and Commerce, the group won the competition to become the pilot effort of an ambitious initiative to transform manufacturing across the country.

“Case Western Reserve has a long and proud history of bringing discoveries to market,” said Provost W.A. “Bud” Baeslack III, a professor of materials science and engineering.  “We are honored by this opportunity and look forward to collaborating with this outstanding group of university, nonprofit and industry partners.”

Together the organizations now comprise the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. Additive manufacturing is an approach to making products that involves layering materials—sometimes referred to as 3D printing. Among its potential advantages are energy reductions of more than 50 percent and cost savings of at least 10 percent. The consortium’s mission is to identify and execute innovations in this area that enhance efficiency, create new products and advance economic growth.

A key element of the consortium’s proposal was an emphasis on awarding funding within the group based on the merit of ideas. As a result, participants will compete together to secure resources to advance programs ranging from education and workforce training to discrete research projects involving efficiencies in production as well as entirely new products.

“The process of collaboration among our partners to develop this proposal already has highlighted natural synergies and new opportunities to meet the needs of business, the military and other sectors that would benefit from this technology,” Case School of Engineering Dean Jeffrey L. Duerk said. “Our faculty look forward to realizing the promise that this investment has for our university, region and industry.”

Baeslack, Duerk and other university representatives were present Thursday in Youngstown as White House officials announced the award Thursday in Youngstown along with U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Congressman Tim Ryan.

The institute includes:

Research Universities: Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Kent State University, University of Akron, Lehigh University, Penn State University, Robert Morris University, University of Pittsburgh, University of Toledo and Youngstown State University.

Companies:  Allegheny Technologies, AlphaMicron, Applied Systems and Technology Transfer, Autodesk, Boeing, Catalyst Connection, Energy Industries of Ohio, ExOne, FMW Composites, General Dynamics, General Electric, Goodyear, Honeywell, IBM, Johnson Controls, Kennametal, Kent Displays, Laser Technology Assts, Lockheed Martin, Lubrizol, M-7 Technologies, MicroFab Technologies, Morris, Northrop Grumman, nScrypt, OSRAM Sylvania, Optomec, Oxford Performance Materials, Paramount Industries / 3D Systems, Parker Hannifin, Plextronix, POM, RTI, Ruger, Sciaky, Stratasys, Stratonics, Timken, Touchstone Research Lab, Westinghouse Nuclear, Wohlers Associates

Community Colleges: Eastern Gateway Community College, Lorain County Community College, Northampton Community College, Penn College of Technology, Westmoreland County Community College

Non-Profit Organizations: Association for Manufacturing Technology, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, JumpStart Ohio, Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, MT Connect, NorTech, National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium, Ohio Aerospace Institute, Robert C. Byrd Institute, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers.