Greetings from ASTRO!

In today’s issue:


ASTRO America Hosts Additive Manufacturing Feasibility Workshop in Guam

ASTRO America hosted a workshop in Guam, as a critical part of Phase 1 of its “Additive Manufacturing (AM) Feasibility Study,” to determine the viability of industrial 3D printing on this key island. The November 17 workshop brought together representatives of business, research, higher education, utility/infrastructure, and economic development communities in Guam as well as key U.S. military stakeholders to ensure appropriate input.

Great coverage of ASTRO’s work on the island included a piece from The Guam Daily Post titled, “Guam Industry Forum talks 3D printing opportunities,” a piece from KUAM News titled, “GovGuam looking into 3D printing industry,” and a wrap-up live radio interview with Newstalk K57 and more.

This first phase of the study is being commissioned by the Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA) at the direction of Governor Lou Leon Guerrero, who also keynoted the workshop.

In Guam, a remote Pacific island with great military significance, industrial 3D printing capabilities could be a game-changer, overcoming logistical challenges and reducing requisition times for mission-essential parts by 90%. Over the next 5 years, more than $11 billion in new military and commercial construction, maintenance and service contracts are expected in Guam and the Indo-Pacific Region.

Guam Accelerator Project

ASTRO America signed a contract with the Guam Economic Development Authority in August to conduct a 12-month study on local 3D printing.

While in Guam, Orringer said “There are two phases, one is a feasibility analysis to understand exactly what the challenges and what the conditions are on the island to satisfy the needs for building up. Phase two is going to be the actual establishment of an implementation plan. So we are taking a 12-month initiative and we’re in the midpoint of phase one.”

Expected outputs, according to the the study, are to establish a baseline analysis of Guam’s economic and infrastructure readiness for additive manufacturing, or AM, adoption, including:

  • Assessing current capabilities and needs for supply chain development.
  • Potential strategies for developing such a workforce and capabilities.
  • Potential demand, including U.S. government stakeholders.


ASTRO leadership in Guam

ASTRO’s team on the ground in Guam (pictured below with Governor Lou Leon Guerrero) included President and Co-Founder Neal Orringer and  Executive Director Jason Gorey as well as partners Matt HermannCraig Brice and Rachael Dalton-Taggart.

While in Guam, the team toured key facilities on the island and spoke with public and private stakeholders to gain additional insights. Another highlight of the trip, on Tuesday, November 15, ASTRO’s President Neal Orringer presented at the Guam Industry Forum, hosted by the Society of American Military Engineers, where he explained how 3D printing is revolutionizing manufacturing across the Defense industrial base and the potential it offers to Guam.

In remarks at the Society of American Military Engineers Industry Forum which took place in Guam, Orringer noted that a top policy priority of President Biden’s administration is to boost American economic development. He said one of the ways to achieve this is by strengthening U.S.-based supply chains.

The Guam Post covered his speech:

“We believe that this could be a very important tool for reducing the logistical tail, reducing the warehouse [inventories] and really just overcoming that guessing game. How frequently do we face situations where you are trying to determine and predict what kind of part is going to break down, and then you have to wait not just months – but sometimes a year to requisition parts from the mainland,” Orringer said.

He noted that with 3D printing on-island, the lead time would be days instead of months.

There are other ancillary benefits to be gained, he said, such as strengthening America’s security in the Indo-Pacific region, creating a strong drive for economic development and serving as a source of economic growth.

“It could be a catalyst for direct investment from large aerospace, defense and additive manufacturing companies,” he said, later adding, “We are already beginning to talk to really interested parties in the continental United States.”

Orringer provided attendees an introduction to 3D additive manufacturing, noting there are a host of 3D printing technologies, including Powder Bed Fusion and Stereolithography.

“There are actually seven plus 3D additive technologies,” Orringer said. “One being the Powder Bed Fusion, the most common for aerospace applications, … but we also have applications for medical implants.”

Powder Bed Fusion involves a moving laser selectively melting powder, Orringer said. A laser of electron beams may be used on materials such as metal, polymer or ceramic. Stereolithography involves the use of a polymer process, which has enough precision to create medical implants such as hearing aids or dental aligners.

“A lot of people think we are talking science fiction, but it’s been around for 30 years. I think there’s a real opportunity here to bring something on island if we are able to stand up a workforce and the technology that’s required and supply chain,” he said.

In fact, DoD has plans to utilize 3D printing technology called Material extrusion, Orringer said, adding the material extrusion method is capable of creating complex concrete shapes.


3D Printing Center of Excellence in Guam?

Orringer spoke about plans for a 3D Printing Center of Excellence in Guam, explaining that there are three AM centers proposed: An AM qualification and teaching lab, a rapid prototyping center and a production center – and this is just the beginning of the conversation.

“We are really excited to be here. We really believe there’s opportunity in Guam, not only the center of excellence or 3D printing or both, …. (but also) transshipment into the United States as well as perhaps an opportunity to be a regional player,” Orringer said.

While on the island, the ASTRO leadership team engaged potential community partners and learned of their priorities and interests in advanced manufacturing. Among them, the University of Guam, Guam Airport Authority, and the Port of Guam, Department of Defense officials based in Guam, and individuals and groups who could speak to diversity, inclusion and STEM.

Click here for more information on the Guam Accelerator Project.

Follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates on the Guam Accelerator project.

Lockheed Martin, Sintavia Renew Commitment to ASTRO-led AM Forward Program

Lockheed Martin and Sintavia announced a collaboration to expand research of metal additive manufacturing (AM) opportunities as an alternative to castings and forgings. AM, also known as 3D printing, has the capability to improve efficiencies in existing castings and forgings supply chains, and provide parts with a higher level of detail and greater design opportunities.

Sintavia is an AM supplier to Lockheed Martin, supporting several programs in the manufacture and production of metal additive parts. The new collaboration will explore additional AM technology areas, including laser powder bed fusion, electron beam-directed energy deposition and friction stir AM.

Lockheed Martin was one of the original iconic manufacturers joining ASTRO and President Joe Biden to launch the AM Forward compact in May.

Read more about the collaboration here.


ASTRO Applauds the Collaboration, Commitment to AM Forward

ASTRO released the following statement on behalf of President Neal Orringer regarding Lockheed Martin and Sintavia’s collaboration:

“One of the best ways to reduce lead times and enhance innovation is to make more things in America, with more secure, resilient supply chains. That is the idea behind AM Forward, a voluntary compact that relies on the commitment of leading manufacturers to support their U.S.-based suppliers’ adoption of new additive capabilities, because they understand that doing this will pay dividends to their business and to the economy.

“ASTRO applauds Lockheed Martin and Sintavia for their new collaboration, the renewed commitment to the AM Forward initiative, and for their leadership in strengthening our domestic supply chain

Read ASTRO’s statement here.


Advancing Metal Additive Manufacturing

As part of the announcement, the companies released this video:


Former Special Asst to the President for Manufacturing and Economic  Development Discusses AM Forward

Liz Reynolds, who resigned from her post as Special Assistant to the President for Manufacturing and Economic Development in the National Economic Council at the White House in October, now serves as a Lecturer in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies and Planning. In this capacity, she co-wrote a column for the Harvard Business Review, titled, “Small Businesses Play a Big Role in Supply-Chain Resilience,” that discusses the AM Forward program as a way to “increase workforce training to reskill and upskill workers” and also “improve access to capital and create demand assurances.”

From the piece:

Better access to financing can help “lubricate” supply chains when there are delays and shortages as well as support investments in new technology. For example, customers can help suppliers by accelerating their payment timelines, advancing partial payments before final delivery, and by providing financing vehicles that help smaller suppliers access lower cost capital based on supply chain relationships. In addition, customers can provide demand guarantees that give smaller suppliers more assurance before they invest in new technology. Companies cite the high costs as the main factor limiting wider adoption of new technologies. These guarantees can improve their access to credit to pay for needed technology upgrades. A recent example is Additive Manufacturing Forward (AM Forward), where companies make firm commitments to buy 3D-printed products from their suppliers, providing a solid demand signal that supports the supplier’s investments.


Other authors are Karen G. Mills, a Senior Fellow at Harvard Business School and a leading authority on U.S. competitiveness, entrepreneurship, and innovation who served in President Barack Obama’s Cabinet, and Morgane Herculano, a Research Associate at Harvard Business School focusing on fintech and entrepreneurship.

Read the piece here.


Excitement Builds for World’s Largest Metal 3D Printer

Local news outlet talked about the new technology coming to Rock Island Arsenal in a piece titled, “Arsenal adds world’s largest 3D printer.” In the piece, reporter Sharon Wren says, “Multiple modernization projects are in the works at the Rock Island Arsenal – Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center, funded for more than $45 million. One of those projects is the Jointless Hull Large Format Tool, the world’s largest 3D metal printer, which is expected to be operational by spring. A commemoration event was held at its future site on October 24. It will be capable of printing components as large as 20-ft. by 30-ft. by 12-ft. and is designed to improve military vehicle protection by eliminating the seams in the hull, which are naturally the weakest part of a vehicle.”

She quotes Senator Dick Durbin:

“Rock Island Arsenal has always answered the nation’s call, from serving at the forefront of artillery production in the World Wars to producing essential components for ventilators and testing kits during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rock Island Arsenal has proven that it’s capable of modernizing to meet today’s challenges,” said Sen. Dick Durbin. “I cannot think of a more fitting home for the world’s largest 3D metal printer, which will have even broader impact than just the battlefield. I look forward to seeing the cutting-edge technology that comes from Rock Island’s new assignment.”

Sandboxx also covered the new technology in a piece titled, “THE ARMY IS GETTING THE WORLD’S LARGEST METAL 3D PRINTER. HERE’S WHAT IT WILL PRINT.” Reporter Hope Seck describes the printer as a “hulking feat of engineering big enough to churn out full-sized combat vehicles and even small boats. And an innovative printing method will make the parts the printer makes more rugged and resilient than what has been possible in the past.

The Jointless Hull Large Format Tool will be delivered to the Rock Island Arsenal Joint Manufacturing and Technology Center in Illinois by next fall. Soon after it will begin churning out projects not only for the Army but also for other U.S. military service branches and private industry contractors.

At 30 feet long by 20 feet wide and 12 feet tall, the printer is a rectangular behemoth that requires ladders just to allow technicians to perform maintenance on it. Additive manufacturing, or 3D printing, remains a developing technology with practical limitations concerning the materials that can be used and the durability of the printed products, so Army leaders decided to push the envelope with a machine an order of magnitude bigger than anything in existence.

Read the entire piece here.

3DPrint: AM Investment Strategies Panel with Neal Orringer, ASTRO America

ASTRO’s Neal Orringer participated in a panel discussion on AM Investment Strategies at an online summit hosted by SmarTech Analysis and Stifel Financial.

The panel covered topics like investment in the public markets, venture and private equity, M&A in the public and private markets, and the data: growth and expectations.


Orringer Joins Eisenhower Institute to Discuss Smart STEM Policy

On December 1, the Eisenhower Institute hosted Neal Orringer for an event entitled “Lunch and Learn: Smart STEM Policies.” Attendees learned about how STEM fields intertwine with public policy and can be used to create smart and effective government policy.

Here is the official write-up!

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