ASTRO Brings AM Expert to Rock Island Arsenal to Manage OTA, Associated Projects, and Resulting Growth in the Quad Cities Region 

Will Soon Announce Schedule of Workshops, Industry Days, and Funding Opportunities Available Through OTA

August 24, 2022. Bethesda, MD –  The Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) announced it will manage a $95 million Other Transaction Agreement (OTA) to develop additive and advanced manufacturing technologies for the U.S. Army. ASTRO will carry out this work over a period of five years, to begin immediately, under the direction of the United States Army Contracting Command – Detroit Arsenal (ACC-DTA) on behalf of the Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Ground Vehicle Systems Center (GVSC).

Under the OTA, ASTRO will leverage the world’s largest 3D Printer located at the Rock Island Arsenal and the subsection tool AM machine located at Detroit Arsenal. ASTRO will utilize those machines to build prototype models based on material and process application and exploration, capability modeling, development, and implementation of Additive Manufacturing (AM) and Advanced Manufacturing (AdvM) specific to the development of large-scale components.

“ASTRO is honored to support the U.S. Army in its efforts to modernize manufacturing processes,” said Neal Orringer, CEO of ASTRO America. “We are especially pleased to do this work at Rock Island Arsenal, the Army’s own Center of Excellence for Advanced Manufacturing, where we already have deep connections through our Jointless Hull Program.”

The company is pleased to announce hiring Ricardo Rodriguez as Principal Project Engineer to manage the OTA, associated projects, and resulting growth in the Quad Cities region. Rodriguez is an AM expert with extensive experience, coming to Rock Island from Essex Furukawa Magnet Wire, where he worked as a Principal Research Engineer.

Previously, Rodriguez worked as a guest researcher at the Army Research Lab for 3D Systems as part of the Open Campus initiative for 3D Systems Corporation; a contract research engineer focusing on early term R&D projects utilizing additive manufacturing systems for aerospace and defense applications for the U.S. Army Research Laboratory; and a research assistant for The University of Texas at El Paso.

“I like to think this is just the first of many new hires that we are going to see in the Quad Cities region as a result of this OTA,” Orringer said. “We see this as an opportunity to bring new investment to Rock Island – creating very skilled, high-tech jobs. All while helping the Army achieve its stated goal of modernizing its manufacturing processes.”

As ASTRO carries out this work, it will be focused on, not just the building of the world’s largest 3D metal printer, but also developing design case uses for the machine. To begin that process, ASTRO will soon announce a schedule of workshops, industry days, and funding opportunities available through the OTA.

“This OTA means ASTRO is open for business,” said Orringer. “Anyone and everyone, outside of GVSC, involved with advanced manufacturing might want to consider using this OTA to continue their research and development quickly and efficiently.”

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About ASTRO America

The Applied Science and Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, non-partisan Research Institute and Think Tank. It was established in 2018 to advance the public interest through manufacturing technology and policy. Led by manufacturing professionals with broad public and private sector experience, ASTRO America supports collaborations by government agencies and companies to address supply chain challenges in highly regulated industries, including aerospace and defense.

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This effort was sponsored by the U.S. Government under Other Transaction Agreement number W56HZV-22-9-D001 with ASTRO. The U.S. Government is authorized to reproduce and distribute reprints for Governmental purposes notwithstanding any copyright notation herein.

The views and conclusions contained herein are those of the authors and should not be interpreted as necessarily representing the official policies or endorsements, either expressed or implied, of the U.S. Government.