About the AM Forward Compact

Empowering the Nation’s Additive Manufacturing Ecosystem through Collaboration, Training, and Standardization

AM Forward Logo

AM Forward, spearheaded by ASTRO and in collaboration with leading institutions like Florida State University, Florida International University, and the University of Central Florida, aims to catalyze the adoption of additive manufacturing (AM) technology nationwide. Through partnerships with major corporations including Boeing, Honeywell Aerospace, and Lockheed Martin, AM Forward seeks to establish the state as a hub for AM innovation, particularly focusing on supporting small and medium-sized businesses in transitioning to modern manufacturing methods. Workforce development initiatives, such as the AM Forward Florida consortium, aim to cultivate a skilled AM workforce, while regional workshops and partnerships with educational institutions like the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) at Wichita State University facilitate training and collaboration to broaden 3D printing usage. Additionally, efforts to establish a common AM qualification template, supported by partnerships with aerospace manufacturers and federal agencies, aim to streamline the supplier onboarding process, fostering efficiency and innovation in the aerospace sector.

President Biden with AM Forward founding partner CEOs at launch event in Cincinnati, OH

AM Forward Consists of Three Main Thrusts:

COMMON AM QUALIFICATION

ACCESSING CAPITAL

REGIONAL INNOVATION & WORKFORCE

COMMON AM QUALIFICATION

ASTRO is accelerating and scaling AM adoption by developing a common template to rapidly and affordably qualify a metal AM process based on multiple OEM’s proprietary requirements.

Currently, ASTRO is partnering with three leading aerospace manufacturers, Pratt & Whitney, Honeywell, and GE, to make it easier for small 3D printing vendors to become their suppliers. Currently, each aerospace manufacturer has a different process for formally onboarding capabilities into their supply chains – validating that a new supplier or machine in their facility demonstrates repeatability, reproducibility, predictability, safety, and consistency in production. 

With this new partnership, rather than requiring small business vendors to go through each different process (depending on the particular engine company-customer), the companies are working with ASTRO to harmonize an approach for prospective vendors to become eligible 3D parts producers.

Specifically, ASTRO will work with these partners to:

  • Establish a plan and requirements for a common AM qualification template
  • Generate a detailed AM qualification template, based on Systems Engineering methodology, that defines requirements sufficient to meet OEM needs for Operational Qualification (OQ) and Installation Qualification (IQ).
  • Identify a specific material/ machine combination to demonstrate the common qualification template with analytic analysis conducted by ASTRO America.
  • Review the analytic demonstration results with a Government Advisory Team comprised of leading AM officials from several federal agencies.

More specifics HERE

ACCESSING CAPITAL

In a February White House event, Small Business Administrator Isabel Guzman and National Economic Council Director Lael Brainard announced that the partnership between Stifel North Atlantic and ASTRO America is the first recipient of a “Green Light” to raise private capital for an SBIC Critical Technologies (“SBICCT”) fund.

By pairing private capital with SBA administered leverage, the initiative will support private sector investment in US national security-vital component-level technologies and production processes. The structure will achieve the important mission of bolstering U.S. national security and the Defense Industrial Base without reliance on deficit funding, while supporting American small businesses.

Providing essential financial support to small and medium-sized manufacturers, and helping modernize key supply chains,and accelerate adoption of technologies such as metal 3D printing that are increasingly important to America’s defense and aerospace industries.

Officially called the AM Forward Critical Technologies SBIC, the Fund is actively fundraising and moving forward with the final SBA licensing process.

REGIONAL INNOVATION & WORKFORCE

Building diverse regional technology and education centers of industry, academia, and government to conduct research and development that will establish advanced manufacturing solutions to key critical supply chain challenges.

FLORIDA REGIONAL EVENTS

Wichita State – In February 2023, the National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) – part of Wichita State University (WSU) – awarded a contract to ASTRO to identify key small and medium sized AM suppliers in the Midwest that could benefit from free training at a future AM Workforce Development Center.  NIAR hosted an Workshop in Wichita, KS on September 27-28, 2023. More info here.

Virginia Tech – Coming Soon

Leading U.S. corporations who have signed letters of intent outlining their specific commitments:

President Biden with AM Forward founding partner CEOs at launch event in Cincinnati, OH

Why Additive Manufacturing (AM)?

  • AM is one of the advanced technologies changing the face of manufacturing.
  • It is broadly applicable across industrial sectors and has been identified as a foundational technology that, once deployed at scale, can greatly increase the agility, capacity, and resiliency of U.S. supply chains.
  • Additive technologies can reduce part lead times by as much as 90%, slash materials cost by 90%, and cut energy use in half as compared to forging, casting, and other legacy processes.

A laser melts metal powder, which cools to a solid. The laser melts in areas corresponding to a layer in a computer design. Credit: Beamie YoungNIST

Want to Get Involved?

If you are a lead system integrator end-user, you should have at least one small/medium-sized supplier identified as a co-participant. If you are a small/medium sized supplier, you should have at least one lead system integrator designated as a co-participant ready to submit a letter. If you are an equipment producer, please note that AM Forward is focused on connecting the end-user or their designated supplier who might soon be ready to acquire an additive machine capability.

The AM Forward Compact is being managed by the Applied Science and Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America).