New industry could be running in 2 years

The 2022 Guam Industry Forum delved into the advancement of technology on island, specifically 3D printing, its benefits and potential for use for the military buildup and commercially.

Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America, or ASTRO, a nonprofit think tank advancing public good through manufacturing policy and technology development, took the lead in explaining to Guam Industry Forum attendees what it does and how it is involved locally.

“We carry out a whole range of activities, our predominant focus is around national security,” Neal Orringer, president of ASTRO America, said. “We work a lot to provide advice and counsel to top leaders in the manufacturing and we do a lot of national security research.”

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

“There are two phases, one is a feasibility analysis to understand exactly what the challenges and what the conditions are on island to satisfy the needs for building up,” Orringer said, later adding: “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 our phase one.”

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

  • Accessing current capabilities and needs for supply chain development.

  • Potential strategies for developing such a workforce and capabilities.

  • Potential demand, including U.S. government stakeholders.

Orringer posed a rhetorical question to attendees: “Why do we care about 3D printing and why does it make sense for Guam?”

“Our belief is the ability to print parts at the point of need, on demand, would allow such an incredible potential to address logistical challenges impacting our DOD customers, as well as commercial customers,” Orringer said.

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