… In May, President Biden traveled to Cincinnati to announce Additive Manufacturing Forward, an initiative coordinated by the White House in collaboration with major manufacturers. The five initial corporate members — GE Aviation, Honeywell, Siemens Energy, Raytheon and Lockheed Martin — are increasing their use of additive manufacturing and pledged to help their small and medium-size American suppliers adopt the technology.
The voluntary commitments are intended to accelerate investment and build a broader domestic base of additive manufacturing skills. Because 3-D printing is a high-tech digital manufacturing process, administration officials say, it plays to America’s strength in software. Additive manufacturing, they add, will make American manufacturing less dependent on casting and metalworking done overseas, especially in China.
Additive manufacturing also promises an environmental bonus. It is far less wasteful than the casting, forging and cutting of traditional manufacturing. For some metal parts, 3-D printing can cut materials costs by 90 percent and reduce energy use by 50 percent.
Industrial 3-D printing, experts say, has the potential to substantially cut the total expense of making specialized parts, if the technology can be made fast and efficient enough for higher-volume production.