Pennsylvania Awards Public/Private Research Grants for Additive Manufacturing
By James D. Sawyer
Acutronic USA (Pittsburgh), ExOne (North Huntingdon, PA) and Paramount Industries (Langhorne, PA) are the first recipients of Pennsylvania’s Research for Advanced Manufacturing (RAMP) awards. RAMP is a competitive funding program providing small grants to faculty-led university teams that engage in short-term innovation projects in cooperation with Pennsylvania manufacturers.
Acutronic develops, designs and manufactures precision motion simulators for the aerospace, defense, automotive and consumer industries. ExOne’s expertise lies in 3-D printing at prototype and production levels as well as micromachining processes. A 3DSystems company, Paramount Industries is involved in additive prototyping and manufacturing. The companies will work with teams from Carnegie Mellon and Lehigh universities.
With $1 million in funding from the state’s Department of Community and Economic Development, the awards in essence fund the work of one graduate student working on a company’s research project for one year. Other RAMP recipient companies and universities, to be named later, will share in the $1 million funding.
The initial awards were announced at a ceremony at Acutronic USA’s headquarters to celebrate Pennsylvania’s role in winning federal funding for the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), a public/private partnership that draws upon resources in the area of eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
NAMMII is intended to help bring AM into the mainstream of US manufacturing and create a highly-skilled, adaptable workforce.
During the award ceremony PA Gov. Tom Corbett noted that the future will demand an educated manufacturing workforce and to achieve this the public needs to be educated about the current and future state of manufacturing. “If asked most people what manufacturing is,” he said, “the response would look like something from 1955. We have not educated the public in what manufacturing is today.”
Stressing the need for manufacturing workers to be well educated, the governor said, “We need a production workforce as skilled with their minds as they are with their hands. We need to grow our education system for the jobs of the 21st century, not the 20th century.”