Delivering Manufacturing Innovation

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We the Geeks: “Don’t Be Bored, Make Something”

Have you ever considered what you might create with a state-of-the-art digital design studio? Have you ever thought about planning and printing a new pair of sneakers, instead of just buying some? Have you ever dreamt about what you would make if you had all the tools of industrial design at your fingertips?

Well, those dreams may be closer than you think.

A new generation of American pioneers is democratizing the tools of the industrial revolution and spreading them to students around the country. But these tools aren’t the rusty machines you might imagine – they’re 3-D printers, laser cutters, and water jets, and they give you the ability to make almost anything. Not only that, they may be coming soon to a school near you.

Announcing the first ever White House Science Fair, the President called for an all hands on deck approach to grow a generation of Americans who are, “the makers of things, and not just the consumers of things.” And at the 2012 White House Science Fair, the President met student Joey Hudy and launched his marshmallow cannon, noting that Joey’s motto was, “Don’t be bored, make something.” Responding to that call, citizens, communities, and organizations are coming together to give students the tools to design with their minds and make with their hands.

Can Service Save Us?

There was absolutely no way Ian Smith was suffering from posttraumatic stress disorder. He was sure of it.

He was O.K. He was living with his girlfriend in a suburb of Nashville working three jobs — mowing lawns, delivering pizzas, cleaning a local church. He was carrying a 4.0 average at Volunteer State Community College. Yes, he’d seen some terrible stuff during two tours in Iraq. But others had been through much worse. He’d never been wounded. He was alive.

Read more: http://nation.time.com/2013/06/20/can-service-save-us/#ixzz2XKLbNDYR

Defense firm chooses Indiana County

U.S. Rep. Bill Shuster and other officials on Thursday ceremonially opened the new headquarters of a national organization designed to provide technical manufacturing expertise to the U.S. military and the companies that supply it.

Called the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, the nonprofit organization, which is located at the Corporate Campus business park in Burrell Township, brings together businesses, universities and the government in an effort to improve the manufacturing process for parts and equipment used by the military.

Federal funds headed toward hardware accelerator

A partnership between four regional groups landed $1.9 million in federal funding as part of the Advanced Manufacturing Jobs and Innovation Accelerator Challenge.

Called the Agile Electro-Mechanical Product Accelerator, the multi-year project was submitted by the nonprofits Innovation Works, Catalyst Connection, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) and the Westmoreland/Fayette Workforce Investment Board.

Administration Officials Visit IMTS 2012

September 19, 2012 – IMTS Insider - The federal government has shown an increased interest in what it can do to support the U.S. manufacturing sector because of the positive role manufacturing plays in economic growth, job creation and national security. IMTS has always provided an unparalleled opportunity for government officials and their staffs to learn about advances in manufacturing technology, and IMTS 2012 was no exception. A number of Obama administration officials charged with revitalizing American manufacturing visited the show.

Hubs of Manufacturing: Let’s Get Started

August 20, 2012Brookings Institute - Hubs and clusters, institutes and ecosystems: In recent years, we and others have talked a lot about the morphology of innovation systems, which are frequently anchored by major centers of research and comprised of related regional clouds of entrepreneurs, orbiting firms, industry actors, and educational institutions.

Strengthening that optimal structure was the idea behind our companion proposals for the creation of a network of regional energy discovery-innovation institutes and the establishment of a program to aid and abet nascent clusters with competitive grants. And it is also the point of the Department of Energy’s Energy Innovation Hubs program as well as the several regional innovation cluster programs now running, including at the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, that have moved along these lines.

Baseline Energy Consumption

If a person wanted to buy a car, making a decision based on fuel efficiency is straightforward thanks to a well-accepted and uniform method of determining energy consumed under standard operating conditions – miles per gallon or mpg. But, if one were to buy a machine tool, which not only costs more but also consumes significantly more energy, one would be hard pressed to make that decision based on energy efficiency. This is because of the complexity of machine tools and their wide variety of applications. In order to have a simple metric to compare machine tool energy usage, akin to mpg, standardized measurement methodologies are needed. Such a methodology could also help assess machine process energy requirements and environmental impacts. This article discusses a first-of-its-kind effort in developing a simple, usable and practical methodology for evaluating machine tool energy consumption.

NCDMM and GKN Aerospace Proving the Viability of Sustainable Machining Cells

Although many civilians may not understand what sustainable machining cells are, the concept is at the core of new efforts within the Department of Defense (DoD) to manufacture sustainable products, which are less expensive and better for the environment. Recently the United States Air Force, GKN Aerospace and the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) collaborated to test and to collect data proving that machine cell improvements enabled quantifiable costs savings, reductions in water use and recycling of thousands of gallons of materials. And if that were not enough, the new technology increased tool life by more than 33 percent and reduced energy consumption.

Sustainable Military Manufacturing

For many manufacturing companies, improving sustainability of manufacturing processes is a daunting task – strategically, tactically and economically. All too often manufacturers quickly find themselves mired in the processes of assessing environmental performances, analyzing assessment data, identifying improvement areas and implementing manufacturing changes. However, opportunities now exist for companies to deliver optimized manufacturing solutions to the Department of Defense (DoD) that include consideration of sustainability. Thanks to global environmental security considerations and green technologies, sustainable manufacturing is a key driver of improved manufacturing solutions for private and public stakeholders, such as the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM).  First published in livebetter magazine, January 16, 2012.