America Makes Announces $6.4M project call to advance Sustainable additive manufacturing

Following the announcement of its previous project call valued at $11.7 million, America Makes in collaboration with the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) has announced another project call. 

Fundings worth $6.4 million for this project call were provided by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense, and the Research and Engineering Manufacturing Technology Office (OSD (R&E)). Furthermore, the number of awards and the maximum financial support provided will differ based on the specific area of interest being addressed. The request for proposal (RFP) for this project consists of two distinct documents. The initial document, known as the Open Project Call 2023, encompasses Topics 1-6 and offers a total of $1.2 million in federal funding. Following that, Topics 7-8, which concentrate on the Methods and Approaches for Sustainable Additive Manufacturing (AM) Operations, are allocated $5.2 million in funding.

“Fundamentally, this opportunity will help to accelerate the journey of qualifying AM materials, practices, and processes as we once again convene the brightest minds in the industry,” said Brandon Ribic, Technology Director at America Makes. “Through demonstration and evidence showing sustainable practices and quality control measures, we can further empower manufacturing and domestic supply chain stakeholders to embrace the full potential of additive technology.”

America Makes logo. Image via America Makes.

Diverse range of topic areas addressed in Open Project Call 2023

The selection of the six topical areas for the Open Project Call 2023 is a result of the actions taken by the Institute and its members. These topics emerged from the collaborative efforts made during AM Technology Roadmap workshops held in 2021 and 2022, which prioritized the needs identified in the five swimlanes: Design, Materials, Process, Value Chain, and AM Genome. In addition, America Makes and its members conducted several workshops to address the educational and workforce development (EWD) requirements of the domestic AM supply chain.

The Open Project Call 2023 comprises a diverse range of topic areas deemed essential for the progress of the field. These areas include Design for Dimensional Inspection of Internal Features via In-Situ Process Monitoring (Topic 1), Thermal Manipulations for Processing Improvements (Topic 2), In-Process Sensor Calibration, Characterization Methods, and Operating Limits to Yield Reliable Process Data (Topic 3), Frameworks for Utilizing Process Monitoring in Conjunction with Ex-Situ Inspection for Qualification (Topic 4), AM Process Pre-Qualification (Topic 5), and “Should vs. Could” Tool and Training (Topic 6). These topics have been identified as “critical for the advancement and enhancement” of additive manufacturing operations.

The project call for Methods and Approaches for Sustainable AM Operations includes Topics 7 and 8, which focus on the development and demonstration of sustainable practices and products in additive manufacturing. These topics encompass various aspects such as design, material selection and development, material handling, and recycling. The RFP specifically requests responses that outline methods and approaches capable of providing verified and objective evidence to support reliable AM operations, particularly in terms of operational qualification. The topic areas covered in this regard are Topic 7 – Analysis of AM Sustainability and Environmental Benefits, and Topic 8 – Methods for Demonstrating Operational Qualification.

Ribic expresses gratitude to the workshop participants, associated swimlane working groups, the EWD Advisory Group, Roadmap Advisory Group (RMAG), and America Makes membership for their contributions. This collaborative approach ensures that the identified and formulated topics serve the best interests of the AM community. “This is a prime example of how member input is leading to opportunities to execute and advance AM technologies and education and workforce development for the benefit of U.S. manufacturing competitiveness.”

National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) logo. Image via NCDMM.
National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) logo. Image via NCDMM.

Project call timeline details

  • Launch: Monday, July 10
  • Kickoff Webinar: Thursday, July 27 at Virtual TRX (Registration Required)
  • Membership Eligibility Deadline:
  1. Thursday, August 10 for those receiving federal funding (Topics 1-6)
  2. Thursday, August 10 for proposal lead (Topics 7-8).
  • Submission Deadline: Friday, August 25 by 5 p.m., ET
  • Anticipated Awards Announcement: Monday, September 25

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Featured image shows America Makes logo. Image via America Makes.