Boeing and Northrop Grumman Have Joined AM Forward With Other Industry Leaders

The AM Forward initiative was announced just in May but already a number of leading players in the American manufacturing sector have pledged to it.  Most recently, Boeing and Northrop Grumman have announced that they will also be taking part, joining GE Aviation, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies and Siemens Energy. These seven leading American manufacturers, and early adopters of additive manufacturing, have committed themselves to helping smaller U.S. based suppliers to increase their use of AM. The goal is to help American manufacturing not only make a comeback but also to improve global competitiveness, transform shop floors across the country and bolster supply chains.

Through this move and AM Forward, Boeing and Northrop Grumman will help to continue the Biden Administration’s goal to continue to support American manufacturing. A goal which they believe will be best achieved through the continued adoption of 3D printing across the country. Sue Helper, Senior Advisor for Industrial Strategy at the White House Office of Management and Budget further explained, “A priority of this Administration is to lower the cost of the goods and services that families rely on, and one of the best ways to do that is to make more things in America, with more secure and more resilient supply chains. AM Forward focuses on additive manufacturing to help us achieve these goals. We applaud Boeing and Northrop Grumman for recognizing the benefits of promoting additive manufacturing in their supply chains and for making public commitments to support broader adoption.”

Boeing and Northrop Grumman

Northrop Grumman and Boeing have both been long-time users of additive manufacturing (photo credits: Northrop Grumman)

How Will Boeing and Northrop Grumman Contribute to AM Forward?

As you might remember from our coverage of AM Forward back in May, by joining this initiative, these companies are making a public commitment to purchase parts made using additive manufacturing from smaller U.S. based suppliers. They also will help to train the workers of their suppliers in 3D printing technologies, provided detailed technical assistance to support the suppliers’ adoption of AM and engage in the development of common standards and certification for parts 3D printed parts. These steps are all critical in not only increasing adoption of additive manufacturing nationwide (especially considering that the most prominent barriers in its adoption is lack of training and resources) but in making it a serious contender against many more traditional manufacturing methods. Additionally, both companies have agreed to other public commitments.

Boeing, for example, will increase the Boeing qualified small and medium sized supplier capacity by 30%. Additionally, they will provide technical guidance to meet both Boeing and industry qualifications requirements while targeting small/medium sized suppliers to compete for request for quote (RFQ) packages for products made using AM technologies. Meanwhile, Northrop Grumman will similarly target 50% of RFQ packaging for products, machinery, manufacturing tooling and manufacturing process development using AM or related technologies to be competed by US-based SMM suppliers according to the press release. Both have shown their commitment to the project, with Dr. Mellissa Orme, Vice President of Boeing Additive Manufacturing pointing notably towards accelerating AM adoption at scale as well as increasing the resiliency and capacity of supply chains and expanding good-paying jobs across the US as key goals.

Boeing has even integrated 3D printing parts into its own planes including the 787 (photo credits: Norsk Titanium)

Matt Bromber, Corporate Vice President, Global Operations, at Northrop Grumman, concludes, “Additive manufacturing (AM) is a leading-edge production technology that is foundational to U.S. global competitiveness and manufacturing resiliency. It enables new designs and sustainment paradigms. We know that the competitiveness of the U.S. defense industrial base relies on the capability of thousands of small to medium size manufacturers (SMM) producing and post-processing critical aerospace parts. Through AM Forward, government and industry can work together to adopt additive manufacturing at scale, increasing the agility, capacity, and resiliency of U.S. supply chains and supporting and sustaining jobs across the United States.” You can find out more in the official press release from ASTRO America HERE.

*Cover Photo Credits: ASTM International Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence (AM CoE)



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