America Makes will put 3D printing at the center of its focus in MMX 2023.

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n our previous blog post, we discussed the recent updates and developments at America Makes, an influential organization in the additive manufacturing (AM) industry. During their recent Members Meeting & Exchange (MMX) in Youngstown, Ohio, the organization delved into the growth and progress of their programs in relation to the larger 3D printing industry. One of the key highlights of the event was Kimberly Gibson, the America Makes Ecosystem Director, sharing the findings of the annual Membership Survey. Understanding the insights provided through this survey is crucial for the organization’s future endeavors.

The Membership Survey revealed that most participants appreciate the efforts made by America Makes to keep its members connected and promote various member activities. These include in-person and virtual networking opportunities, participation in projects and advisory groups, and facilitated discussions to enhance industry knowledge. Workforce development also emerged as an important area of interest, with 69% of survey participants expressing their desire to learn more about future education and workforce development (EWD) opportunities. This is particularly relevant considering that only 20% are currently engaged in any EWD initiatives. Furthermore, 50% of participants expressed their interest in posting job openings through the EWD platform, indicating a need for effective recruitment channels in the AM industry. It was also noted that 39% of respondents struggled to fill job openings in the AM sector, while 39% had job openings in their companies.

The survey touched on the topic of training assets and resources provided by America Makes, receiving positive feedback from the majority of participants. However, platinum members expressed their desire for custom-developed training assets and mentorship opportunities, suggesting an avenue for potential future initiatives. Market research was another area of interest, with 59% of respondents indicating their curiosity about the projected growth rate for AM. Additionally, 54% considered knowing the total sales by revenue based on materials and hardware as important. The survey revealed a forward-looking mindset among the respondents, with 70% eager to identify the industries most likely to adopt or increase the adoption of AM—a significant finding that sheds light on the industry’s future prospects.

Funding projects that advance sustainability garnered a positive response from the majority of surveyed members, indicating their commitment to environmental considerations. Additionally, the participants expressed their interest in staying informed about capital investments happening in the AM industry. Ranking the technical needs crucial for advancing AM technology proved insightful. Overall, standards and project funding emerged as high-priority requirements. However, a deeper analysis by hardware, software, service providers, end-use companies, academia, and research companies revealed nuanced differences in their rankings. These distinctions highlight the specific needs and priorities within each sector of the AM industry.

The survey also sought feedback on the importance of various ecosystem needs for the continued advancement of AM. Two key priorities that emerged were initiatives to increase supply chain adoption of AM and workforce training. The diverse membership of America Makes reflects its 11-year journey, necessitating a thoughtful approach to future considerations. Recognizing the strength of partnerships, America Makes highlighted their collaboration with the Additive Manufacturing Coalition, which was officially announced at MMX 2022. This partnership resulted in productive educational forums that aimed to convey the value of AM to decision-makers in Washington D.C. The positive outcome of these endeavors was evident in the inclusion of AM-related language in the U.S. Congress report to the National Defense Authorization Act.

The MMX event itself had a unique touch. Each presenter walking up to the stage was accompanied by their chosen walk-up song. This personalized element added a lively and engaging atmosphere to the gathering. Notably, Jim McCabe, the Senior Director of Standards Facilitation for ANSI, shared that it was the first time in his career that he was asked to pick a walk-up song. He selected Todd Rundgren’s “Bang the Drum All Day,” a fitting choice as he approaches retirement.

Overall, the insights gathered from the Membership Survey and the discussions at MMX demonstrate the dynamism and evolving nature of the AM industry. America Makes recognizes the diverse needs and priorities of its members and the importance of partnerships to drive progress and affect change. As they continue their journey, the organization is committed to staying at the forefront of developments in AM and fostering a thriving ecosystem.

Marching to Our Own Beat: The Impactful Journey of the AMSC Roadmap

In 2016, the AMSC (Additive Manufacturing Standardization Collaborative) launched its roadmap, a groundbreaking initiative that has left a lasting impact on the institute’s history. Unlike most organizations that develop standards themselves, the AMSC takes a different approach by driving coordinated standards activity among additive manufacturing industries. The roadmap serves as the principal deliverable, establishing a common framework that addresses the gaps and deficiencies in the industry’s published standards.

The success of this initiative heavily relies on the dedication of the volunteers who work tirelessly to create a comprehensive and robust document. Fortunately, around 300 individuals from 150 organizations willingly stepped up to contribute to this “daunting” task. The resulting roadmap spans 400 pages, meticulously broken down into specific, useful portions. As facilitators, the AMSC relies on the expertise and insights of these dedicated volunteers to identify concerns and issues that need addressing in disseminating this technology.

The AMSC roadmap has seen several iterations since its inception. The first version, published in 2017, primarily focused on metal 3D printing in the aerospace, defense, and medical industries. The second version, released in 2018, expanded its scope to include polymer content, as well as gaps in the electronic and electrical products industry. The most recent version, v3, incorporated perspectives from the nuclear and oil & gas sectors, while enhancing metadata to improve index and search capabilities.

V3 introduced significant changes, including the establishment of a Data Working Group and a Precursor Materials Working Group, previously under Process Control. This version also saw revisions to sections on machine qualification, stratification, and in-process monitoring. Additionally, new sections dedicated to powder blending, powder mixing terminology, ceramics, and environmental health and safety standards were added. The qualification and certification (Q&C) section underwent a complete overhaul, with the addition of industry guidance documents and a more consistent approach to sector-specific Q&C processes.

While v2 managed to close some of the 93 gaps identified, v3 identified 41 new ones. In total, there are now 141 gaps, categorized as high priority (54 gaps), medium priority (64 gaps), and low priority (23 gaps). Out of these gaps, 91 require further research and development. Noteworthy high-priority gaps include post-processing hazards, finished material properties, additively manufacturing electronics (AME), nuclear AM component performance, and production and incorporation of AM parts in nuclear applications.

To explore the full breakdown of gaps, including the new ones in v3, anyone can download the AMSC Roadmap for free. This comprehensive resource serves as a testament to the industry’s collective efforts in advancing additive manufacturing through standardized processes.

Concluding the MMX 2023 event, the presentation touched upon a paradigm shift in the dissemination of information within the organization. The newly launched America Makes CORE platform replaces the digital storefront, offering a more accessible and user-friendly format for sharing information across the portfolio. This change comes as a response to feedback received regarding the previous platform, which was met with confusion and limited access to project data. The revamped CORE platform aims to further improve the value proposition for all stakeholders involved.

Innovation and progression often require a departure from conventional methods. The AMSC’s roadmap and the launch of the America Makes CORE platform serve as prime examples of embracing change for the betterment of the industry. These initiatives symbolize the collaborative spirit of the additive manufacturing community and their dedication to establishing standardized processes that will shape the future of this transformative technology.

Title: Discover the Enhanced User Experience of America Makes CORE

Introduction:

In the rapidly evolving world of 3D printing, staying up-to-date and connected to the latest developments is vital for professionals in the industry. This is where America Makes CORE comes into play, taking the role of a common language host for the “Body of Knowledge” associated with America Makes-funded projects. During the recent MMX 2023 conference, the team behind CORE showcased the functionality and improvements they have made to ensure a seamless user experience.

Improved Functionality:

Veranese, a member of the CORE team, highlighted the ongoing efforts to enhance the platform’s functionality and accessibility. With each addition, CORE aims to provide its members with a user-friendly interface for accessing data. The team has prioritized data formatting and language standardization to ensure the information is easily accessible and reusable, irrespective of its source. Their commitment is demonstrated by the development of an interactive portal, allowing users to directly engage with project roadmaps instead of relying solely on PowerPoint presentations.

Dashboard and Interface:

During the presentation, Saly introduced the audience to CORE’s main dashboard, designed with convenience and efficiency in mind. Users now have the ability to stay within a single user interface, streamlining their project searches. The introduction of a Favorites feature allows users to mark projects of interest, while automatic display of member projects provides immediate visibility. The dashboard also facilitates easy access to recent and popular searches, while enabling users to filter search results to find specific information promptly.

Streamlined Project Management:

Finding and managing projects within CORE has become more straightforward and intuitive. With the introduction of a new project manager feature, users can now download all project-related materials in one convenient and organized view. This tree view simplifies the process, eliminating the need to search for and download individual files separately. The development team made a deliberate decision to build America Makes CORE from scratch, ensuring a fresh user experience that stands apart from the older digital storefront.

Enhanced Reporting and Collaboration:

To meet the demand for comprehensive reporting, CORE now offers a robust reporting feature. Users can take advantage of pre-written reports and even create custom reports that can be exported to Excel, simplifying data analysis for further insights. Additionally, members can be granted contribution rights, enabling them to directly edit, upload metadata, and contribute deliverables to approved projects. By incorporating feedback from their membership, CORE strives to create an engaging experience and foster collaboration within the 3D printing community.

Engagement is Key:

Throughout MMX 2023, a recurring message resonated with attendees – the importance of active engagement. To keep the momentum going and drive progress within the additive manufacturing industry, participation and involvement from all stakeholders are imperative. By actively using and contributing to America Makes CORE, professionals can ensure the industry continues moving in the right direction.

Conclusion:

America Makes CORE has undergone significant improvements to enhance the user experience and provide a streamlined platform for accessing project data. With its user-friendly dashboard, simplified project management, comprehensive reporting, and collaborative features, CORE is poised to be the go-to resource for professionals in the 3D printing industry. To stay informed and take full advantage of these advancements, it is essential for users to actively engage with the platform. By participating in this collective effort, we can collectively shape the future of additive manufacturing. Stay connected and informed with the latest news and exclusive offers from third-party vendors by subscribing to America Makes CORE.

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