NIST is awarding US$5 million to the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII) to fund project involving 27 companies, universities and national laboratories. Northern Illinois University (NIU) will receive US$2.4 million to develop tools for process control and qualifying parts made using AM processes.

“Improving additive manufacturing is an important part of the administration’s efforts to help US manufacturers by supporting new opportunities to innovate,” said Under Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST director Patrick Gallagher. “The public-private research partnerships led by NAMII and Northern Illinois University are tackling important measurement science-related barriers that must be overcome before this cutting-edge technology can be more widely used, helping America remain innovative and globally competitive.”

“It is good to be at the cutting edge of technology,” said Promod Vohra, dean of NIU’s College of Engineering and Engineering Technology, which will lead the research. “It is rewarding to be recognized by an agency such as NIST in our efforts to keep manufacturing vibrant and America competitive.”

Observers say additive manufacturing is being held back by a number of technical challenges, including inadequate data on the properties of materials used, limited process control, lack of standardized tests for qualifying machine performance and limited modelling and design tools. The new projects aim to address those challenges.

More information about the two projects can be found here.