DIRECT METAL DEPOSITION uses inert gas as part of the additive manufacturing process to spray powder onto a surface where it can be melted by a high-power laser beam. Image: Courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Breaking the Mold: Could Additive Manufacturing Resuscitate a Once-Proud U.S. Industry?

This week key players from government, business and academia meet at Penn State to discuss new technologies and techniques they hope will lead to a resurgence in U.S. manufacturing

By Larry Greenemeier

The U.S. wants back into the manufacturing game, but the industry has had to weigh this desire to create new jobs and stimulate the economy against the reality of competing against lower operating costs elsewhere in the world. Whereas traditional assembly-line work may never return stateside in a big way, manufacturers and government agencies have begun placing bets on additive manufacturing technologies—including 3-D printing—that they believe could represent the industry’s future.

Just what this future will look like and how the U.S. might get there is the subject of a technology showcase this week at The Pennsylvania State University, sponsored by the school’s Center for Innovative Materials Processing through Direct Digital Deposition (CIMP-3D), along with the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII).

Read more: Breaking the Mold: Could Additive Manufacturing Resuscitate a Once-Proud U.S. Industry?: Scientific American.

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