Ohio alliance wins $30 million for 3-D printing institute
A group of federal agencies has awarded $30 million to an alliance between technology-focused organizations in the Cleveland, Youngstown and Pittsburgh areas. The alliance -- which consists of a long list of companies, colleges and nonprofits -- aims to create an institute that would work to speed up the development of technologies related to additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3-D printing. Participating organizations have committed to matching that money with another $40 million. The Youngstown Business Incubator will serve as the central hub for the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute. The incubator is in the process of renovating a 12,000-square-foot building that will house the institute’s main laboratory. Additive manufacturing involves depositing thin layers of material, often plastic, one on top of the other to create what sometimes can be extremely complex parts. TechBelt collaborations have attracted federal money in the past, but never this much, said Rich Overmoyer, who through a Pittsburgh consulting firm helps staff the TechBelt initiative. The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute will serve as a pilot for what President Barack Obama hopes will be a total of 15 institutes focusing on different manufacturing technologies. In March, he announced a plan to invest $1 billion to create the institutes, but that proposal would have to be voted on by Congress. The $30 million came from five federal agencies: the departments of defense, energy and commerce, the National Science Foundation and NASA. The collaboration includes a total of 40 companies, nine research universities, five community colleges and 11 nonprofits in Ohio and Pennsylvania.