America Makes Hosts 3D Printing-Centered Field Trip for National Defense University

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School field trips are always an exciting time, apart from the occasional dud such as a trip I once took in fourth grade where the bus broke down at the halfway point and we spent all day contemplating the wonders of the side of the road until another bus picked us up and took us home. Students in the Manufacturing Industry Study Group at the National Defense University’s Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy in Washington, D.C. are about to embark upon a field trip that promises to be educational and highly stimulating. The week-long trip is hosted by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) and will take the students through Northeast Ohio and Western Pennsylvania to study additive manufacturing. During their tour of the region, they will visit the America Makes facility, home of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, as well as meet with local members of America Makes in order to gain an in-depth understanding of the way the technology is affecting the manufacturing industry.

The trip is an intense whirlwind tour, but this isn’t just an average sampling of the American student; the Eisenhower School is an elite institution whose program is designed to develop minds prepared to meet 21st century security challenges. The student body is composed of senior military officers, government employed civilians, and a limited number of individuals from the private sector, and the curriculum is focused on advanced manufacturing and material acquisition, as well as joint logistics in terms of their integration into the strategies developed for national security. Ralph Resnick, NCDMM President and Executive Director and Founding Director of America Makes, described the way in which these kinds of interactions support the educational goals at Eisenhower:

“We are honored to continue our long-standing partnership with the National Defense University’s prestigious Dwight D. Eisenhower School for National Security and Resource Strategy and its students who are studying to become our national security leaders of tomorrow. NCDMM is recognized as a leader with extensive knowledge and expertise in both commercial and defense manufacturing areas, as well as game-changing technologies like additive manufacturing. We are proud to play a strategic role in these students’ education and prepare them for their duties in shaping economic and defense policies and managing the resources vital to our national security.”

Beginning on April 2, the group will take a tour of the Arconic Technology Center (formerly ALCOA) located in New Kensington, PA and on April 3 they will travel to Youngstown, OH to visit M7 Technologies before spending the rest of the day at America Makes. While there, they will not only tour the facilities, they will also visit the Tech 5 Building of the Youngstown Business Incubator (YBI) and participate in a panel discussion with a number of AM experts from the local America Makes community. For the period of April 4 – 6, the students will travel through Western Pennsylvania meeting America Makes members and touring facilities such as General Electric in Imperial; Allegheny Technologies Incorporated in Natrona Heights, Brackenridge, and Oakdale; and The ExOne Company in Irwin, among others.

America Makes Executive Director Rob Gorham explained the goals and aims for this high level field trip:

“As a public-private partnership with member organizations from industry, academia, government, non-governmental agencies, and workforce and economic development resources, America Makes serves as a unique and invaluable resource for the Eisenhower School Study Group. During their visit to America Makes and our members, the goal is to have mutually beneficial and productive discussions that expand everyone’s understanding of how advanced manufacturing technologies, specifically additive, impact and relate to today’s strategic resource management and national security policy needs.”

The trip will conclude with a visit to Stonycreek Township, PA to see the Flight 93 National Memorial which pays tribute to the passenger and crew of United Airlines Flight 93, which crashed as passengers valiantly struggled to prevent the plane from being used as a weapon during the attacks of September 11, 2001.

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