The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), an agency within the US Department of Commerce (DOC), has issued a notice soliciting participants in its recently formed Metal Additive Manufacturing Powder (MAMP) Consortium. The group’s work will begin in July, 2023, and the NIST will accept qualified members to participate on an ongoing basis.
The purpose of the MAMP Consortium is to bring together experts from industry, academia, standards organizations, etc., to collaborate on developing “pre-competitive measurement science and standards” related to metal powders used in 3D printing. Members of the MAMP Consortium will need to sign a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) (with some exceptions, subject to NIST’s discretion).
In this initial phase of the group’s activities, which is expected to last up to five years, participants will be required to contribute $25,000 to the organization — “or equivalent in-kind contributions”, presumably meaning resources and/or labor devoted to the research at hand. To begin, the Consortium will be focused above all on qualifying materials for laser powder bed fusion (LPBF) and directed energy deposition (DED) processes.
As I pointed out last year in a post about the ASTM’s International Conference on Additive Manufacturing (ICAM), the business trajectory that the AM sector takes over the next decade or so “will be signaled far in advance by the state of the sector’s ability to standardize as it scales up.” In other words, as it takes shape, the work done by NIST and other similar groups will, as a whole, constitute one of the most useful roadmaps for gauging in advance where the 3D printing market is headed.
This will be especially true in coming years concerning metal AM, where a more conscious and accelerated effort will be required to sufficiently universalize the underlying technological processes and inputs. Thus, $25,000 might seem like a steep fee for membership, but it will almost certainly be an investment with a uniquely high rate of return for whoever can afford it. Moreover, although direct participants will of course benefit the most, the entire industry should eventually reap the gains of the MAMP Consortium’s activities.
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