Politics

Biden to announce 3D printing initiative to boost U.S. supply chain

President Biden on Friday will unveil a new initiative to boost 3D printing technology, making U.S. companies less reliant on the global supply chain and increasing investment in small- and medium-sized businesses.

The initiative, dubbed Additive Manufacturing Forward, will match large manufacturers with U.S.-based supply companies to use 3D printing technology to manufacture parts.

Mr. Biden will announce the initiative while speaking at United Performance Metals, which offers supply chain solutions to businesses in the metals industry. It is located in the Cincinnati suburb of Hamilton, Ohio.

The 3D printing market is expected to more than double over the next decade. It was valued at $1.3 billion in 2020 but could rise to $2.9 billion by 2030, according to data from Transparency Market Research.

A senior administration offical said manufacturing some parts from a 3D printer is cheaper and more efficient than traditional supply chain methods. It will also help wean the U.S. off the global supply chain, which has been ensnared in a bottleneck crisis since last year.

Additive manufacturing, which is also known as 3D printing, is a set of technologies used to build parts from digital models. It can be used to manufacture plastics, metals and other materials.

The federal government has already secured commitments from five companies to take part in the initiative: GE Aviation, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Siemens Energy, the official said.

GE is using 3D technology to manufacture fuel nozzles for airplanes. It said it would use U.S. suppliers for 30% of its parts manufactured with 3D printing, the White House said.

Under the agreements, the companies will pledge to buy 3D printed parts from U.S.-based suppliers. The companies will also train the suppliers’ workers, provide technical assistance and develop standards for the 3D printing industry.

Additive manufacturing technology is catching on but is still in the early stages. Machines and the software used in the process are expensive. Receiving purchasing commitments from large companies will remove some of the risks for suppliers.

Mr. Biden will also call on Congress to pass the Bipartisan Innovation Act, which includes funds for developing the use of 3D printing as well as investing billions in U.S. domestic manufacturing.

The House and Senate have passed different versions of the bill and are negotiating a way to combine both chambers’ legislation to draft a final version to send to Mr. Biden’s desk.

The president has pledged to sign the bill as soon as it clears Congress.

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