Congressman Tim Ryan Announces $85 Million Joint Public-Private Partnership Investment in the Tech Belt

Aug 16, 2012 Issues: Economy

RELEASE: Rep. Tim Ryan Announces $85 Million Joint Public-Private Partnership Investment in the Tech Belt

Consortium of Businesses, Universities, and Community Colleges from Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania Co-Invest with Federal Government in a Manufacturing Innovation Institute

Washington – Today, Rep. Tim Ryan joined U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and Obama administration officials to announce a landmark $85 million public-private partnership investment in the Tech Belt. The joint venture is called the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII), and is the first major investment of its kind to help revitalize American manufacturing and encourage companies to invest in the United States.

The Tech Belt Initiative was conceivedin 2007 by Rep. Tim Ryan, Rep. Jason Altmire (D-PA), and education, business and community leaders in the region to re-imagine the future of communities as a mechanism to increase the amount of venture capital, grants, innovation, research and development and government assistance in a broad array of industries that will strengthen the entire region. By promoting growth in biotechnology, advanced manufacturing, advanced energy, advanced materials, information technology and robotics, the group worked to promote sustainable economic development to move the Rust Belt into the competitive, global 21st century marketplace.

In response to today’s announcement, Rep. Ryan said:

“Back in 2007, many people thought the Tech Belt concept was pie-in-the-sky. A nice idea, but not practical. It was hard enough to get local communities together, let alone business, education and non-profits, they would say. Today is proof that our region can work together for the benefit of all. Today, our region has met the challenge and outpaced institutional giants like MIT and Georgia Tech.  As manufacturing in our region led the nation out of the Great Depression, this program of advanced manufacturing and the innovations that come from it will help us lead our nation into a manufacturing renaissance that will provide opportunity for our young people to live work and prosper in the Tech Belt.” 

Congressman Ryan was joined by U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown, Director of the National Economic Council Gene B. Sperling, Acting Secretary of Commerce Rebecca M. Blank and Under Secretary of Defense Frank Kendall along with other Administration and local officials, to announce the award at M7 Technologies in Youngstown, Ohio.  Five federal agencies - the Departments of Defense, Energy, and Commerce, the National Science Foundation, and NASA – jointly committed to invest $45 million in a pilot institute on additive manufacturing.  Today's announcement of an initial $30 million award under existing authorities is matched by $40 million from the winning consortium.

Youngstown, Ohio and the surrounding region demonstrate the potential to bring together the capabilities of America’s companies and universities, in partnership with the federal government, to invest in the cutting-edge technologies and skills our manufacturers need to compete. With this initiative, Youngstown is poised to become the epicenter of burgeoning new industries from its leadership in additive manufacturing or 3-D printing. 

The President’s proposal for a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation was endorsed by his Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee. The AMP’s final recommendations, released last month in the report Capturing Domestic Competitive Advantage in Advanced Manufacturing, outlined a set of actions to enable innovation, strengthen our workforce, and accelerate investment in America. 

Background on the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute:

The NAMII will provide the innovation infrastructure needed to support new additive manufacturing technology and products in order to become a global center of excellence for additive manufacturing.  This pilot institute will bridge the gap between basic research and product development for additive manufacturing, provide shared assets to help companies, particularly small manufacturers, access cutting-edge capabilities and equipment, and create an environment to educate and train workers in advanced additive manufacturing skills. 

Additive manufacturing, often referred to as 3D printing, is a new way of making products and components from a digital model, and will have implications in a wide range of industries including defense, aerospace, automotive, and metals manufacturing. Like an office printer that puts 2D digital files on a piece of paper, a 3D printer creates components by depositing thin layers of material one after another using a digital blueprint until the exact component required has been created.  The Department of Defense envisions customizing parts on site for operational systems that would otherwise be expensive to make or ship.  The Department of Energy anticipates that additive processes would be able to save more than 50% energy use compared to today’s ‘subtractive’ manufacturing processes.

NAMII is led by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining, and includes:

40 Companies:  Allegheny Technologies, AlphaMicron, Applied Systems and Technology Transfer, Autodesk, Boeing, Catalyst Connection, Energy Industries of Ohio, ExOne, FMW Composites, General Dynamics, General Electric, Honeywell, IBM, Johnson Controls, Kennametal, Kent Displays, Laser Technology Assts, Lockheed Martin, Lubrizol, M-7 Technologies, MicroFab Technologies, Morris, Northrop Grumman, nScrypt, OSRAM Sylvania, Optomec, Oxford Performance Materials, Paramount Industries / 3D Systems, Parker Hannifin, Plextronix, POM, RTI, Ruger, Sciaky, Stratasys, Stratonics, Timken, Touchstone Research Lab, Westinghouse Nuclear, Wohlers Associates

9 Research Universities:Carnegie Mellon University, Case Western Reserve University, Kent State University, Lehigh University, Penn State University, Robert Morris University, University of Akron, University of Pittsburgh, Youngstown State University

5 Community Colleges:Eastern Gateway Community College, Lorain County Community College, Northampton Community College, Penn College of Technology, Westmoreland County Community College

11 Non-Profit Organizations:Association for Manufacturing Technology, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, JumpStart Ohio, Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, MT Connect, NorTech, National Digital Engineering and Manufacturing Consortium, Ohio Aerospace Institute, Robert C. Byrd Institute, the Youngstown Business Incubator, and the Society of Manufacturing Engineers. 

More information available here:

History of the Cleveland to Pittsburgh Tech Belt

The Tech Belt by the Numbers

From Rust Belt to Tech Belt: A Timeline