Obama looks at new tech

In continuing efforts to lead the world in emerging technologies that could create high tech manufacturing jobs, President Obama this week launched the new Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee 2.0.

Obama first created the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership, or AMP, in 2011 to partner industry, academia and government in efforts to revitalize the manufacturing sector.

Among those appointed to the steering committee is Mahoning Valley native Eric Spiegel, president and CEO of Siemens Corp., a big supporter of Youngstown State University’s College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and Youngstown’s National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute, or NAMII, along with 18 other leaders in industry, academia and labor.

Work at the Youngstown NAMII facility focuses on experimentation for new technology expected to be the manufacturing of the future. Known as additive manufacturing or 3D printing, the process builds up objects, unlike traditional machining, which creates objects by cutting material away. Growth of the technology is challenged, however, by inadequate data on properties of materials, lack of standardized tests and limited modeling and design tools. Research at NAMII aims to address those types of challenges.

In a recent interview with the Tribune Chronicle, Spiegel said he believes additive manufacturing will revolutionize the industry.

“You have a lot of companies putting money into it because it’s really going to revolutionize the way we think about manufacturing.”

NAMII’s Youngstown connection played a big role in Spiegel’s decision this year to have Siemens donate more than $440 million in engineering software to YSU, one of the largest donations of its kind ever made by Siemens.

The inaugural steering committee called for, among other things, the establishment of a national network of manufacturing Innovation Institutes like Youngstown’s pilot project facility that was established with federal grants and other public-private funds.

This fall, that recommendation will come to fruition when three new manufacturing-innovation institutes will join the Youngstown location beginning the formation of a National Network for Manufacturing Innovation.

The original steering committee also called for sustained U.S. investments in science, technology and innovation; upgrading community-college workforce training programs; deploying the talent of returning veterans to meet critical manufacturing skills needs and improving the business climate for manufacturing investment through tax, regulatory, energy and trade reform.

The new steering committee will function as a working group of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology and will work closely with the White House’s National Economic Council and Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Department of Commerce.

It will be chaired by Andrew Liveris, President, Chairman, and CEO of the Dow Chemical Company, and Rafael Reif, President of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Others on steering committee with Ohio ties include Leo Gerard, International president of the United Steelworkers, and Luis Proenza, president of The University of Akron.