Skip to main content

The North American Manufacturing Research Institution of SME (NAMRI/SME) has announced a new position paper titled, “Advanced Manufacturing Initiatives: A National Imperative,” that addresses the current state of manufacturing in the United States, makes several recommendations to drive the economy and offers support to various initiatives.

“America’s manufacturing sector holds significant promise for expansion and job creation,” said Shreyes Melkote, PhD, president of NAMRI/SME. “The impact of advanced manufacturing technologies extends to other sectors of the economy, with manufacturers contributing more on a dollar-for-dollar basis than any other sector.”

advanced manufacturing in america“The NAMRI/SME paper addresses several key U.S. advanced manufacturing initiatives, and NAMRI encourages investments in the scientific and engineering enterprise to generate new technologies, industries and jobs.”

The position paper identifies specific, actionable tasks in response to recommendations outlined in the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology report of the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership Steering Committee. It expresses NAMRI/SME’s support for these initiatives and others to ensure that the economic and social climate promotes the domestic manufacturing sector.

Advanced Manufacturing Initiatives White Paper

In the last several years, a series of significant policy documents and initiatives has raised the profile of advanced manufacturing and underscored its importance in the United States economy. The manufacturing sector has a larger economic multiplier than any other sector and is vital in exploiting and driving the American innovation infrastructure.

Reports addressing shortcomings in America’s advanced manufacturing environment were presented by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology (PCAST) in June 20111 and July 2012, the latter including 16 significant recommendations
from the Advanced Manufacturing Partnership (AMP) Steering Committee. The proposed national strategic plan for advanced manufacturing and the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI) design and pilot institute were other landmark
recommendations for capturing the domestic competitive advantage in American manufacturing. The importance of these proposals and activities to transform and profoundly impact the economy and well-being of the entire nation cannot be overstated.

In the 2014 State of the Union address, President Barack Obama declared that the United States is well-positioned for economic growth and announced additional manufacturing initiatives. Numerous economic indicators suggest a strong resurgence of
domestic advanced manufacturing, as long as a proper environment can be secured and maintained.

The North American Manufacturing Research Institution of SME (NAMRI/SME) brings together researchers from leading companies, government laboratories, academic institutions and industrial think tanks located around the world for the advancement of the scientific foundation of discrete-parts manufacturing. NAMRI/SME’s annual conference, the North American Manufacturing Research Conference (NAMRC), is a prominent international forum for the presentation and discussion of technical innovations and manufacturing research.

This NAMRI/SME position paper expresses support for the 16 recommendations presented in the July 2012 PCAST/AMP report, entitled Report to the President on Capturing Domestic Competitive Advantage in Advanced Manufacturing. Progress on the stated initiatives, and others, will ensure that the economic and social climate promotes the domestic manufacturing sector.

Through various administrative, legislative, and private-sector actions, there is momentum on several key PCAST/AMP recommendations, including an additional three announced and four projected institutes in the NNMI, support for community college-industry workforce development collaboration and a sustained policy of investment in advanced manufacturing R&D emphasizing the accelerated launch of technologies from lab to market.

Manufacturing Research Funding Worldwide

A June 2011 PCAST report, Report to the President of Ensuring American Leadership in Advanced Manufacturing”, noted that the environment for research in the United States is very healthy, with fundamental research leading to life-changing technologies that continue to astound the public. Flat-screen displays, lithium-ion batteries, solar panels, and so on, are fruits of American research. However, these American technologies are not manufactured domestically, even though labor is a small portion of the product cost.

One of the reasons for this situation can be understood in the graph below, which illustrates the distribution of investment compared with the level of devolopment in a product. In the United States, government-sponsored research is predominantly done in early stages of product development, and industry concentrates on the very late states. The gap in between is a space that is owned by neither entity — the so called “Valley of death.”

advanced manufacutring imperative

Download the Advanced Manufacturing White Paper

NAMRI/SME is encouraged by ongoing progress from PCAST and offers its support to help these programs succeed. The position paper can be viewed entirely here.