Shelby announces $3M for additive manufacturing research at Auburn University

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U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby announced Aug. 22 that the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology, or NIST, awarded $3,087,090 to Auburn University for research and the development of techniques to improve the additive manufacturing industry.

"Additive manufacturing is revolutionizing industries ranging from aviation to medical instruments to automotive," said Auburn University President Steven Leath. "Thanks to Senator Shelby, the state of Alabama is providing national leadership in developing and refining these technologies that foster economic opportunity, improve quality of life and strengthen our country's infrastructure."

“Auburn University has become a national leader in the field of additive manufacturing,” said Shelby. “This NIST grant will provide Auburn the unique opportunity to innovate and empower engineering industries, boosting efforts to promote the continued economic growth of our manufacturing sector. The research, training, and development that will take place as a result of this funding will allow the university to advance additive manufacturing and continue competing on a national stage.”

With the help of this NIST award, Auburn University will work to address various issues challenging the additive manufacturing industry. Specifically, the initiative will conduct cutting-edge research, train and educate graduate and undergraduate students, and develop and promote technological innovations that advance the pace of the additive manufacturing industry. This new funding from NIST will allow Auburn’s National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence, or NCAME, to expand its programs to include new research on metrology, which is the measurement and characterization of 3-D printed parts, and advanced process models that will allow engineers to predict the properties and performance of these 3-D printed parts. The research resulting from this grant will have a strong technical and economic impact on various industries in the United States.

In 2017, the NCAME was founded through a collaboration between Auburn University and the National Aeronautic and Space Administration, or NASA, and is currently conducting groundbreaking research and development that will advance additive manufacturing technology, provide appropriate standards to help this new manufacturing sector grow, and develop the workforce needed to keep manufacturing industries productive and profitable.

The center is also part of a new Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence, a collaborative effort among Auburn, NASA, global standards developer ASTM International, and the Edison Welding Institute, or EWI. Auburn’s NCAME aims to foster effective collaborations between industry, government, academia, non-profit organizations, and ASTM committees to aid in global efforts to close workforce development gaps in additive manufacturing.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn’s commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact.