Biden touts plan for manufacturers to rely on small American firms for 3D printing

WASHINGTON — President Joe Biden announced Friday that five major U.S. manufacturers have made commitments to boost their reliance on small and medium American firms for 3D printing.

The White House said GE Aviation, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon and Siemens Energy have agreed to take part in the program, which Mr. Biden highlighted during a visit to United Performance Metals in Hamilton, Ohio. The president said the federal government is helping because the private sector has told the administration they can’t do it alone. 

“Folks, all of you know, every one of you know, that competitiveness and resilience of the American supply chain rests on tens of thousands of small-sized manufacturers like the ones I met here today,” Mr. Biden said Friday. “That’s where the supply chain in America is.”

The program was unveiled as Mr. Biden headed to the industrial Midwest to press Congress to approve a stalled competition and innovation bill that the Democratic president says is critical to bolstering domestic manufacturing and helping solve a semiconductor shortage that has delayed production of life-saving medical devices, smartphones, video game consoles, laptops and other modern conveniences.

“So every Republican and Democratic member of Congress, most of us agree on this,” Mr. Biden said Friday. “Pass the damn bill and send it to me. If we do, it’s gonna’ help bring down prices, bring home jobs and power America’s manufacturing comeback.”

GE Aviation and Raytheon set a goal of looking to small and medium firms for 50% of their requests for quotes for products requiring 3D printing or related technologies.

Siemens Energy committed to targeting 20% to 40% of externally sourced 3D print parts and will work with 10 to 20 small and medium firms to help improve their capability. Lockheed Martin has agreed to work with smaller suppliers on research to improve the use of 3D printing as an alternative to castings and forgings. Honeywell is offering technical assistance including part design, data generation, machine operation and post-processing to small and medium suppliers it works with.

The semiconductor chip problem has been building since coronavirus pandemic-related lockdowns shut down major Asian chip factories more than two years ago. Now it could extend past this year, despite the semiconductor industry’s efforts to catch up with demand.

There is bipartisan support for boosting domestic chip production, but lawmakers in the Senate and the House still need to negotiate over differences.

The House in February passed a version of the legislation that could pump $52 billion in grants and subsidies to the semiconductor industry to help boost U.S. production. The bill must now be reconciled with a Senate version passed eight months ago.

House Democrats also tucked in other priorities that have raised Republican concerns about the bill’s cost and scope.

The bill includes $8 billion for a fund that helps developing countries adjust to climate change; $3 billion for facilities to make the U.S. less reliant on Chinese solar components; $4 billion to help communities with significantly higher unemployment than the national average; and $10.5 billion for states to stockpile drugs and medical equipment.



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