In an effort to accelerate development and adoption of cutting-edge manufacturing technologies for making new, globally competitive products with commercial and defense applications, the Department of Defense (DoD) issued a Request for Information (RFI) on future advanced manufacturing centers called Institutes for Manufacturing Innovation or IMIs. On July 14, IPC submitted two separate responses to the RFI in areas of particular importance to its members: flexible hybrid electronics and electronic packaging and reliability.
The DoD RFI solicited information on six technical focus areas that the agency is considering for future IMIs. These technical focus areas are:
- Flexible Hybrid Electronics
- Engineered Nanomaterials
- Fiber and Textiles
- Electronic Packaging and Reliability
- Aerospace Composites
Four IMIs currently exist and the DoD is expected to establish two more this year, each concentrating on a different technical focus area. The date when the DoD will release a solicitation for proposals of a future IMI is unknown at this time, but it is expected to be soon — possibly within the next couple of months.
IPC supports the Revitalize American Manufacturing and Innovation Act of 2013 (S. 1468 & H.R. 2996) to authorize a new public-private partnership called the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI). A top priority policy area for the association, this network of public and private partners would draw on the resources of the federal government, local governments, universities, research institutes and industry to fund the IMIs. Unlike other federally funded programs, which focus on basic research, the NNMI aims to bridge the gap from basic research to product development and commercialization. The four IMIs that have been established are:
- America Makes: National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (3-D Printing) in Youngstown, Ohio
- Next Generation Power Electronics Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Raleigh, N.C.
- Lightweight and Modern Metals Manufacturing Innovation Institute in Detroit, Mich.
- Digital Manufacturing & Design Innovation Institute in Chicago, Ill.
More information about the NNMI is available at http://www.manufacturing.gov/nnmi.html. For information on IPC’s efforts related to the NNMI, contact, Ken Schramko, IPC director of government relations at KenSchramko@ipc.org or +1 202-661-8094.