America Makes is preparing to open its third Satellite Center, which will be based at Wichita State University’s (WSU) National Institute for Aviation Research (NIAR) in Kansas. An MoU was recently signed by America Makes and WSU-NIAR, through which the new center was agreed upon.
The upcoming Satellite Center at Wichita State will add to America Makes’ existing facilities at Texas A&M and the University of Texas at El Paso’s (UTEP) W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation. Notably, the WSU-based center will be the first hub to focus solely on aerospace additive manufacturing.
“On behalf of all of us at America Makes, we are pleased to announce the selection of NIAR as the site of our third America Makes Satellite Center,” commented America Makes Executive Director John Wilczynski. “For more than 30 years, NIAR has made a name for itself as the most capable university-based aviation research center in the United States, providing research, design, testing, certification and training to the aviation manufacturing industries.
“As our next America Makes Satellite Center, NIAR will have the unique distinction of being our first industry-specific Satellite Center solely focused on advancing the use of additive manufacturing within the aerospace industry. We are excited for this enhanced collaborative partnership with NIAR to get underway.”
WSU is already a Platinum-level member of America Makes, the national accelerator for additive manufacturing which is managed by the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM). Presently, America Makes has a broad membership community made up of approximately 220 member organizations, all of whom share the common goal of bolstering and advancing 3D printing technologies and applications.
The Satellite Centers specifically aim to extend the reach of America Makes’ mission by complementing and expanding its regional, industrial and technological footprint.
“America Makes is committed to strategically growing the Satellite Center infrastructure in such a way that brings the most overall benefits to our membership community and the additive industry at large,” explained America Makes Director of Partnerships & Community Relations Erin O’Donnell. “Within the areas of each of the Satellite Centers, we envision an ecosystem similar to what we have achieved within the greater Youngstown area. America Makes has capitalized on the strength of shared goals and synergies of local organizations, including the Youngstown Business Incubator and Youngstown State University, to advance the innovation in and the adoption of additive.
“Our goal for the Satellite Centers is to leverage the existing collaborative partnerships and further grow them into a larger ecosystem of additive specialization,” she continued. “With NIAR joining the America Makes Satellite Center infrastructure, we are very excited to focus on certifying and qualifying additive technologies within the aerospace sector. The outcomes of such an effort are poised to have a tremendous impact on our membership community, the aerospace sector, and the additive manufacturing industry.”
At Wichita State University, NIAR comprises a number of valuable research initiatives and projects geared to the aerospace industry. The institute is made up of 20 on-site labs with representation by many of the major aerospace OEMs. NIAR also houses the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Center of Excellence for Composites and Advanced Materials (CECAM) and the National Center for Advanced Materials Performance (NCAMP). These labs address safety, research, manufacturing and design elements of today’s aviation industry.
“I am very pleased that America Makes is expanding to include NIAR as its latest Satellite Center,” said Ryan Wicker, Ph.D., P.E., Director of the Keck Center at UTEP, upon learning of America Makes’ selection of NIAR as a Satellite Center. “As the first America Makes Satellite Center, we have enjoyed leveraging our relationship to expand opportunities in additive manufacturing both regionally and nationally by developing new educational programs at UTEP, developing and delivering training to active military and Department of Defense personnel around the globe, pursuing state-of-the-art research to advance knowledge and applications, and building a new regional economy around these technologies. I am personally looking forward to working with NIAR and the entire America Makes team on continuing to drive the additive manufacturing revolution forward.”
John S. Tomblin, Ph.D., WSU Vice President for Research and Technology Transfer and NIAR Executive Director concluded: “We’re honored to be recognized as a valuable research partner for the Institute. We have already seen great benefits as members of America Makes, and we expect our increased involvement as a Satellite Center to magnify those for us and for America Makes.”