Boeing Co. and Northrop Grumman Corp. have joined the Additive Manufacturing Forward consortium formed last spring to promote the use of AM and other advanced manufacturing capabilities among small and midsized manufacturers. AM Forward is a “voluntary compact” among GE Aviation, Honeywell, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies, and Siemens Energy, organized and supported by the Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America), a non-profit organization.
“The supply-chain crisis isn’t just about improving our ports. It’s also about innovating shop floors – right here in America’s small-business factories,” according to Neal Orringer, president of ASTRO America, the non-profit that organized AM Forward. “We look forward to working with Boeing and Northrop Grumman to advance AM Forward. These companies are leaders who are taking special care of their suppliers and boosting America’s competitiveness.”
AM Forward’s purpose is for the members to support their suppliers in adopting AM/3DP capabilities, in order to reduce lead-times for low-volume/high-mix parts by 90%, while promoting novel design approaches and cost-saving models. The partners committed to increase their demand for additive-manufactured (3DP) parts, and to provide training opportunities to suppliers’ workers, offering detailed technical assistance, and engaging in standards development.
As an AM Forward member, Boeing aims to increase its qualified small and medium-sized supplier capacity by 30% and provide technical guidance to meet Boeing and industry qualification requirements. including delta qualifications. Also, it will target SMM suppliers to compete on request-for-quote packages for products using 3DP technologies.
Northrop Grumman will target 50% of RFQ packages for products, machinery, manufacturing tooling, and/or manufacturing process development using additive or related technologies, to be completed by US-based SMM suppliers. And, Northrop will target the external sourcing of AM processes and parts from a SMM supplier.
“We know the competitiveness of the U.S. industrial base, including Boeing, relies on the capability of a wide spectrum of suppliers producing and post-processing critical aerospace parts,” stated Dr. Melissa Orme, v.p., Boeing Additive Manufacturing. “Through AM Forward, we are confident we can collaboratively accelerate AM adoption at scale; increase the agility, capacity, and resiliency of U.S. supply chains; and support and expand good-paying jobs across the U.S.”