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Pittsburgh Company Among Tech Belt Innovators Honored

Governor Tom Corbett today honored three Pennsylvania companies for their work in developing a 21st century  innovation called "additive manufacturing", or 3D printing.

The governor toured the ACUTRONIC USA plant on Herrs Island in Pittsburgh before presenting the company with the Research for Advanced Manufacturing in Pennsylvania (RAMP) award.   ACUTRONIC, which manufactures precision motions systems for testing of navigation instruments and sensors, is a member of the National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute (NAMII).   Two other companies were honored:  ExOne in North Huntingdon, Westmoreland County and Paramount Industries in Langhorne, Bucks County.

Corbett said the new technology could change the way goods are manufactured and usher in a new industrial revolution for the state, but only if the innovation is given a chance to succeed.

“We would need to compete at every level if Pittsburgh, western Pennsylvania, and all of Pennsylvania are to return to their statue as the crucible of an industry,” he said.

The technology employs computer design and computer-driven machinery to build complex parts and devices in microscopic layers, using plastics or powdered metals. The technology makes it possible to create shapes and designs previously considered impossible through traditional manufacturing methods.

Corbett said while this technology was developed locally, it now has reached the next step, where it must be built locally.

“A generation ago, Mesta Company made the machines for the steel mills and the factories” he said. “If we take the lead in additive manufacturing, Pittsburgh could well be the place to which manufacturers around the world turn for their equipment.”

The National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute is a private-public partnership with member organizations from industry, academia, and government. Its goal is to transition additive manufacturing technology to the mainstream U.S. manufacturing sector and create a workforce capable of meeting industry needs and increasing domestic manufacturing capabilities.

Pennsylvania provided $5 million in state contributions to bring in an additional $30 million of federal funding, helping to locate NAMII in the “tech belt” region of eastern Ohio, western Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.