April 26, 2023. Bethesda, MD – The Applied Science & Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) and the Guam Economic Development Authority (GEDA) released a Baseline Additive Manufacturing (AM) Readiness Report today highlighting that Guam has the basic building blocks for establishing a high-tech manufacturing sector on the island. The report is the first phase of a 12-month assessment on the viability of establishing industrial additive manufacturing capabilities in Guam.
“It is critical that we continue to identify and encourage new industries in our effort to diversify the local economy,” said Governor Lourdes A. Leon Guerrero. “An additive manufacturing industry can serve as a new economic engine for the island and support U.S. Department of Defense activities in the region. I look forward to continuing to work with ASTRO America to explore what we need in terms of public and private investment to make the industry viable and realize its full potential.”
Several Guam-based entities contributed to ASTRO America’s preliminary analysis, culminating in a workshop on: 1) composition of industrial AM capabilities and 2) on-island conditions that may be re-configured to sustain AM operations. Ultimately, ASTRO found that the building blocks are in place and an initiative would build off existing elements on-island. In fact, it appears likely that if sufficient funding were made available, such conditions could materialize to support a sustainable, productive 3D printing sector. Having factory-ready 3D printing capabilities could address both logistical challenges for U.S. Armed Forces and support the island’s economic goals to increase transshipment of parts to the continental United States and other parts of the Indo-Pacific.
The report further proposes the development of three related facilities to build AM capabilities on-island. They would be configured to leverage assistance and sponsorship from outside institutions, including external universities, U.S. and Allied governments, and industry, as follows:
- A Research and Test Center supporting prototyping capabilities as well as advanced quality inspection (e.g. metallography lab) to validate part production for use by DoD and other stakeholders.
- A ‘Business Incubator’ would provide a setting for existing contract additive manufacturers and start-ups to re-locate assets in Guam. The facility could host both 3D printers and post-processing equipment, under a shared infrastructure arrangement potentially supported by government.
- An integrated approach to education and technical skills training to enable long-term sustainability of this effort in Guam.
More details are available in the report, found here.
“For an island largely reliant on imports as well as the growing US military presence in the region, additive manufacturing could be a game-changer,” Neal Orringer, President of ASTRO America said. “When a part breaks down today, it can take several weeks if not months to requisition new parts—often at distances 10,000 miles away from where these parts are needed—creating significant supply chain issues. According to our findings, solutions may actually lie on the island of Guam itself—where strategically these capabilities need to be. With appropriate investments in science, technology, and engineering, we could see the island printing its own parts, eventually growing its own capabilities to repair and upgrade critical infrastructure needed to keep the region – and America – safe.”
“It is without question that Guam has the basic elements needed to support an additive manufacturing industry on the island,” said Melanie Mendiola, CEO/Administrator of GEDA. “With the Governor’s vision and support for developing this new industry, Guam will be able to create new STEM-related jobs and breakthrough additive manufacturing capabilities on the island that will meet the manufacturing demand from both the Defense and commercial sectors in the region.”
ASTRO America is currently working with the Guam Bureau of Statistics and Plans to complete Phase 2 of the feasibility study, which will focus on developing an implementation plan to establish an ecosystem tailored to distinct AM requirements as well as unique economic and geo-political conditions on Guam. It is expected to be completed in Fall 2023.
For more information on the Guam Accelerator Project, click here.
About us: The Applied Science and Technology Research Organization of America (ASTRO America) is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, non-partisan Research Institute and Think Tank. It was established in 2018 to advance the public interest through manufacturing technology and policy. Led by manufacturing professionals with broad public and private sector experience, ASTRO America supports collaborations by government agencies and companies to address supply chain challenges in highly regulated industries, including aerospace and defense.