Pontiac, MI - In light of President Joe Biden's announcement last Friday to increase use of advanced manufacturing tools by large manufacturers and their suppliers, Oakland County Executive David Coulter invited the President to come to Michigan to see its version of the successful program in action.
"The Project Diamond program has been one of Oakland County's most successful endeavors to help local manufacturers work together to solve the problem of scarce personal protection equipment supplies during the early days of the pandemic," said Oakland County Executive David Coulter. "But it has transitioned into a tool for these manufacturers to improve and increase the production of badly needed parts in an era of supply chain disruptions and shortages."
President Biden's Additive Manufacturing Forward – or AM Forward – announcement on Friday would create a nationwide, voluntary network of large manufacturers working with 3D printers and their suppliers to usher in an era of more productive and resilient manufacturers that are better able to compete in the global marketplace.
Since 2020, Oakland County has allocated $10 million in federal COVID-relief funding to support 244 local manufacturers to create one of the largest 3D printer networks in the county. The Project Diamond program was inspired by the interception of needed Personal Protection Equipment supplies by Chinese government officials and FEMA. There was a strong desire to leverage our manufacturing base to become more resilient and independent from global manufacturing and supply chain issues.
The program has since grown into a way for the companies to use the printers for other manufacturing processes, cutting the amount of time and cost it takes to make a wide variety of industrial parts that can be used in the automotive, defense, medical supply and aerospace industries.
Project Diamond also provided technical assistance and state workforce training dollars to the companies that received the printers. Some of the companies that participated:
- Air and Liquid Systems in Rochester Hills, was one of the 244 companies that received a 3-D printer through this program. Company owner Jim Miller says advanced manufacturing technology has become a game changer. Where a simple fastener used to cost the company $98 apiece to produce, the hi-tech printer allows the company to cut that cost to roughly $2.45.
- Total Door Systems in Waterford is using the 3D printer it received from Oakland County to make the clips that can be sent overseas to be assembled into tourniquets that are being sent into war zones in Ukraine. Company President and CEO Patricia Yulkowski, said the 3D printer put her in a position to be able to help.
County Executive Coulter also will extend invitations to Lockheed Martin, Raytheon Technologies and GE Aviation, prime defense contractors that have committed to targeting 30% to 50% of their external sourcing with small manufacturing enterprises that have adopted additive manufacturing tools.
"I intend to introduce these defense contractors to Unified Business Technologies, Metalmite Corporation, Michigan Customer Machines, Opatik Defense Manufacturing and Barron Industries, which are just a few of the 244 companies that received a 3D printer and are already delivering for the defense industry.
"The president today announced his AM (Additive Manufacturing) Forward program as a public compact with large OEM's and their US-based suppliers," Coulter added. "We want to introduce the President and the nation to Oakland County's public compact with 244 small manufacturers, that is about to grow to over 1000. We believe this is the key to bringing manufacturing back to the United States and have our small businesses work together to compete with the mega manufacturers of yesterday."