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Strategic roadmap to determine how additive manufacturing can impact the DoD casting and forging supply base
With a 67% reduction in the number of U.S. foundries since 2000, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) is facing challenges with the supply of domestically produced castings and forgings. Many of the parts required by the DoD are high mix/low volume parts, but today’s domestic casting and forging industries prefer high-value, high quantities, such as those found in the automotive and heavy machinery and equipment industries. In addition to capability and capacity constraints, government policies and workforce challenges severely limit the ability of small and medium enterprises, such as those found in the casting and forging industries, to supply the DoD.
The purpose of the project is to convene the U.S. additive manufacturing (AM) ecosystem, along with the domestic casting and forging ecosystem to determine opportunities for AM to augment or replace traditional foundry processes. Previous projects have been limited to the exploration of advanced castings concepts, resulting in direct printing replacements or tooling demonstrators. A more strategic assessment will be used to define and clarify the challenges and determine the opportunities for AM to complement the DoD casting and forging supply base.
The project team plans to deploy a three-phase process to generate a strategic roadmap that enables the utilization of AM technologies in the DoD casting and forging supply base. The approach will be grounded in strategy methodologies that allow all stakeholders to understand the challenges of utilizing AM technologies to augment casting and forging supply chain processes. The first phase will focus on discovery by identifying the current state while defining a vision for the future state, followed by conducting a prioritized gap assessment between the two. The second phase will involve functional analysis of the gaps to identify and prioritize plans to close the gaps. The findings will feed a project call to award up to seven projects that begin to address the identified gaps. Finally, the third phase is where the synthesis of the results will take place validating the roadmap with critical stakeholders to document the impact of the identified projects and assure execution in the future.