With a constant need to improve the technology used by the Army, investment in advanced manufacturing is key. The Rocket City plays a big role in that.
“Huntsville’s obviously the focus of a lot of the advanced technology the Department of Defense (DoD) is trying to develop and grow over the years and eventually transition,” said Mike Docherty, Director of Manufacturing at the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM).
Earlier this month, the Pennsylvania-based non-profit opened its new office in Huntsville, which marks its first permanent office in the Southeast. The non-profit tasked Docherty with overseeing the office.
“As an engineer, the ability to work on projects that have a real impact to the men and women that are out there every day meant a lot to me. And that’s what attracted me most about the organization and attracted me to move to Huntsville as well,” said Docherty.
NCDMM has worked remotely with Redstone Arsenal for more than a decade to help the Army reach its technology goals.
“We support the Army and their efforts to transfer advanced manufacturing into the industrial base. And what that does is allow the Army to more quickly transition things into the field, into the hands of the men and women to help them do their jobs better,” said Docherty.
He said having a permanent office in Huntsville helps to locally support the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (CCDC) Aviation & Missile Center.
“We're much more integrated in what they do on a day-to-day basis now versus periodically traveling here to meet with them and work on different projects. I think they see us as more part of the team now,” said Docherty.
One of the ways they work with the DoD is through a program called “America Makes.”
“It's focused on additive manufacturing, 3D printing. So that was a big deal: getting a lot of that manufacturing out into the DoD hands so they’re able to print a lot of the parts that they need on demand instead of waiting a couple of weeks to get a part. They can move forward a lot more quickly than before,” said Docherty.
NCDMM is also exploring ways it can help encourage students into the manufacturing workforce.
“We’re working on putting together some initiatives behind that, growing that skilled workforce and familiarizing students with advanced manufacturing technologies early on so that we’re growing the workforce,” said Docherty.
To learn more about the NCDMM, click here.