The US government has awarded $3.4 million to support Manufacturing USA’s solutions to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) awarded $3.4 million in grants to support “high-impact projects” for Covid-19 pandemic response.
The funding is authorized through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act signed by President Donald Trump in March 2020.
The funding goes to four Manufacturing USA institutes, which are public-private partnerships working with academic and private sector manufacturing organizations on applied research and development and advanced manufacturing skills training.
Each institute focuses on an advanced manufacturing specialty such as biopharmaceuticals, 3D printing or wearable sensors, and robotics (see below).
Wilbur Ross, Secretary of Commerce, says: “I am pleased we have quickly provided these CARES Act funds to support the innovative projects contributing to our Covid-19 response efforts at the public-private Manufacturing USA institutes.
“When we operate at the ‘speed of business’ and work collaboratively across the government in partnership with the private sector, we achieve great things for our nation.”
Walter Copan, Under-Secretary of Commerce for Standards and Technology and NIST director, says: “The collaborative programs these institutes have built since the launch of Manufacturing USA have resulted in powerful networks including universities, inventors and manufacturers.
“These partnerships have allowed them to rapidly respond to the current pandemic with projects to expand production of needed medical countermeasures, provide workforce training, increase testing capacity and help manufacturers prepare for the future.”
The following project was competitively awarded to Wilder Systems based on technical merit and impact related to the Covid-19 national emergency:
Wilder Systems: Robots for Covid-19 testing
The Advanced Robotics for Manufacturing (ARM) institute will receive more than $600,000 to develop a safe method to use collaborative robots to automate much of the Covid-19 testing process. Current testing capacity is limited by the number of technicians in the US.
By augmenting the limited labor force with robots, the project seeks to increase the number of tests conducted at hospital and university labs and minimize exposure to medical personnel.
Wilder Systems, an robotics company specializing in developing automation solutions for the aerospace sector, will work with ARM on the project.