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Automation Alley | Gov. Whitmer Announces Wayne, Oakland, Macomb Commit to Expand Project DIAMOnD and Calls for Statewide Expansion of “Infrastructure for Innovation”

Michigan Business Network
May 30, 2024 1:00 PM


Counties will scale up Automation Alley's unprecedented network of 3D printers, delivering on governor’s vision to build the “Infrastructure for Innovation” businesses need to lower costs, boost output  

MACKINAC ISLAND, Mich.—Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer brought leaders from Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb counties together to announce their commitment to an expansion of Automation Alley’s Project DIAMOnD, a shared network of 3D printers that small manufacturers in all three counties can use to lower their costs and scale up their businesses, with a goal of eventual statewide expansion. This announcement is part of the governor’s vision to build out the “Infrastructure for Innovation,” shared technology or resources that entrepreneurs and businesses can use to grow in Michigan.   

“Today’s commitment by Oakland, Wayne, and Macomb counties to expand Automation Alley’s Project DIAMOnD will help us grow our economy, lower costs for small businesses, and build out the ‘Infrastructure for Innovation’ we need to lead the future,” said Governor Whitmer. “Looking forward, we can build on this momentum and expand this network of 3D printers statewide. At this year’s Mackinac Policy Conference, I am focused on unleashing Michigan innovation to solve some of the biggest problems we face and grow the cutting-edge industries that will help us lead the future while recruiting and retaining top talent to Michigan. Together, we will continue bringing public and private sector partners together to help local entrepreneurs and small businesses compete on a global scale. Let’s get it done.”  

“Project DIAMOnD was inspired during the dark days of COVID, born out of frustration about supply chain issues and dependency on oversees manufacturing,” said Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter. “It is giving Oakland County businesses access to 3D printing technology and training that is allowing them to dramatically cut production time and costs as well as keep manufacturing right here in Michigan. After our initial investment of $25 million over two phases, we are thrilled that Macomb, Wayne, and the State of Michigan are joining the program to make it a regional and statewide priority - and an opportunity for global competitiveness.”   

“We are pleased to partner with all the stakeholders on this very important initiative—Project DIAMOnD—an innovative move that will help increase access to 3D printing technology to Wayne County’s more than 300 manufacturing companies,” said Wayne County Executive Warren C. Evans. “Southeast Michigan has long been a national leader in manufacturing and automation, and in Wayne County, we are committed to keeping it that way. Making new technology more accessible is a significant step toward continuing our state’s history of innovation. I look forward to working with the state and our neighboring counties to help build upon our region’s successes and make Southeast Michigan a sought after destination for people to live, work and do business.”   

“The foundation and future of our economic advantage in Southeast Michigan is advanced manufacturing,” said Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel. “With world-class facilities and unrivaled talent, Macomb County is a destination where, from concept to consumer, no one does it better. This expansion of Project DIAMOnD statewide will strengthen our network of innovators with the cutting-edge tools and digital systems that will ensure we continue to be a leader in this space.”   

“Project DIAMOnD represents the future of manufacturing. Through cutting-edge 3D printing technology, comprehensive training, and access to a vast network of industry leaders, Project DIAMOnD is empowering small- and medium-sized manufacturers to accelerate their digital transformation,” said Tom Kelly, Executive Director and CEO of Automation Alley. “With support from Oakland County, and collaboration from the State and Macomb and Wayne Counties, we are putting our flag in the ground and building the world's largest additive manufacturing ecosystem—right here in Michigan.”  

Expanding Project DIAMOnD 

 Project DIAMOnD, which stands for Distributed, Independent, Agile Manufacturing on Demand, is a unique partnership forged by Automation Alley that was kickstarted in 2020 with federal funding thanks to Executive Dave Coulter’s pioneering leadership in Oakland County.    

Now, Wayne, Oakland, and Macomb counties have committed to expanding it with federal funding from President Biden’s American Rescue Plan. The expansion will help the more than 9,100 small manufacturers across all three counties access a network of 3D printers that many hundreds of local businesses have already used to lower costs, increase  production efficiency, or grow their businesses. Ultimately, the goal is statewide expansion, so small manufacturers across Michigan—in all 83 counties—can access this network. Getting this done would make Michigan a national model.   

Building the Infrastructure for Innovation 

Today’s expansion is part of Governor Whitmer’s push to build the “Infrastructure for Innovation” that entrepreneurs, manufacturers, and small businesses need to expand in Michigan. This includes boosting access to specialized equipment or technology like 3D printers that many businesses could use but few can access.    

By facilitating connections like Project DIAMOnD, Michigan can continue working with public and private sector partners to make even more tools and resources—the Infrastructure for Innovation—available to budding entrepreneurs and business owners. Bold, unprecedented initiatives like these are also talent attraction and retention tools and will help Michigan compete to bring top talent from across the nation and around the world home.   

Governor Whitmer’s Vision for Economic Development   

Governor Whitmer has a comprehensive vision for economic development focused on winning projects, supporting people, and investing in places. She called for four new economic development tools in her 2024 State of the State address 

  1. R&D Tax Credit: lower the cost of research and development. 
  2. HIRE Michigan: a payroll tax cut so the more you hire in Michigan, the more you save in Michigan. 
  3. Modernized Renaissance Zones: make it easier to drive investment and create jobs in underinvested areas of the state. 
  4. Innovation Fund: support for early-stage startups.   
Project Diamond


About Automation Alley
Automation Alley is a nonprofit technology business association and Digital Transformation Insight Center focused on driving the growth and success of businesses in Michigan and beyond through innovation and automation. With a global outlook and a regional focus, we foster a vibrant community of innovators, entrepreneurs, and business leaders through opportunities for collaboration and learning. Our programs and services help businesses develop the skills and expertise needed to effectively jumpstart or accelerate digital transformation. By bringing together industry, academia, and government, we aim to create a dynamic ecosystem that drives innovation and growth across Michigan.

At Automation Alley, our mission is to help businesses thrive in the rapidly changing digital economy by equipping them with the knowledge, insights, and tools to develop a software-first mindset that leverages the power of automation, AI, and other cognitive technologies. We believe that by working together, we can build a stronger, more innovative, and more competitive economy for the future. Visit automationalley.com.
  Photos as shared and provided by Automation Alley
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