Growing a Competitive Defense Manufacturing Force

The AIM Higher Consortium is a wide-ranging program funded by the Department of Defense with the goal of strengthening the defense supply chain in the Greater Pittsburgh region of Southwest Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

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The AIM Higher Consortium has Resources to Assist Manufacturers

AIM Higher is led by Catalyst Connection with over 30 academic, economic development, technology institute, and manufacturing partners from around the region. The Program is funded by the Department of Defense Office of Local Defense Community Cooperation (DoD-OLDCC). The AIM Higher Consortium will directly support DoD-OLDCC’s mission to enhance the readiness, resiliency, and innovation of the national defense manufacturing supply chain. This program supports that effort by providing comprehensive technical assistance to small- and medium-sized defense manufacturing entities in key technology areas. The objective is support to small and medium-sized manufacturers in the defense industry seeking to expand business and operational capabilities to strengthen the supply chain and create and retain jobs in defense manufacturing sectors.




Access to consortium members and partners who can assist manufacturing companies with advanced technology.



Defense industry supply chain, cybersecurity, technology adaptation and various improvement resources.



Assistance & grant opportunities to offset project costs that will make a company more successful in the defense supply chain.



The latest developments and national events related to defense supply chains and advanced technology.



View All of the Latest Resources.

AIM Higher Consortium provides industry information and resources to implement business improvements. By compiling resources from all thirteen AIM Higher partners, including several leading universities and research institutes, we place a wealth of information at your fingertips.

News & Updates

Case Study – Form Logic

The company OpenAI has offered ChatGPT for public use with great fanfare. This case study considers how ChatGPT and Large Language Models might be used in the manufacturing context. A student group in a new Carnegie Mellon course explored its potential at Formlogic (a new Pittsburgh company that specializes in high precision, low volume, high mix metal part production).


Case Study – Capsen Robotics

The project addressed three of the underlying causes for slow adoption among Small and Medium Manufacturers (SMMs) by lowering the cost (and time) of robot integration and by making it easier for users to deploy robots in high-mix, low-volume applications and to move the robot around to new work-cell locations in a factory.


Case Study – Liberty Hill Company

Northrop Grumman and Liberty Hill Company have expanded their partnership as Liberty Hill worked to complete its AS9100 certification. For increased contracting opportunities, Northrop Grumman has required subcontractors to acquire AS9100 certification for quality controls. MAMC guided Liberty Hill through this process helping them earn this certification.


Case Study – Huntington Plating

Over the course of five months, MAMC worked to cross-train and upskill Huntington Plating’s workforce. Two employees were taught the design engineering software, Solidworks. Two machinists were cross-trained in MIG, SMAW, PAC, OFC, and GMAW welding techniques and two welders were taught CNC operations and programming.


Case Study – Lumiaerospace, LLC

Luminaerospace, LLC began with an original product, the linear taxiway edge lighting, which offers increased visibility of taxiway boundaries at airports. IW helped Luminaerospace work towards building a local and US-based supply chain to be eligible to sell his product to the DoD. Luminaerospace is now expanding the applications of their technologies into other traffic lighting products.


Case Study – Reynolds Machine Company, Inc.

Reynolds Machine works with clients in the aerospace industry who demand Reynolds maintain AS9100 compliance. Catalyst Connection’s Craig Wilson performed the audit activities and completed the reporting activities to allow Reynold’s to continue to meet this quality standard.


Case Study – ESTAT Actuation, Inc.

Stuart Diller launched ESTAT Actuation, Inc. and first engaged with Innovation Works (IW) in 2018. Since then, IW’s AlphaLab Gear helped him develop his prototype of a rotational electrostatic clutch, and the Scalable Innovation Grant helped him build relationships with manufacturers.


Case Study – Valence Surface Technologies, LLC

Valence Surface Technologies, LLC, located in Indiana County, is an industrial coating services company specializing in metal pretreatment, passivation, anodizing, powder coating, and painting. Additionally, they offer specialized services in painting, plating, finishing, assembly, and special packaging.


Showcase for Commerce | Denmark drone, robotics company opening Johnstown site; JWF, CTC announce contracts

JOHNSTOWN, Pa. – A company from Denmark will open a robotics assembly facility in the Johnstown area, it announced during a press conference on Friday that concluded the annual Showcase for Commerce defense industry expo in downtown Johnstown.



If you’re a small or medium-sized manufacturer in the defense industry seeking to expand business and operational capabilities to strengthen the supply chain and create and maintain jobs, we’d love to hear from you. Please fill out the form and we’ll be in touch soon.