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Alcoa Sinking $60 Million into R&D Center for 3D Printing

Posted By Jeff Moad, September 08, 2015 at 5:55 PM, in Category: Transformative Technologies

In a move that could boost the use of 3D-printed parts for production, particularly in the aerospace industry, Alcoa said it is investing $60 million on an expansion of its Alcoa Technical Center near Pittsburgh, PA.

Alcoa said the investment will allow it to increase its focus on advanced materials, processes, and certification for 3D-made parts. Specifically Alcoa said the facility will allow its material scientists to develop and produce aluminum, titanium, and nickel powders specifically for 3D printing and that are higher strength and of higher quality.

At the expanded center, Alcoa said it will also use its testing and process control expertise to overcome challenges related to certifying new 3D-printed parts for aerospace and other applications.

And Alcoa said the expanded center will be used to create new manufacturing processes—such as its Ampliforge process—aimed at increasing the strength and reducing the cost and cycle times of 3D printed parts.

“Alcoa is investing in the next generation of 3D printing for aerospace and beyond,” said the company’s Chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld in a statement. “Combining our expertise in metal alloys, manufacturing, design, and product qualifications, we will push beyond the limits of today’s additive manufacturing.”

Alcoa’s investment could help address concerns expressed by aerospace OEMs and others considering 3D printing for production applications that, today, it’s difficult to certify the quality and strength of commercially-available powders and other materials for 3D printing.

Alcoa said the new R&D facility will be completed in the first quarter of 2016. The project is being supported $10 million worth of state and local government tax abatements and financial contributions.

Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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