Jul 11, 2016 | By Tess

Norsk Titanium AS, a leading company in additively manufactured structural titanium parts for the aerospace industry, has gained significant attention for its most recent endeavour: the creation of a factory for 3D printed aerospace parts in Plattsburgh, New York. The factory, which will be the first in the world to create titanium parts from Norsk’s patented Rapid Plasma Deposition (RPD) process, is expected to open by the end of 2017. The large-scale project has also received a significant amount of support, having initially secured $125 million in funding from the 2016 New York State Budget, $25 million from diverse investors and a recent $4 million from the State of New York in partnership with SUNY Polytechnic University.

According to the company, the recent funding will go towards financing the first 20 MERKE IV RPD 3D printers for the factory. This initial batch will allow the facility to cover a baseline production level of 400 metric tons per year of aerospace-grade titanium parts. Eventually, the facility is expecting to add another 20 machines to increase the baseline production level to 800 metric tons per year. The NY-based facility, which is expected to create over 500 jobs within the Plattsburgh area, will also receive additional investment funding from Norsk Titanium for a total of nearly $1 billion over the first 10-year period.

John Andersen Jr., Norsk Titanium’s chairman of the board, says of the project, “We are proud to be a part of the unwavering vision and leadership of [New York State] Governor Cuomo and are moving forward in support of his efforts to revitalize upstate New York with jobs, technology, and community pride. Our researchers have spent 10 years pioneering the Rapid Plasma Deposition process that is now ready to cut millions of dollars in cost from the world’s premier commercial and military aircraft, and with the foresight displayed in other sectors, the State of New York is the ideal place to launch this manufacturing revolution.”

Norsk Titanium’s innovative and patented RPD 3D printing technology consists of transforming titanium wire into complex and industrially sound components using plasma torches. The process, which takes place in a controlled argon environment, is said to create high quality titanium parts at 50-70% less cost and in 75% reduced time than similar manufacturing technologies. The innovative technology will help to develop Plattsburgh’s technological economy and presence.

“Today marks the beginning of a new era in the way aircraft, marine vessels, automobiles, spacecraft and many industrial products are designed and built,” said Norsk president and CEO Warren M. Boley Jr. “Not only are we creating jobs, huge economic impact and great visibility for the wider Plattsburgh community, we are also making history by kicking off a new phase of on-demand, near-net-shape manufacturing that sets a new benchmark of efficiency and customer responsiveness.”

In addition to the 3D printing facility, the Norwegian company will also be partnering with the North County Chamber of Commerce in Plattsburgh to develop a training program for the facility workforce as well as a STEM outreach program for local universities and schools, including SUNY Plattsburgh.

Currently, Norsk Titanium is showcasing a mockup of its MERKE IV RPD 3D printer at the Farnborough Airshow in England as well as a sort of petting zoo section, where visitors can touch and pick up parts made using their novel additive manufacturing process. Chip Yates, Norsk Titanium’s VP of marketing expressed excitement for the event saying, “This is our first trade show and excitement has been building. We have a full-scale mockup of our MERKE IV machine that has video monitors showing the conversion of titanium wire into structural aerospace-grade titanium parts for the world’s top aircraft manufacturers…This is the first time the public can see how our process works and handle the parts that result from it!”

 

 

Posted in 3D Printer Company

 

 

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