Home Industry Alcoa Opens 3D Printing Metal Powder Production Facility in Pittsburgh

Alcoa Opens 3D Printing Metal Powder Production Facility in Pittsburgh

Lightweight metal company Alcoa has opened a new 3D printing metal powder plant at its Technology Center outside of Pittsburgh.

Alcoa will use the new facility to produce proprietary titanium, nickel and aluminium powders that are optimised for additive manufacturing of high-performance aerospace components. In April this year the company announced that it is now delivering 3D printed aerospace parts to Airbus.

The new powder plant is part of the  $ 60 million expansion of their R&D facility, that enables Alcoa to further develop additive processes, product design and qualification.

“Alcoa is forging a leadership path in additive manufacturing with a sharp focus on the critical input material—metal powders,” said Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld. “We are combining our expertise in metallurgy, manufacturing, design and product qualification to push beyond the possibilities of today’s 3D printing technologies for aerospace and other growth markets.”

alcoa-logoThe company’s expertise is based on a 100-year history in aluminium metal powder production and has invented most of the aluminium alloys used in aerospace today. In addition to producing powders, Alcoa is focused on advancing a range of additive techniques, including its recently unveiled Ampliforge process, a hybrid technique that combines additive and traditional manufacturing. Using the Ampliforge process, Alcoa designs and 3D prints a near complete part, then treats it using a traditional manufacturing process, such as forging. The process enhances the properties of 3D printed parts, increasing toughness and strength versus parts made solely by additive manufacturing, and significantly reduces material input. Alcoa is piloting the technique in Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

The new facility will also form part of Arconic after its separation from Alcoa and launch in the second half of 2016.

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