USA: Alcoa to Print Aerospace Parts 3D Printing Metal Powder Plant
Lightweight metals producer Alcoa has opened a 3D printing metal powder production facility. The company will produce proprietary titanium, nickel and aluminum powders optimized for 3D printed aerospace parts at its research centre in Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh/USA – Alcoa also has invested in a range of technologies to further develop additive processes, product design and qualification. “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”, said Alcoa Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Klaus Kleinfeld.
Metal powders used for 3D printing durable, high-quality aerospace parts are available in limited quantities. Through this expansion, announced in September 2015, Alcoa intends to develop materials with the specific properties needed to 3D print high-performance components.
The plant is part of a $ 60 million investment in advanced 3D printing materials and processes that builds on the Company’s 3D printing capabilities in California, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Texas. In addition to producing powders, Alcoa is focused on advancing a range of additive techniques, including its Ampliforge process, a hybrid technique that combines additive and traditional manufacturing. Using this process, the company designs and 3D prints a near complete part, then treats it using a traditional manufacturing process, such as forging. The manufacturer is piloting the technique in Pittsburgh and Cleveland. Airbus recently selected Alcoa to supply 3D printed titanium fuselage and engine pylon parts for commercial aircraft.