Alcoa Invests $60M in 3D Printing
Lightweight, high-performance metals giant Alcoa is investing $22 million in Hot Isostatic Pressing (HIP) technology at its facility in Whitehall, Michigan. The investment will enable Alcoa to capture growing demand for advanced titanium, nickel, and 3D-printed parts for the world’s bestselling jet engines. HIP involves the simultaneous application of high pressure and temperatures to significantly improve the mechanical properties and quality of cast products, such as blades and structures for jet engines. Demonstrating its support for the expansion, the City of Whitehall has approved a 12-year Industrial Facilities Tax Exemption valued at over $1,000,000.
"Alcoa is investing in the next generation of 3D printing for aerospace and beyond,"
said Klaus Kleinfeld, Alcoa's chairman and chief executive officer. Alcoa also recently bought RTI International Metals in Moon Township, another Pittsburgh suburb, for $1.5 billion. That acquisition gave Alcoa the ability to print 3D products out of titanium and other specialty materials.
Alcoa said up to $10 million in government assistance is being provided for the $60 million project through grants or tax abatements from the state, county, Upper Burrell Township, and Burrell School District. The State Department of Community and Economic Development is providing a $450,000 grant, $180,000 in tax credits linked to job creation, and up to $76,500 in job training grants.
Alcoa chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld said,
"Combining our expertise in metal alloys, manufacturing, design and product qualification, we will push beyond the limits of today's additive manufacturing. This investment strengthens our leadership position in meeting fast-growing demand for aerospace components made using additive technologies."
Alcoa expects robust global aerospace sales growth of 9 to 10 percent in 2015, driven by strong deliveries across the large commercial aircraft, regional jet, and business jet segments and sees a current 9-year production order book at 2014 delivery rates.
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