Oerlikon Opens U.S. Facility Devoted to Additive Manufacturing
Oerlikon, a provider of surface solutions, equipment, advanced materials and materials processing, has invested $55 million in a new Innovation Hub & Advanced Component Production facility in Huntersville, North Carolina, as part of its ongoing U.S. growth strategy. The facility is intended to serve as an important part of Oerlikon’s additive manufacturing (AM) business in the United States.
The 125,000-square-foot facility currently employs about 60 people and is fully functional. The AM production facility is Oerlikon’s second location in North Carolina, the other site focusing on providing artificial fibers and carpet yarn systems.
Oerlikon employs more than 1,300 people in 18 U.S. states. The company previously announced that it intends to expand its U.S. footprint in upcoming years. Oerlikon expects to invest another $200 million in the next three years, adding some 400 new jobs. The Huntersville facility will continue to add jobs gradually.
“Additive manufacturing will play a decisive role in how industries and industrial processes will look in the future. We are committed to investing in this business and leading the industrialization of this technology,” says Dr. Michael Süss, chairman of Oerlikon Group’s board of directors.
“We are already working with customers in the aerospace, automotive, energy and medical industries in the U.S. and we anticipate continued growth in those sectors, as well as in others,” says Dr. Sven Hicken, head of Oerlikon’s AM business. “We believe that additive manufacturing can transform production in many industries, and we are excited that our presence here in North Carolina allows us to better demonstrate those possibilities to our customers.”State and federal officials will speak at the grand opening event, which is expected to be attended by some 200 customers, academics and business leaders as well as employees and their families.
When Precision Metal Products purchased its first 3D printer last year, the company hoped to collapse both tooling costs and lead times. But the technology’s impact is reaching core business operations, enabling the shop to focus on higher-margin, lower-volume production.
A hybrid system combining metal 3D printing with machining gives the Marine Corps perhaps its most effective resource yet for obtaining needed hardware in the field. It also offers an extreme version of the experience a machine shop might have in adding metal AM to its capabilities.
A new metal AM system for batches of end-use parts was designed to permit productivity and machine pricing comparable to a CNC machine tool.