Metal additive manufacturing company Norsk Titanium is advancing its 3D printing production at their Plattsburgh, New York facility.
In an interview with NBC, Chief commercial officer, Chet Fuller spoke about the aerospace industry and how their metal 3D printing technology is applicable,
They’re hopeful for anything that can reduce waste and increase efficiency,
The company are expanding production at the Plattsburgh facility with the intention of having 19 MERKE IV RPD 3D printing machines installed by the end of this year. In addition, Norsk Titanium is currently increasing headcount at their New York office to facilitate expansion.
Rapid Plasma Deposition
The Norwegian manufacturing company has received $125 million in funding from New York State to advance additive manufacturing. They refer to this technology as Rapid Plasma Deposition and it can be likened to wire arc additive manufacturing (WAAM). The RPD process has particular application in the aerospace industry. Norsk Titanium’s technique uses titanium wire melted with argon gas and then built up in layers using plasma torches.
British research is currently looking at the titanium additive manufacturing process with the aim of creating more cost-efficient abundant titanium. This FAST-Forge project aims to accelerate use of 3D printed titanium in the aerospace industry.
Future of titanium
Titanium has significant application in the aerospace industry for its lightweight characteristics, weight a favorable strength to weight ratio. However, as 3D Printing Industry noted in an interview with titanium manufacturers Metalysis, the attractive features of the metal are contrasted by high cost in relation to other metals. Processes like additive manufacturing aim to dramatically reduce manufacturing costs in order to truly unlock the potential of titanium.
There are a number of companies looking to unlock this potential, such as the South African project to produce the largest titanium 3D printer in the world. This project, called Aeroswift, has piqued the interests of Airbus and Boeing in recent months.
Within a decade, Fuller expects Norsk Titanium to have, “thousands and thousands of aerospace parts and lots of jobs.” It is hoped this first part will be a breakthrough opening the doors to further adoption by the aviation industry.
Featured image shows Warren Boley, CEO Norsk Titanium and Didier Evrard, EVP Airbus, with a Rapid Plasma Deposition printed part. Photo via Norsk Titanium.