Global rail and transit manufacturer Wabtec has secured 11,000 square feet of space in Neighborhood 91, which is a printing hub based in Pittsburgh Airport’s Innovation Campus. The Neighborhood is reportedly the world’s first development to connect all components of the additive manufacturing supply chain into one ecosystem. In the new facility, Wabtec will use 3D printing to produce lightweight parts for transit customers and reduce lead times by up to 80%.
Eric Gebhardt, Chief Technology Officer of Wabtec said, “Additive technology is a key focus area for us that provides new capabilities to drive innovation where traditional manufacturing could not. This agreement continues our investment in resources that enable our engineers to design new and complex products for the industries we serve.”
“As the first development in the world to connect all elements of the additive manufacturing supply chain into a single location, Neighborhood 91 is the ideal location to fully realize the potential of this technology.”
Neighborhood 91 opens its doors to Wabtec
Wabtec will use Neighborhood 91 as a manufacturing facility to produce aluminium transit components such as brake parts and heat sinks for freight locomotives.
Wabtec has begun the construction process of the facility, which is expected to be completed by Spring 2021. The company will be able to ship parts immediately from the airport to any location in the world within 24 hours, which will cut transportation costs and improve the speed of the supply chain.
At the core of its development, Neighborhood 91 revolves around sharing man-made tools and its in-house end-to-end ecosystem will offer a wide range of resources from powder, parts, and post-production processes, to common powder storage facilities. The Neighborhood’s ecosystem will also provide tenants and their clients’ reduced cost savings from on-demand printing, as well as minimized transportation costs and airport access.
“Wabtec’s commitment to Neighborhood 91 is the latest example of our region continuing to move forward even in a pandemic,” said Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive. “A Fortune 500 company, Wabtec’s decision to select Neighborhood 91 for its next manufacturing facility is a huge step for the development and Pittsburgh International Airport.”
What we know about Neighborhood 91 so far
Neighborhood 91 was initially launched in 2019 by Pittsburgh International Airport and University of Pittsburgh. The Neighborhood was formed to be part of the Pittsburgh Airport Innovation Campus and was built adjacent to the airport terminal and runway. The campus aims to connect all parts of the additive manufacturing supply chain with benefits to lead times and delivery.
Pittsburgh is a historical manufacturing hub for America and became reputed as the ‘Steel City.’ In addition to Steel, the city has expertise in aluminium, glass, shipbuilding, petroleum and electronics production. Currently, Pittsburgh is working towards establishing the Pittsburgh International Airport as the ‘home’ for additive manufacturing through Neighborhood 91.
In 2020 The Barnes Group Advisors (TBGA) released a study, outlining the economic benefits that Neighborhood 91 could have for Pittsburgh International Airport. For example, reducing energy consumption, a simplified supply chain, competitive production cost and development in the workforce. The design of the campus housed a complete-end-to-end additive manufacturing ecosystem and featured necessary components that make up the 3D printing supply chain.
“Part of our vision as an airport is to advance the region’s role as a world leader,” said Christina Cassotis, CEO of Pittsburgh International Airport. “Neighbourhood 91 is designed for industry leaders like Wabtec to advance the application of additive technologies for their customers. By condensing the supply chain, this campus will accelerate the adoption of additive in the manufacturing space.”
End-to-end manufacturing in 3D printing
Over the years, several additive manufacturing hubs have been developed to create end-to-end products. In September 2020 industrial manufacturing firm Siemens opened up its Advance Manufacturing Transformation Center (AMTC) in Singapore. The center is a one-stop advanced manufacturing ecosystem facilitating the transition into 3D printing and Industry 4.0. Deemed to be the first competence center of its kind, the 800 square metres AMTC is made up of a Digital Enterprise Experience Centre (DEX), Additive Manufacturing Experience Center (AMEC), and Rental Labs.
Elsewhere, California has seen an addition of an Advanced Manufacturing Laboratory (AML), from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) which intends to enhance research using additive manufacturing equipment. Meanwhile, this year the Jabil 3D printing center of excellence established itself for end-to-end scaled production of medical services in the healthcare and dental sector.
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Feature image shows construction underway at the Neighborhood 91 site.