Pfäffikon Schwyz, Switzerland – Oerlikon is expanding its global additive manufacturing (AM) business with a state-of-the-art R&D and production facility for additively manufactured advanced components in Charlotte, North Carolina. Oerlikon will invest around US$55.26 million in this facility in 2017 and 2018, and expects to create more than 100 new jobs at this site long-term.
As part of Oerlikon’s strategy to become a global powerhouse in surface solutions and advanced materials, the Group has identified additional growth areas such as additive manufacturing, which leverages its strong materials heritage, service reputation, access to markets, applications across industries and core competence in intelligently engineering and processing advanced materials and surface technologies.
Oerlikon expects the demand for additively manufactured metal components to increase rapidly in the coming years, making it one of the key growth areas in next-generation manufacturing technologies. Additive manufacturing is becoming increasingly suitable for the series production of advanced components. It is a technology that allows for the customization of products, the decentralization of production, change in design methodology, and efficiency in material usage. The transformational impact of AM is likely to redefine some of the more conventional manufacturing value chains.
Following the acquisition of the AM production company, citim, in Germany, Oerlikon is extending its AM competence and investing in the construction of a new facility in Charlotte. The investment is an important step for Oerlikon in lowering the barriers to a wider adoption of AM by industrial customers, who can leverage Oerlikon’s AM capabilities, from the atomization of metal powders to AM production and the post processing of components. The addition of the new site in Charlotte brings Oerlikon’s AM network to four locations globally. The Charlotte site complements citim’s sites in Barleben (Magdeburg), Germany; and Atlanta, Georgia, USA, and the new production facility for advanced metal powders for additive manufacturing and advanced coatings in Plymouth Township, Michigan, USA.
The new facility in Charlotte will offer U.S. industrial customers a single source for a full suite of integrated services for end-to-end advanced component manufacturing – from R&D, design, applications engineering, and series production to post processing. The Charlotte region is home to a rapidly growing number of global industrial, aerospace, and automotive firms. The Charlotte site will be fully operational in 2018. However, Oerlikon will already begin its AM business activities in Charlotte from the beginning of 2017 at an interim facility.
Dr. Roland Fischer, CEO of the Oerlikon Group, said: “Charlotte is an important step in our plans to grow our additive manufacturing business and our investment in key technology areas. I would like to thank our economic development partners in North Carolina and the Charlotte region for their support in our investment.”