Alcoa is expanding its R&D center in Pennsylvania to accelerate the development of advanced 3D-printing materials and processes. Alcoa will produce materials designed specifically for a range of additive technologies to meet increasing demand for complex, high-performance 3D-printed parts for aerospace and other high-growth markets such as automotive, medical and construction. The $60 million expansion is under construction at the Alcoa Technical Center near Pittsburgh. According to Alcoa, the investment strengthens its position in meeting fast-growing demand for aerospace components made using additive technologies.
Alcoa also unveiled its Ampliforge™ process, a technique combining advanced materials, designs and additive and traditional manufacturing processes. Using Ampliforge, Alcoa designs and 3D-prints a near complete part, then treats it using a traditional manufacturing process, such as forging. The company has shown that the process can enhance the properties of 3D-printed parts, such as increasing toughness and strength, versus parts made solely by additive manufacturing. In addition, the Ampliforge process reduces material input and simplifies production relative to traditional forging processes.