Norsk Titanium’s U.S. subsidiary will build and operate an industrial-scale metal additive-manufacturing plant in Plattsburgh, N.Y. According to the company, it is the first facility of its kind in the world. The state of New York, in partnership with SUNY Polytechnic Institute, placed an order for an initial lot of 20 of Norsk Titanium’s patented MERKE IV rapid plasma deposition (RPD) machines. The order is in accordance with an approved state budget allocation to facilitate construction of the facility and production of the RPD machines, which establish a baseline production level of 400 metric tons per year of aerospace-grade, structural titanium components. The plant is expected to be operational by the end of 2017.
Norsk Titanium’s proprietary RPD process works by feeding titanium wire into a set of plasma torches protected by a cool argon environment, making it possible to replace legacy forged parts with precision, additive-manufactured components. These components have equivalent strength to forgings but are delivered inexpensively and efficiently. The company recently announced a long-term agreement under which it and France’s Mecachrome will deliver finished aerospace structural titanium components produced by the RPD process to current Mecachrome aerospace OEMs and their tier-1 suppliers.