Pittsburgh International Airport on Tuesday welcomed a global supplier to its Neighborhood 91 development, adding another link in what will become the world’s first end-to-end network for additive manufacturing (AM) and 3D printing.
Rusal America announced Neighborhood 91 will be home to the company’s new aluminum additive manufacturing powders business.
The announcement marks the third company to sign on to the airport development, which will transform a piece of land adjacent to the airport’s runways into an epicenter for AM. The company cited the advantages of being co-located with like-minded businesses on one campus near the airport as well as the close proximity to world-leading academic institutions.
Neighborhood 91, part of PIT’s 195-acre Innovation Campus, is the first development in the world to both condense and connect all components of the additive manufacturing and 3D printing supply chain into one powerful production ecosystem.
“By enabling sustainable operations, Neighborhood 91 is an ideal location from which to expand our presence in the AM powders market without compromising on our core sustainability principles,” said C. Brian Hesse, president and CEO of Rusal America. “We remain committed to enabling our customers to play a vital role in the sustainability value chain and to playing an active role in the innovation ecosystem at Neighborhood 91 in the years ahead.”
Rusal America, a global supplier of low-carbon aluminum to the United States, said its presence at Neighborhood 91 demonstrates its ongoing expansion to better serve North American manufacturers through its line of high-performance aluminum alloys designed specifically for AM. The company’s powders portfolio serves the aerospace and automotive industries.
As negotiations continue with several other companies, Neighborhood 91 has already assembled the additive manufacturing supply chain: powder storage, post-production and more. Two others have already signed on, including Fortune 500 company Wabtec, a manufacturing anchor tenant that moved into its new building this month.
Arencibia, a company that produces noble gases, including new and recycled argon, a key element used in additive manufacturing, was announced as the first tenant when the development broke ground in late 2019.
“Rusal America’s commitment to Neighborhood 91 is another important step in the evolution of additive manufacturing at the Pittsburgh Airport Innovation Campus,” said Paul Hoback, PIT’s chief development officer. “We are thrilled to welcome Rusal America as the latest partner, further demonstrating the viability of Neighborhood 91 and the success of its ecosystem as a first-of-its-kind AM powerhouse.”
Rusal America will lease space in the powder storage facility, which is under construction. Rusal America’s parent company, En+ Group, is one of the biggest aluminum producers in the world and one of the largest clean energy businesses worldwide thanks to its huge hydropower resources.
“Obviously, some of the features of the way the neighborhood is being constructed—onsite gas recycling, the microgrid, for example—those are things that help keep operations sustainable. Those are attractive to us,” said Adam Travis, additive manufacturing manager for Rusal America. “Also, the ability to grow at Neighborhood 91 is a critical enabler. The fact that we’re able to start out with the footprint that we have and then easily expand that over time as the business grows is very attractive as well.”
Travis said Rusal America’s powder storage at Neighborhood 91 will be the company’s focal point for supplying the U.S. market overall.
“But we’re also committed to working closely with and supporting the tenants there as well,” he said.
En+ Group recently announced plans to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the entire business by at least 35 percent by 2030 and to become net zero by 2050. The company said Neighborhood 91’s end-to-end manufacturing ecosystem supports those plans through co-location of capital resources, on-site recycling of inert gases, an efficient microgrid and reduced transportation emissions.