Oerlikon, a global provider of surface solutions, equipment, advanced materials and materials processing, is inaugurating a new $55 million Innovation Hub & Advanced Component Production facility in Huntersville, as part of its ongoing US growth strategy. The facility will serve as a cornerstone of Oerlikon’s additive manufacturing business in the US.
The 125,000 square foot facility currently employs about 60 people and is fully functional. The additive manufacturing production facility is Oerlikon’s second location in North Carolina – the other site being a center that provides manmade fibers, in particular, carpet yarn systems. The new facility consists of R&D laboratories, a large-scale 3D printing area, CNC machining and high-pressure heat treatment facilities. The backbone of the plant consists of inert gas systems, chilled water systems, purified compressed air systems, as well as a tightly controlled temperature and humidity HVAC system. The plant is equipped with both a 400V and 480V uninterrupted, UPS and generator power supply system.
“This facility marks an important step in our investment strategy for growth,” said Prof. Dr. Michael Süss, Chairman of the Board of Directors, Oerlikon Group. “Additive manufacturing will play a decisive role in how industries and industrial processes will look in the future. We are committed to investing in this business and leading the industrialization of this technology.”
The plant in Huntersville will allow Oerlikon to 3D print titanium parts for the aviation industry, while its plant in Shelton, CT, provides 3D printed titanium parts focusing on the medical industry. 3Addivie manufacturing of metals and alloys ensures greatlòy increased geometric design freedom as well as enhanced parts performance by combining different materials. Leveraging the Oerlikon additive manufacturing experts, and implementing these technologies, companies can produce more complex and better-performing components, that are lighter and last longer, while also simplifying logistics and reducing their environmental impact.
Oerlikon employs more than 1,300 people in 18 US states. The company previously announced that it intends to expand its US footprint in upcoming years. This $55 million investment is part of the $400 million the company has invested in the US in the past five years. Oerlikon expects to invest another $200 million in the next three years, adding some 400 new jobs. The Huntersville facility will continue to add jobs gradually and is poised for expansion as the business grows.
“We are already working with customers in the aerospace, automotive, energy and medical industries in the US, and we anticipate continued growth in those sectors, as well as in others,” said Dr. Sven Hicken, Head of Oerlikon’s Additive Manufacturing business. “We believe that additive manufacturing can transform production in many industries, and we are excited that our presence here in North Carolina allows us to better demonstrate those possibilities to our customers.”
State and federal officials are speaking at the event, which is attended by over 200 customers, academicians and business leaders, as well as employees and their families. The company is also presenting a donation to a local robotics club to show its support for STEM learning and ongoing collaboration with academic institutions.