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Oerlikon held yesterday a groundbreaking ceremony for its greenfield manufacturing facility in Plymouth Township, Michigan, USA. This facility is dedicated to producing high-quality advanced materials for additive manufacturing and high-end surface coatings in order to meet the increasing market demand for advanced metal powders. The new powder production capacity coupled with the advanced component production capability in the US and EU mark important steps in Oerlikon’s commitment to extend and strengthen the company’s advanced materials and surface solutions offering, and support the industrialization of additive manufacturing.
Oerlikon expects the demand for advanced materials to increase in the coming years. The facility will produce materials such as titanium alloys, which are in high demand for the additive manufacturing market, and diverse high-end thermal spray powders. The site will be fully equipped with next-generation VIGA technology, which combines vacuum induction melting with inert gas atomization systems. VIGA systems are one of the most versatile methods for processing a variety of metallic elements and alloys into metal powders, and bring higher process efficiencies and yields. In addition, the facility will house a state-of-the-art R&D lab for further developments of titanium-related and other alloys (e.g. nickel, iron and cobalt-based), for joint R&D projects with customers, and have the ability to make customized powders in small batches.
The powders produced at the Plymouth facility will serve the internal demand from Oerlikon’s advanced component manufacturing sites in Charlotte, Atlanta and Magdeburg, as well as the wider additive manufacturing and thermal spray markets. The end-to-end capability from powder production, advanced component design and manufacturing to post processing is a key part of Oerlikon’s value proposition to OEMs and their supply chain. The full suite of integrated services will be focused on meeting the needs of customers in the aerospace, automotive, energy, medical and tooling industries globally.
The construction of the facility will begin on March 3, 2017 and is expected to be completed at the end of Q1 2018. Oerlikon plans to employ over 65 highly skilled workers at the 79,000 plus square foot (around 7,300 square meters) plant and invest approximately USD 50 million in this facility. It also has the option to further expand and develop the site to meet customers’ demands. Oerlikon has engaged Kirco and Kirco Manix to develop and construct the facility.
Representing the state and local government at the ground-breaking ceremony were Kurt Heise, Plymouth Township Supervisor, Mark Lewis, Chief Building Official at Plymouth Township, and Warren Evans, Wayne County Executive. Mr. Heise commented: “Oerlikon is a tremendous addition to the Plymouth community. We are thrilled that they have chosen Plymouth Township for their high-tech facility and we look forward to partnering with them in the years ahead.”
Officiating the ceremony from Oerlikon, was Mike Tobin, President, Oerlikon Metco US Inc., along with other members of Oerlikon’s management team. Mr. Tobin said: “This new facility will expand our technology and materials competence and portfolio, and allow us to provide customers cutting-edge technologies in advanced industries such as additive manufacturing. I would like to thank the Michigan Business Development Program for their ongoing support, and we look forward to becoming a part of this community and contributing to it.”

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