New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik toured Norsk Titanium in Plattsburgh this afternoon. After viewing the 3D manufacturing process she made an announcement with potential growth opportunities for the company.
Congresswoman Stefanik, a Republican from the 21st district, is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and was recently named chair of the Emerging Threats and Capabilities Subcommittee, which oversees science and technology at the Department of Defense. She announced that the National Defense Authorization act that passed the full committee includes language related to “additive manufacturing parts.” “It states that the House Armed Services Committee understands the significant possibilities that additive manufacturing 3D printing will provide to the Department of Defense both in revolutionizing the industrial supply chain as well as in providing radically new technological capabilities. And it specifically focuses on titanium as an opportunity. The language in the bill requires that the Department of Defense needs to provide a briefing and a report to the House on their plans to develop and improve additive manufacturing, i.e. partner with companies like Norsk Titanium.”
Stefanik says the measure is one step in a multi-year process in which the Department of Defense will recognize emerging technologies such as those utilized by Norsk. “Think about all of the potential aircraft and submarines. Titanium is used in just you know so many different Department of Defense weapon systems, aircraft, the F-35, submarines, there’s endless possibilities. But what’s really important is DOD will not have to invest in developing its technology internally. This is an opportunity for DOD to work with the private sector that has made significant technological advancements.” Norsk CEO Warren Boley hopes it will help the company, which recently began manufacturing using the titanium 3D process in Plattsburgh. He doubts there will be an effect on competition, noting their process is a patented form of 3D printing. “I’m not sure that I would look at this as a competitive issue. This is a pretty unique technology. This is a hammer in a 3D toolbox. There are screwdrivers and wrenches and pliers that are used for different jobs. So this is a very important and fairly unique patented tool for the Department of Defense. But other companies offer other 3D tools that would also have very important applications for America.” Garry Douglas, president and CEO of the Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce, sees vast potential for the Plattsburgh manufacturing plant if the Department of Defense follows through on the measure’s language. “This technology going forward not only offers a cost saving way to produce titanium components already going into all of those things but potentially for evaluation of some things that are steel or aluminum or other metals. But now this might be much be much more cost effective to replace some of those things. It’s as strong as steel but is much lighter at a cost that is comparable or less. So it is teeing up an enormous business opportunity. There is no bigger customer in the world than the U.S. Department of Defense.” Stefanik was presented with a plaque embedded with Norsk’s first production part.