Norsk Titanium is the only company that manufactures FAA-approved structural titanium components for the aerospace industry using a patented rapid plasma 3D printing technique. Based in Norway, its global manufacturing facility is located in Plattsburgh. On Tuesday, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo visited the plant and officially dedicated the facility.
New York State and SUNY Polytechnic invested $125 million to bring the company to the state. In September 2016 Norsk announced its 67,500-square foot Plattsburgh manufacturing plant had opened and a month later the first Rapid Plasma machines were installed. Nine are currently operating, four of which were installed last week. Eleven more machines will be delivered by the end of the year.
On Tuesday, Governor Andrew Cuomo made his first visit to the Norsk Manufacturing plant since the rapid plasma machines were installed and cut a ribbon with officials to officially dedicate the plant. “Titanium is basically the strength of steel but the weight of aluminum. So it’s always a better application if you could manufacture it in a way that would be cost competitive. And that’s exactly what this company does. This is my first view with these machines. I don’t understand it. (laughter) I watched the machine operate. It’s very, very impressive. How it does it I have no idea. But it works.”
The governor told a crowd of local officials and businesspeople that Norsk has brought groundbreaking technology to the North Country, joining the state’s growing clusters of innovation technology. “The potential applications are endless and that’s what Buffalo now having Tesla and Panasonic making the best solar panels in the hemisphere, Rochester with new technologies on photonics. But here it is about how do you make titanium parts faster and less expensive and how adaptable can you be.”
Norsk is producing parts for Boeing’s 707 Dreamliner. It has also partnered with Spirit Aerosystems, which builds larger aero-structures for customers including Boeing, Airbus, Sikorsky, Northrop-Grumman, and Rolls Royce. Chief Technology Officer John Pilla says they will use Norsk components. “The cutting edge technology being used here in New York is having an impact far beyond your state in our global aerospace economy and company. There’s potentially thousands of parts on a variety of programs that are candidates for this advanced process. Achieving a 30 percent reduction in part costs and being able to get those parts more quickly while meeting all the quality requirements is a differentiator for Spirit. And we are evaluating all our titanium parts for this process.”
Norsk Titanium CEO Warren Boley said the company looked at 48 states and decided to locate its U.S. headquarters and manufacturing plant in New York in part due to the innovation mindset. “I like to say that we can make in an hour or a day in the 21st century what took a year in the 20th century. So this is a very, very big deal. Today Governor Cuomo is making transformational investments in cutting edge industries like 3D printing here in Plattsburgh, in drones, in data, in solar manufacturing and energy storage and photonics that’s spurring 21st century industrial revolution.”
Norsk is currently leasing its manufacturing plant. A 100,000-square foot production facility will be built at the former Clinton County Airport. Construction will begin next spring and Norsk plans to occupy the new facility by late 2018 or early 2019.