Alcoa announced that it will invest $60 million to expand its 3D printing manufacturing capabilities.
As the world's third largest producer of Aluminum, Alcoa aims to grow its 3D printing sector by further developing its Westmoreland County Technical center, the Post-Gazette has learned.
Alcoa said that its new facility will focus on developing metal powders that can be used in 3D printing. It also aims to advance its printing process and the product design.
"Alcoa is investing in the next generation of 3D printing for aerospace and beyond," said Alcoa CEO Klaus Kleinfeld.
This move by the Aluminum and Titanium giant targets the aerospace market along with customers from the automotive, medical, building and construction industry.
As reported by Fortune, Alcoa sees a big potential in shaping metal with 3D printers. The facility is currently under construction in Pittsburgh and will be a part of the company's current research and development center.
The facility, of course, will be used to research advanced 3D printing techniques that will make the technology ready for large-scale manufacturing.
Aiming to combine modern and traditional processes, Alcoa is also developing specialized manufacturing techniques which merge this new technology with previous processes like forging.
The investment may be new, but the company states that it's been using the 3D printing technology for over 20 years.
According to the Observer-Reporter, 3D printing involves a process known as an additive manufacturing. In here, the 3D products are designed on a computer and then printed out of materials, such as metals or plastics, into one product.
Developing this new technology can be an important process in developing tools and parts, especially in the aerospace and transportation industry.
Despite the recent developments, there's still a lot of work to be done for 3D printing to become widespread in manufacturing.
But with companies such as Alcoa investing to develop, it won't be long before this exciting new technology becomes the norm.