Wabtec opens additive manufacturing facility

By Jack Burke08 June 2021

Wabtec has begun operations at Neighborhood 91, the additive manufacturing production campus at Pittsburgh International Airport’s Innovation Campus.

The new 11 000 sq. ft. facility is part of Wabtec’s efforts to drive innovation in the rail industry through its growing additive manufacturing capabilities.

“Advances in additive technology are changing the way we design and build the next generation of business-critical, sustainable products for our customers,” said Eric Gebhardt, Wabtec’s chief technology officer. “Neighborhood 91 and its one-of-a-kind additive ecosystem will help foster creative solutions to engineering challenges and breakthroughs in 3D printing. Our Neighborhood 91 facility and the other additive labs in Western Pennsylvania will accelerate new innovations that shrink lead times, reduce cost and increase reliability.”

Wabtec’s site at Neighborhood 91 features an SLM800 printer, which will produce state-of-the-art, large-scale, lightweight parts for rail industry customers. Production will include metal aluminum transit components like brake parts, heat sinks for freight locomotives, among many other rail applications. Applying additive manufacturing technology to some of these applications will reduce lead times by up to 80%.

The new facility is part of Wabtec’s initiative to use additive manufacturing to provide parts faster, with a simplified supply chain, applying advanced features that improve the application, all at a competitive price point. The company plans to use additive technologies to produce over 25 000 parts by 2025 in support of the internal supply chain.

The Neighborhood 91 concept is based on co-located capital resources at the core of the development. It will house a complete end-to-end additive supply chain ranging from the powders to production, testing, analysis and delivery. Neighborhood 91 tenants gain efficiencies in production, cost savings from on-demand printing, and access to a major international airport.

Neighborhood 91, developed in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh, is the first development of the 195-acre Pittsburgh Airport Innovation Campus. The location enables parts to ship immediately from the airport to any location in the world within 24 hours, which will improve supply chain performance and cut transportation costs.

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