By Jerry Underwood
Made in Alabama
Carpenter Technology Corp. today announced the opening of its newest advanced additive manufacturing (AM) facility and Emerging Technology Center (ETC) at its production campus in Athens.
“We have chosen to further invest in North Alabama and continue to grow and develop here because it offers three important advantages — a high-quality, tech-oriented workforce, a clear connection with the aerospace industry and a close working partnership with state and local government officials,” Carpenter Technology President and CEO Tony Thene said.
“The state of Alabama continues to be an ideal partner for us.”
Carpenter Technology has invested approximately $40 million to date in the ETC and is expected to create approximately 60 jobs over the next five years, as well as help further the region’s position as an advanced manufacturing technology center.
“I have been looking forward to the opening of Carpenter Technology’s Emerging Technology Center since we joined with company leaders to announce plans for the facility at the Farnborough International Airshow in 2018,” Gov. Kay Ivey said.
“I’m proud to see this world-class R&D center call Alabama home as we continue to strengthen the partnership with our friends at Carpenter Technology.”
The ETC investment complements Carpenter Technology’s 500,000-square-foot Athens manufacturing facility, which began operations in 2014 and produces high-end specialty alloy products, primarily for the aerospace and energy markets.
The company has invested more than $600 million in its Alabama operations.
“Carpenter Technology’s new Emerging Technology Center will power game-changing advances in the company’s development of sophisticated new additive manufacturing technologies,” said Greg Canfield, secretary of the Alabama Department of Commerce.
“With the ETC, Carpenter Technology is bringing new capabilities to Alabama’s manufacturing sector, and I can’t wait to see how the work conducted there helps to shape the future for this great company,” he said.
Carpenter Technology’s 500,000-square-foot ETC becomes the newest AM facility in North America and contains true end-to-end capabilities. The ETC provides the capability to atomize a range of specialty alloys into metal powder and manufacture the powder into finished parts using AM technology (3D metal printing).
Its equipment for taking an initially produced part to a finished product includes the latest state-of-the-art quick cooling Hot Isostatic Press (HIP) system in the United States, as well as vacuum heat treating to optimize the material properties of high-value specialty alloy components.
Parts manufactured in the ETC can then be qualified for use in a range of cross-industry applications, from aerospace and transportation to oil and gas and energy.
Significantly, the ETC is designed to provide analytical insights throughout the manufacturing process via a digital thread, allowing Carpenter Technology to manage the entire manufacturing process under one roof with a streamlined workflow.
“Our Emerging Technology Center is a critical component of Carpenter Technology’s future growth and development and is aligned with our business strategy of evolving to an end-to-end solutions provider and influential leader in the AM area,” Thene said.
“We will use it as a base to launch future investments as we expand our soft magnetics technology platform, scale up additional powder operations and demonstrate a number of next-generation materials we have under development today,” he said.
This story originally appeared on the Alabama Department of Commerce’s Made in Alabama website.