Companies like ‘Stratasys’ and ‘3D printing’ come to mind when we think of 3D printing. These are the giants, of course, but there are numerous other companies recently emerging, that are engaged in producing 3D printed parts for various fields. One of them is Alcoa Inc. which is engaged in the manufacturing of parts for aircrafts.
Though conventionally an aluminum making company, it has forayed into making 3D printed for the aerospace sector and has acquired stakes in Firth Rixson, RTI, and TITAL, and after the deals are done, the company will be split into two. The one being the original Alcoa firm making aluminum, and the other, Arconic, engaged in making specialty parts where aerospace will be 40% of its business.
Alcoa has already struck deals with Boeing and Airbus and has agreed to supply titanium 3D printed fuselage and pylon parts to Airbus. There are many other companies involved in the additive manufacturing of metal parts, but Alcoa has been into this field for over 20 years. In this competitive market, Alcoa has an edge because of its expertise, Ampliforge technology, and its scale of production.
Ampliforge technology is said to increase the strength of 3D printed parts and makes them more durable.
As of now, the company has spent $60 million on research and development in the field of 3D printing. Though there is not much light in this field for Alcoa as of now, but once it proves its Ampliforge technology, it could be manufacturing parts, patenting technologies and making inks to supply to companies for 3D printing.
With so much of expertise and knowledge in the metal industry, Alcoa could well go on to become one of the world leaders in metal 3D printing, starting first from the aerospace sector.