AP&C unveils new “highly automated” additive manufacturing facility
September 13, 2017
By Manufacturing AUTOMATION
Sept. 13, 2017 – Advanced Powders & Coatings (AP&C), a subsidiary of Arcam AB and a GE Additive Company, has inaugurated its new $31-million additive manufacturing facility in Saint-Eustache, Que., which it says will welcome 106 new employees by the end of the year.
The plant will produce titanium powder — a fine, sandlike metal powder that 3D printers fuse together, layer by layer, to build jet engine and gas turbine parts from the ground up, describes GE. With a total production capacity of 750 tonnes and eventually 1,250 tonnes at full capacity, the “highly automated” plant, according to AP&C, will be one of the largest employers in the region.
“Our new facility represents a new and inspiring phase for Arcam and GE Additive, and a major step for AP&C at a time when we strive to respond to the growing demand for additive manufacturing,” said Alain Dupont, president of AP&C. “We are very pleased that the factory was delivered on time and on budget, thanks to the dedicated efforts of our team who led the development project. We are also especially thankful to our investors and partners without whom this accomplishment could not have been possible.”
The new plant will have 12 reactors, and GE says that access to power is one reason the team decided to locate the facility in Quebec, which gets 90 per cent of its electricity from hydropower.
GE says it has been “heavily involved in digitizing its factories,” noting that all machines at the new Saint-Eustache plant have sensors inside that collect data and allow the team to monitor the powder manufacturing process. The plant will also have a new R&D lab to develop new ways to make powders as well as powders from different alloys.
“We already have a lot of data, and we want to turn the plant into a fully intelligent factory that connects all the different stages, from production to inventory,” said AP&C chief technology officer Frederic Larouche.
“The need for high end titanium powder is driven by the fast growth and adoption of additive manufacturing. Arcam, AP&C and GE Additive are determined to serve the industry through cost efficient solutions thus converting traditional manufacturing into Additive Manufacturing. A requisite is to offer highest quality powder for production at competitive cost and sufficient volumes,” continued Magnus René, CEO of Arcam. “The new production facility is a significant commitment to the business and growth strategies for the future.”
AP&C received guidance, counsel and financial contribution of Canada Economic Development, Montréal International, Investissement Québec and the Quebec Ministry of Economy, Science and Innovation.