PITTSBURGH—Wabtec Corp. recently started operations at Neighborhood 91 (N91), an additive manufacturing production facility at Pittsburgh International Airport’s Innovation Campus. The new 11,000-sq-ft facility builds upon Wabtec’s efforts to drive innovation in the rail industry through its growing additive manufacturing capabilities.
“Neighborhood 91 and its one-of-a-kind additive ecosystem will help foster creative solutions to engineering challenges and breakthroughs in 3D printing," says Eric Gebhardt, Wabtec’s Chief Technology Officer. "Our N91 facility and the other additive labs in Western Pennsylvania will accelerate new innovations that shrink lead times, reduce cost and increase reliability.”
Wabtec’s N91 site features an SLM 800 printer from SLM Solutions that will produce 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 percent.
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 more than 25,000 parts by 2025 in support of the internal supply chain.
N91 is the first development in the world to both condense and connect all components of the additive manufacturing and 3D-printing supply chain into one powerful production ecosystem. It will house a complete end-to-end additive supply chain ranging from the powders to production, testing, analysis and delivery. Facility tenants gain efficiencies in production, cost savings from on-demand printing, and access to a major international airport.
Developed in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh, N91 is the first facility of the 195-acre 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.
Wabtec is a global provider of equipment, digital systems and value-added services for the freight and transit rail industries, as well as the mining, marine and industrial markets. The company has been a leader in the rail industry for more than 150 years and has a vision to achieve a zero-emission rail system in the U.S. and worldwide. It has approximately 27,000 employees located at facilities in 50 countries throughout the world.