Oerlikon is to build a new manufacturing facility in Plymouth Township, Michigan, to produce materials for additive manufacturing and surface coatings.

The supplier expects the demand for materials for additive manufacturing to increase rapidly in the coming years, making it one of the key growth areas in metal-based additive manufacturing.

The new facility will produce materials such as titanium alloys for the additive manufacturing market and certain high-end thermal spray powders. The site will be equipped with next-generation VIGA technology, which combines vacuum induction melting with inert gas atomisation systems.

In addition, the facility will house a research & development (R&D) lab for further developments of titanium and other alloys, for example, nickel, copper, iron and cobalt for joint R&D projects with customers and have the ability to produce customised powders in small batches.

In the first phase, Oerlikon plans to invest around US$50m in the facility and has the option of further expansion.

The new site is in addition to Oerlikon Metco’s existing site in Troy, Michigan, where materials for surface solutions are produced.

The Group expects to initially employ around 70 staff in Plymouth Township and is forecast to be operational by the end of 2017.