Plattsburgh has been chosen to host the world’s first industrial scale high-technology manufacturing plant for titanium aerospace components. The head of Norsk Titanium met with business leaders from the region Monday to talk about the state-of-the-art technology and the $1 billion investment in a new manufacturing plant and training facility at the old Clinton County Airport.
“Welcome to the age of titanium.” Plattsburgh North Country Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Garry Douglas stepped before a crowd gathered to hear about the newest manufacturer coming to the region. After two years of negotiations between the company, state and regional officials, in July Norway-based Norsk Titanium confirmed that Plattsburgh had been selected as the location for the world’s first industrial scale metal 3D manufacturing plant for titanium aerospace components.
Norsk President and CEO Warren Boley explained the company’s titanium production method to a packed luncheon crowd on Monday. He called the Rapid Plasma Deposition technique a new industrial revolution. “This is a piece of titanium. Today this takes about a year to make. We can make it in an hour for about a third the cost. No one will have more metal 3D printers anywhere on the planet . That is what is occurring in Plattsburgh. That is the revolution. So if you’re the Boeing Corporation or Airbus this part represents a $3 million savings per airplane times hundreds in airplanes a year.”
New York is an investor in the company. $125 million was approved in the 2016-17 state budget for the Norsk factory. SUNY Polytechnic ordered 20 Rapid Plasma Deposition machines to establish baseline production. The first of those machines was delivered this month and is being installed in a 70,000-square foot temporary facility. Two more machines will be shipped by the end of the year. Boley credited the governor and state Assembly for supporting the company’s move to the state. “What New York did differently than any other state was look at us incentives and support and partnership at the front of the business cycle as if they were a venture capitalist. Having a partner like Governor Cuomo, SUNY Polytechnic, Empire State Development get in at the front end and basically be a risk-revenue sharing partner was very, very unique and very attractive. New York will actually accelerate the growth of this company.”
NYS adopted GOCO, a government owned-company operated, contract with Norsk. The state owns the facility and machines and then leases them to Norsk through agreements with SUNY Polytechnic and Empire State Development. Boley is not worried about the upheaval over recent indictments linked to SUNY Poly. “None of this makes sense and Norsk is free to move forward. (So with everything being transferred to Empire State Development it hasn’t created any complications for you or anything?) No actually I think it’s helped because after SUNY Polytechnic came Empire State Development anyway in the process. So it’s actually created a tighter working relationship. So while other projects in New York are impacted, and I can’t speak to their status, it’s actually helped Norsk Titanium.”
Representatives from workforce development, venders and ancillary services were curious what Norsk will bring and what they in turn can provide the company. CV-TEC Principal Jim McCartney says their campus is adjacent to Norsk and he’s excited about potential future interaction with students. “This is a leap in technology. We do have that at some levels already in our technology programs but just to a minor extent. I think this is the next step forward and we’re anxious to see how we can partner in that regard.”
The international company plans to invest $1 billion in a new manufacturing plant and training facility. Until it is completed the company will begin production in a nearby leased building.
Norsk Titanium’s new manufacturing facility will be operational by mid-2018, creating more than 400 new jobs.