By: Mark Belko
This article was originally published by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on October 15, 2020.
Neighborhood 91 has landed another big resident.
Wabtec Corp. has reached an agreement to lease more than 11,000 square feet of space in Neighborhood 91, the hub for additive manufacturing being built at Pittsburgh International Airport.
The North Shore-based rail technology company will be the first manufacturing anchor on the sprawling campus, located on 195 acres of land just west of the midfield terminal.
It will join Lehigh County-based Arencibia, which has signed a letter of intent to build a 10,000-square-foot plant at the site to supply and recycle argon and other gases used in the additive manufacturing process.
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Wabtec will occupy space in Neighborhood 91’s first building currently under construction by the Buncher Co. Work started on the structure last month and is to be completed by spring.
In making the announcement, Wabtec stated that it will be employing the latest in additive manufacturing technology to produce state-of-the-art, lightweight parts for transit rail customers and reduce lead times by up to 80%.
Production is expected to include metal aluminum transit components like brake parts and heat sinks for freight locomotives. In five years, Wabtec plans to use additive manufacturing in the production of more than 25,000 parts.
“As the first development in the world to connect all elements of the additive manufacturing supply chain into a single location, Neighborhood 91 is the ideal location to fully realize the potential of this technology,” said Eric Gebhardt, Wabtec’s chief technology officer.
Neighborhood 91 is being built on Allegheny County-owned land controlled by the county’s airport authority. It is being developed in conjunction with the University of Pittsburgh.
Wabtec represents the second tenant landed by the authority since the initiative was announced a year ago. Authority officials envision a campus that will be the go-to place for all facets of additive manufacturing in the region, from powder production to heat treatment.
In a statement, county Executive Rich Fitzgerald described Wabtec’s commitment as a “huge step for the development and Pittsburgh International Airport.”
“Part of our vision as an airport is to advance the region’s role as a world leader,” added airport authority CEO Christina Cassotis. “Additive manufacturing is looking for a place to call home and now, with Neighborhood 91, that vision is becoming reality.”
With the Pittsburgh International location, Wabtec hopes to be able to ship parts immediately from the airport to any location in the world within 24 hours, with the goal of improving supply chain performance and cutting transportation costs.