This article was originally published on pghtech.org on February 9, 2021
Neighborhood 91 is the first development in the world to both condense and connect all components of the AM/3D Printing supply chain into one powerful production ecosystem attracting the likes of Arencibia and Wabtec to call it home.
We welcome Jennifer Coyne, Additive Manufacturing Leader at Wabtec Corporation, to tell us more about Neighborhood 91 and Wabtec’s new presence.
Jennifer oversees Additive Engineering Design, Prototyping and Parts Production for Wabtec’s global additive manufacturing efforts. Since forming Wabtec’s first Additive Manufacturing team, she has launched 12 production additive parts and opened 3 global labs in the U.S. and India.
So good afternoon, everyone. This is Audrey Russo, President and CEO, the Pittsburgh Technology Council. And today we have yet another guest. In a few moments, I’m going to introduce Jennifer Coyne. She is the additive manufacturing leader at lab tech Corporation, we have lots of great things to talk with her about. But before we do, I just want to set the show up and remind you that we have muted your microphones and make sure that we’re not hearing anything in the background and being respectful to our guests. And the chat is to be used to only talk about lab tech only talk about Jennifer and all that she’s working on, it’s not the time to sell your wares, it’s not the time for you to sell your services. So just take a break, eat your lunch and sit back, think you’re really going to be in for a lot of fun and a lot of wisdom from Jen. So I also want to thank Huntington bank for the work that they’ve done to continue to support us for almost a year hard to believe. But they’ve been a partner with us for that long on many things. And they love to take experiments in terms of storytelling and connecting with the community. So thank you, Huntington bank, and 40 by 80 is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Pittsburgh tech Council. It’s the longitude and latitude of Pittsburgh, and we work on all things related to work for us, as well as entrepreneurship. So with that, I want to jump right in and welcome Jen. She said I could call her Jen. And that’s what people call her. So I’m pretty excited to have her here. We have lots to pack in. So but before we start, okay, before we start, and you know, we’re going to talk about neighborhood 91. We’re going to talk about additive manufacturing. We’re going to talk about your role talk about web tech. Tell us about web tech, I feel like they are just part of the legacy of Pittsburgh, that is part of the future.
Yeah, so I always refer to web tech as the company that a really large company headquartered in Pittsburgh that most of you have probably never heard of. And that’s because maybe it’s not a consumer goods company. It’s not something that you have experience with every day, but but you do regardless of whether or not you know it, and that’s, so we make we’re almost $9,000,000,008.2 billion company that makes everything for rail. So we are freight systems, transit systems, digital services, and services, parts, for all rail, all things rail, all things transportation. And we’re headquartered in Pittsburgh, over 27,000 employees in over 50 countries and countries all over the world. But we’re located right on the North Shore of Pittsburgh, actually kind of close to you guys. And your office buildings when we all used to go to the office.
Right. So talk about the the GE relationship, and then we’re going to talk about you a little bit.
Yeah, so that’s a that’s a great point. So labtech is a company that’s formed from a lot of mergers and acquisitions, but three main ones, and those three main ones are one the Westinghouse air brake technology of wilmerding if you George Westinghouse wilmerding air brake solutions for old locomotives back in the day, and that was his main invention and at the time that he was quite the inventor and has hundreds of patents. I’m pretty sure. So that was the foundation of Westinghouse or web tech. Sorry, was George Westinghouse. And then a few years back, they merged with another pretty large company. Failed lay. So that’s a European based mostly transit companies. So people movers around Europe, if you guys have traveled and been on any of those metros, or, or any, any of like the high speed rails across Europe, you’ve probably written on a part that’s full of web tech parts and favourite parts. So those two companies merged a few years back. And then two years ago, there was a substantial merger with GE transportation, and web tech. So that was that final large merger I’ll call it that formed what is today the eight to $9 billion company of labtech.
Wow, and how many people right now, how many people work at webtech
27,000? across the world,
right. And then I think what what is your the annual revenue? I want people to understand that this is massive.
Yeah, I think we have I want to say it’s 8.2. Last year was between eight and $9 billion dollars. So it’s a pretty big revenue. And again, biggest company probably never heard of.
Heard of you. So that’s why we’re thrilled to have you here on the show. But you’re probably right. It’s good for us to Continue to tell our native Pittsburghers What’s happening here? Because it’s really exciting. So the, let’s talk a little bit about you. Okay, and so that people can let’s just set the stage for you. You are a Grove City grad. Right? Are you a native pittsburgher?
Close north northwest Pennsylvania. I grew up in the medieval area. Okay,
awesome. So tell us about your professional journey.
Yeah. So I started actually, while I was still at Grove City College, I was a junior and I got an internship with the Grove City engine plant, which there’s a it’s the, one of the largest engine plants in the US probably. And it’s located right an hour north of here in Grove City, Pennsylvania. So I started work there just as a mechanical design engineer, intern. And afterwards, I started full time in Erie in the locomotive assembly plant there is still as a design engineer on they have like a leadership development program, they still do. That is just a great way to usher new grads into the workforce. So I started on that and spent two years doing that, and then progress through some different roles and systems engineering and found my way to additive manufacturing about two and a half or three years ago now.
Wow. And you have a whole bunch of certifications as well. I saw in addition to having a master’s degree from Georgia Tech.
Yeah, I have a mechanical engineering master’s degree from Georgia Tech. And then I think my count is seven patents at the moment. And then a few certs and different things, mostly additive and, and other project management and leadership type things that GE and now web tech have have drilled into us and assured, you know, sort of foster their employees through different learning programs.
Do we have seven patents? I missed that part when I did. Not, you can brag right now,
I hate that part. But I’ll try. So I have quite a few on. It’s the rail cleaning system. So like, if you know anything about rail, you, it’s the most efficient way to move things because it’s it’s steel on steel. So your coefficient friction is like ideal for moving things, it’s very low. You don’t have like tires grinding on on a bad surface. So anyway, but sometimes it’s not great because you get snow or ice or leaves, or in the case of Australia, like tiny little slimy bugs on the rail. And it slips just like you would in Pittsburgh, like today with the snow. So we invented a system that uses like compressed air, which we already have on the locomotive to clean off the rail prior to the system moving over it and it can pull harder. So it’s sort of like prepping your car with cleaning out your driveway before you drive over. It is it’s a similar technology for onboard a rail system. So a lot of them are on on that and a few on additive as well.
That’s great. So we’re gonna jump in and talk about that. But what’s the operative definition of additive?
Yeah, good question. So if you’re not familiar with it, I say this probably on a daily basis. additive manufacturing, is a method of manufacturing that describes making apart layer by layer. So it’s so many different processes can do that. But at its base, it’s making apart one layer at a time to create a 3d object versus taking a block of material and whittling it away until you end up with what you want.
So can you give us a product that you think might be familiar to all of us? that we might be surprised? attitude?
Yeah, so one, some that I like there’s some cool, additive parts that are made out of shoes are sorry, that shoes that are made out of additive. Adidas makes a like custom shoe that the insole basically the squishy part gives you the kind of support that you need. It’s it’s custom built. And you can do that with additive because you’re not making tooling that which makes the same thing over and over again, you’re building from a CAD file, so you can just tweak something on the CAD file and print something else. That’s a cool example. There’s other like the NFL did a project on helmets to custom fit to people’s heads and minimize the impact to football players. So that’s another neat thing that has been done with additive in the past.
And so what about machinery? What about machinery? Like? Can you talk a little bit about web tech in that space? I mean,
yeah, get real, real for us. We’re not making helmets or shoes. Yeah. So we make a lot more industrial type stuff and a lot of metal parts. So the two that I referenced those are more like polymer and plastics and flexible materials. But we we make large, large industrial equipment like trains. And so some of the parts that we’ve found success with additive are on heat exchangers. And then we’ve made some turbo parts even like spinning turbo parts. We’ve made different, like spare parts where we couldn’t get the original supply chain, for example. So a lot lots of I’ll say, like the sweet spot of additive is when it’s a relatively complex part. So you don’t necessarily want to take your simple bracket that that looks like an L and make it with additive, it won’t be cost effective. But if you do have a heat exchanger that it’s made of 1000 fins and tubes welded together. That’s a great example for additive. And we have some of that technology patented right now and are using are testing it for our locomotives. And so what about your team? Can
you talk about your team and the work that your team does?
Yeah, so I have a team of about 12 people and they’re located around the world, mostly in northwest Pennsylvania, in Erie Grove, city, Pittsburgh. And then we also have a cohort over in Bangalore, India. So with those, we have, soon to be four locations, lab locations, I think we’ll talk about the newest one and a bit here. But the other three are one in Bangalore, we use like a high speed industrial machine by HP, called a multi jet fusion machine. They’re the polymer based, but it makes really neat, very high detailed parts. And then in Erie, we have a lot of prototyping capability to support the engineering team there. And we have few folks there that run those labs and all that equipment. And then in Grove City, it’s our Center of Excellence for metals. So we print in stainless steels, in inconel, which is like a high temp metal, material. And we also have like two types of machinery that we operate there. One is the typical one, if you’re familiar with metal additive manufacturing, which is laser based. And then we have another one that’s called binder jetting, which is a little bit more like an office inkjet printer, but it doesn’t it’s a metal version of that.
So what kind of experience does your team have? What is what is their preparation for those roles similar to yours?
Yeah, pretty much I mean, so we have a wide variety of people, we have some metallurgists, which is not my expertise, but is quickly becoming something that I speak well or have to. So we have some metallurgists. And some, like chemists on the polymer side, we have some manufacturing engineers who focus on process and improving the process that we use, we have some design engineers who are incredibly skilled at like CAD modeling and FAA. And then we have like some operational type people and program management type people that keep us all in line.
So obviously, we’re bullish on, you know, additive and 3d, etc. What, what kind of preparation? Would you tell people who are thinking about getting into this field?
Yeah, so I, I love talking about additive because I feel like I’ve been in mechanical engineering and in various different roles for 13 or so years now. And I just feel like I found my home and additive, I found my passion there. And I think that’s because as I reflect of it, it’s, it’s exciting, and it’s still advancing like you so often. You know, as a design engineer, I can feel like you’re a little bit on repeat, or you’re dealing with old issues, etc. But with additive, like things are still very exciting and advancing every day. And there’s something new going on all the time. It’s very flexible. So like you can take that skill set that you are applying to trains, you can go work on medical or aerospace or any defense, any number of different industries use am as a key technology pillar for them.
We have a quick question. JOHN, do you want to grab up?
Absolutely. Hey, good to see you on the show today, jennifer love hearing the conversation. So Michael Mottola wants to know, um, how does additive relate to nbfcs?
Can you tell me what mbse means?
See if he can get more. Is it like medium? I’m not sure I thought I made I would know what that is.
I don’t know what that is. Okay. So it might be a systems engineer.
I sure can. Yeah. Yes. So um, I would say we, we use it quite a bit and model based system engineering. So we operate on a system like that on a design methodology that’s similar to that. And it’s useful in that you don’t necessarily Do you have to go to like a 2d drawing and recreate the part from there? Because you do you consume a 3d model in additive, it’s that that’s what all of these printers consume is that 3d model? So it’s a very useful thing. But I could go pretty deep into that. But maybe for this audience, I think the The point is, it’s very useful in enabling the 3d consumption, and the way that we model sets up that build file that we consume in the printers.
Okay, good. Good answer. And you could have gone deeper with us. Okay. Smart people?
Oh, I know, it’s just like, and just
Yeah, it’s, um, it gets the digital side of am is complex. So the different, I think it’s a room an area for growth, I’ll say in the industry, because there’s a lot of disparate file types that you have to move along in the process. So you start with like a CAD model. And then from there, it gets exported into what’s called an STL. file. It’s a triangulated file that describes the surface. And then it’s sliced into those models, right, or sorry, into those 2d layers that you build up. So that that can all be a different file type. So that’s the deepness that it gets complicated very quickly.
That’s great. Good job. So we’re gonna we’re gonna get to some questions, but I want you to kick off one thing. Talk about maybe one.
Yeah, I am so excited about this. So neighborhood 91, if you haven’t heard about it is a new ecosystem for for the Pittsburgh area, it’s going to be at the airport, it is at the airport. Now. I actually was out there a few weeks back. And it’s a it’s one building right now halfway constructed. But soon, the vision is that it will be a fully dedicated additive manufacturing production space. So we webtech will be one of the first anchor tenants there. And we’re moving in and about a month, a little over a month or two. And we’ll be operating additive manufacturing equipment, metal additive manufacturing equipment out of there. But the idea is that you come and do your portion of the supply chain, and we co locate all portions of the additive manufacturing supply chain, such that there’s little waste in the logistics of it. So we in the am world talk about additive manufacturing, the dirty little secret is that you can’t just hit print and show up with a fully finished part. And so the thing is, like there’s all these steps in the process, so it gets off the machine and you have to take it and you have to stress relieve it. And there’s a lot of stress that gets built up in the welding process. So you have to take it in into an oven and stress relieve it, and then you have to cut it off the build plate. And then there’s probably a lot of little supports there that you have to take off. And so then after that there’s machining and then you have to ship it somewhere. And all of these processes right now you can internalize them. But that’s pretty capital intensive to internalize all of that machine, machinery, equipment, and personnel. And so what if all of those different people who specialize in these things anyway, because they exist outside of additive manufacturing, they exist for traditional methods of manufacturing everywhere. But if we brought them all to one location, and had everybody work on better utilization of their equipment and their personnel, then you realize the cost savings across the entire ecosystem and the speed across the entire ecosystem. That’s a good idea.
Now, there’s the idea, and I think it’s just marvelous doesn’t exist anywhere in the world
I know of I think a lot of people internalize the entire supply chain, just for speed reasons, but I don’t think it’s cost effective. But I’m not sure of anywhere where it’s like a neighborhood concept yet.
Right. So, Jonathan, let’s grab some questions. Now. Thank you for that.
Whole bunch of questions have flooded into the chat. Let’s start with Mark Freeman wants to know, um, how are US companies positioned in additive manufacturing, as compared to Europe, where added manufacturing technologies were developed and are used much, much earlier than in the states here?
Yeah, that’s definitely true. So I work a lot with the European part of my business. So if you just I don’t know if I mentioned this, but webtech we we like to think of ourselves as two main entities. There’s the freight world which is highly dominated by North America. And then there’s the transit world, which in our business, and I think you guys would say from your experience is more like a European thing. So we have a lot more people you were movers over in Europe. They use that as a main method of transportation. So I work a ton with our European side of the business because there is such interest In a VM, and there’s there’s a lot more maturity, at least in the real space in am in Europe. Overall, though, I think if I were to rank them, and this is Jen’s opinion only, I would say Europe followed closely by the US as far as maturity and use of additive manufacturing technologies. And that could be that could be because of things like government policies that push forward. New technologies such as, like, Germany, for example, booming there, and I think a lot of that is pushed by their, by by their incentives that they have in place, but then also just like, the way that they’re so close together, it just, it works pretty well for that type of ecosystem. But we’re close second in my mind, and that there’s a ton going on in the US with additive stuff. So
interesting. So Greg, Victor wants to know, does whap tech support maker educational programs, in particular those involving 3d printing, and how about steam education in general,
I am not certain on the first one we do. As far as like putting 3d printers in schools or anything like that I’m not I’m not certain. But what we do do is we run a lot of steam, educational programs, through our local offices in particular, like the ones in Erie and Pittsburgh, are very active with girls steam education, and younger like Middle School steam education. And we have quite a few events throughout the year that focus on like, bringing, while this year, they’ve looked different, but typically we bring in students from outside and they tour the facility, they do get to tour the 3d printing labs, and they work on projects with a lot of the engineers there and we volunteer our time to, to meet with them and hold these sessions, which are really fun, and I can’t wait to go back to those. I have the opportunity. It’s definitely
gonna be a lot of fun hanging out with young people, especially girls and showing them like the opportunities and possibilities that are out there firsthand. So cool. So Scott Dietz was a regular participant here on business, as usual, wants to know, what is the future of additive for Pittsburgh? And in manufacturing, in general? Will we eventually be more additive and subtractive or further decentralized manufacturing supply chains?
Yeah, that’s, that’s something that’s like a hot topic all the time for the industry. I think Pittsburgh has a ton of runway with AM. And especially with the concepts like neighborhood 91, we have the the facility or the universities like MIT, CMU and Robert Morris that are heavy into additive research and development and just like leading a lot of the world, and some of the quality techniques and process development techniques, that that are coming out into the space. So I think we have a great foundation for additive. We also have some trade schools that support technician, employment or education and building up that workforce to to really like shoot it forward. So we’ve got the right foundation and the development with neighborhood 91 is super exciting. I should know these, these facts and figures. But the thing around neighborhood 91 is we have the whole supply chain within 100 miles of Pittsburgh. And we have, you know, probably at least 100 companies with some sort of aim focus in their business in that supply chain are in that 100 mile radius. So we’ve got it all here, consolidating it and working together, I think is the key. And that’s the focus area for neighborhood 91. And I forget the second half of that question. One was Pittsburgh focus. What was the second part?
And let me see we’ve got further up in the chat here. He wanted to basically no thought is going to further decentralized supply chains.
Yeah. And also like how much will be a Yeah, so I so I think it’s not a reach to say that we will further decentralize manufacturing, supply chain footprint because it’s just set up to do that technically, like so you can have the same printer located just sporadically throughout the world and service locally. And I think that plays into a lot of what we’re seeing coming up right now with like, pushes from local governments for a little bit of like COVID backup plans, we should say like, if we have supply chain disruptions like we did this past year, what do we do about it? So we there’s a lot that we’re seeing as far as like some of at least the transit applications because they’re government entities that typically operate these these parts or these products that we make, right. So a lot of them are public tenders. So they put in there Specific like Buy Local type clauses. So I think we’re going to be pushed that way with some of the legislation that’s coming not just in the US but globally. So it’s going to happen and am is a great tool for that. Now, there’s always the question of is am the right tool for the application. And I think it’s the right application for some things, I don’t think it’ll ever replace. traditional manufacturing, there’s no world that I see that happening in my lifetime anyway. But it’s, it’s the right tool for some of the right jobs. And I think it’ll increase to a certain I’ll say, like entitlement period, and then that that will be dictated by volumes and geometries and all those, those rules that like the technology, we we have this box around the technology right now until that box once,
before we I just want to make sure that everyone understands maybe 91, if you want to go back to our archives, we had john Barnes on the show, we’ve had Christina cocytus, on the show as well. And it’s with, it’s with Christina’s leadership and vision to have this as a place close to the airport. And so I would be remiss if I didn’t give a shout out to that, and her vision to make this happen. You know, in here, you’re getting lots of comments about rMu. And the, you know, the accreditation that they have in the standalone, we have a lot of core capabilities here, right in our region in terms of producing grads, are you to take a lot of those grants.
I’d like to Yeah, so it’s interesting, you know, like before, when before Pittsburgh, we were mostly building out of Grove City in Erie, and those are different locations than Pittsburgh. And so recruiting there is is a different beast, I’m excited to have, you know, we just started recruiting for neighborhood 91. And, and that’s gone really well so far. And I think that that’s a testament to the area and the universities in the area.
That’s great. Jonathan, before I ask another question, is there anything that we’ve overlooked that’s in the chat?
A lot that came through here? Actually, we have a nice shout out from Dr. Chris Howard. Thanks to you for the shout out for rMu. He says they’re the only additive manufacturing BS in western PA. So army’s a great resource right in your neck of the woods. So good stuff.
So what you know, are in terms of the tech community and ways to get connected with webtech, what are some ways anything come to mind in terms of there’s a lot of innovation, that’s right at your footsteps, from you know, all across Southwestern Pennsylvania, anything come to mind that maybe there’s some ways that we can get connected to, you know, the work that you’re doing and others across web? Yeah, I
think the best way that I’m seeing to collaborate on some of the like, the big initiatives is through things like Consortium’s and probably some some things also that you guys offer, as far as like, you know, just networking opportunities. And they connect the right companies together, for example, in additive manufacturing, we are connected with one in Europe, which is the mobility goes additive Consortium. And then there’s some local here with like, Pitt has one on additive. So to CMU, those are great areas to get to know what’s going on in the community. And there’s also like just the other ones, like women in 3d printing the Pittsburgh chapter and some other things like that, that’s probably the best way to, to get to know and get connected. And then from there, just finding common value that you can work together on.
So okay, we’re gonna wrap up. But I want to know, how do you do it all? You have three kids under the age of I don’t even know what you’re running, you know, you’re running faster than is imaginable. We’re very bullish on the future, in terms of the space. So how do you manage it all,
but I sleep a lot less than I used to? I don’t know. I mean, honestly, it’s you gotta be driven by your passions. And I, I’m passionate about my children. I’m passionate about additive manufacturing. And that that wakes me up keeps me going sometimes keeps me up at night, but I get excited about it. And I think that’s what keeps me going.
Listen, Jennifer Coyne, they are very lucky to have you at lab tech. I cannot thank you enough for just taking the time with us out of your very busy schedule. I’m glad you’re safe and sound. I know that you are extremely busy. But I’m very excited about neighborhood 91. It’s great to be able to get under the covers a little bit in terms of what’s happening, blackjack. And we will follow up with you to see how there are ways for us to cross pollinate and to be additive to the work that you’re doing. Okay, I really, I can’t thank you enough. I knew. You know, it took a while for us to get our schedules aligned to really appreciate it. Jennifer Kline with lab tech, all things additive. She’s easy to find on LinkedIn. So really appreciate gave her time and tomorrow we are here back at the same time and we have who Jonathan? Life right they’ve they’ve have re strategize. So that’s life sciences, Jen. Very different from additive but you know, you might be interested in so might some of your team. So we anyone else in the pipeline for this week that we can share? I know we’re pretty fast. Brian, john, Jonathan. Who else do we have
this week? This week? We’ve got people we’ve just added in, I believe, let me pull up the list. I haven’t heard of it now. BK, what do you got? Fine.
Okay. Okay. We have
Jay, Katherine sick and Willard coming in. And we’ll be talking to us about their exciting new venture capital firm that they have founded. And then on Friday of this week, we have the three winners of the Civic hackathon that went on over last weekend. And they have some amazing companies that they founded, they’re going to give an update on where they’re at. And Jonathan, who am I forgetting about on Thursday?
See, this is this is how we roll we promise we’re gonna have great guests. We’re just so packed through February. Just stay connected to us. We promise it will be well worth your time. Thank you, Jennifer Coyne really appreciate you being with us. Thanks to web tech, and we will keep in touch. Thanks everyone. Stay safe.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai