It was warm in every respect at the grand opening of our new additive manufacturing facility in Huntersville, North Carolina, USA, on May 29. Although temperatures topped 95° F /35 ° C, nearly 250 guests came out to celebrate under a large white tent next to the facility. Customers, business partners, government officials and educators joined Oerlikon Chairman Prof. Dr. Michael Suess and AM Business Unit Head Sven Hicken in recognizing the impact the new facility will have on the growth of Oerlikon’s additive manufacturing business in the US and on the Huntersville economy.
Swiss Ambassador to the US, Martin Dahinden, North Carolina Secretary of Commerce, Anthony Copeland, and Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla assisted with the formal ribbon cutting and cake cutting at the event. The $55 million Innovation Hub & Advanced Component Production facility employs some 60 people and is expected to continue to grow as the business expands.
In his remarks at the event, Prof. Dr. Suess commented on the potential of additive manufacturing and compared it to the discovery of the Internet some 30 years ago. “I am convinced that we are currently experiencing a fundamental transformation of the economy, and we need to be at the forefront of this transformation,” he said.
Sven Hicken emphasized Oerlikon AM’s vast capabilities to the guests. “With Oerlikon’s capabilities in metal powder production and our decades of coatings and surface technologies expertise, we are in the unique position of being able to advise and support our customers from concept to delivery.”
Dozens of employees and their families also attended the event. During the BBQ picnic lunch, children (and adults) were entertained by a magician, face painter, balloon twister and caricature artist. “It was really nice to be included in this event,” said Christa Haller, wife of employee Dan Haller (Oerlikon AM, head of aerospace and defense, North America). “My husband is very proud to work at Oerlikon AM, and we enjoyed being able to see the facility and where he works.”
Guests toured the new facility, where they experienced 3D printers in action and saw demonstrations of the equipment and capabilities the company offers. Employees also staffed the company’s information booths, which included representatives from Balzers, Metco and Manmade Fibers.
The Huntersville facility is Oerlikon AM’s fourth additive production facility in the US, joining the powder production facilities in Troy and Plymouth, Michigan, and the facility in Shelton, Connecticut, that focuses on the medical industry.