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Remember how amazing it was to be a child and believe that the world and your own life held limitless possibilities?

When I grow up, I’m going to be an astronaut and a doctor and a football player.

That’s what it’s like to work in additive manufacturing at Oerlikon today.

We may not get to wear space suits or go on an intergalactic ride. But we can partner with aerospace companies to build better spaceships and aircraft. We can use AM to create turbine engine parts that reduce friction, improve durability, and set a new performance standard for fuel efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions.

We’re not physicians, but we can partner with the medical industry to develop lifesaving and life-changing advances in 3D printed medical devices.

And we may never get closer to the pitch than field-level seats. But we can cheer for the player who got back in the game after getting an advanced knee replacement that our AM innovations helped to create.

The science itself is fascinating, and our focus on AM gives us the opportunity to collaborate with some of the most brilliant minds in today’s most exciting industries. But it also gives us a role in creating game-changing advances in each of those sectors. Advances that have a direct impact on building a cleaner planet, making smarter use of our natural resources, and ensuring the health and well-being of 7 billion people.

And that makes the kids in us feel like rock stars without playing one note of air guitar.

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How did we get to this point?

Like AM, Oerlikon has its roots in materials science — and materials science is what enables AM to reinvent manufacturing. All of our ancestors used tools to cut forms from metal or stone. The tools evolved from the crude implements found on archaeological digs to the sophisticated ones we use today.

But the basic process never changed until AM, which makes it possible to build objects layer by layer from any kind of material, whether it’s metal, plastic, ceramic, or some new composite that we invented. And that gives us the ability, for the first time in history, to create objects that replicate nature and perform a precise function.

Oerlikon has specialized in making atomized metal powders used in aerospace and power generation for more than 40 years. That gave us a natural entry point into AM for those industries. But we saw how much more widespread AM’s impact was going to be, and we weren’t about to sit on the sidelines while this new industrial revolution unfolded across the aerospace, automotive, medical, energy, and general manufacturing sectors and beyond. So in 2016, we began looking at ways to develop our capacity to contribute to AM’s progress. And we set out on a path that relied on a combination of organic development and growth through partnerships and acquisitions.

In effect, we forged a human adaptation of AM by developing composite capabilities within our own team. We embraced diversity in all its forms: opinions, perspectives, and cultures all merged within our organization, and each made us stronger. We integrated essential properties such as talent, insight, and creativity to cultivate a workforce capable not just of participating in AM’s development, but of leading it into the future.

Like AM, we’re just getting started on what promises to be the journey of a lifetime. When we were kids, not even the most determined daydreamer among us could have imagined something with this much potential. And that gives our work a sense of purpose and meaning that fills us with gratitude and pride.

Feedback or questions? Get in touch with us!