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Pittsburgh’s Neighborhood 91 and Metal Additive Manufacturing

Innovation, technological advancement, location, and workforce made Pittsburgh the "Steel City" in the late 1800s. Today, steel mills no longer smog the skies, but new advancements in metal fabrication are revitalizing this integral part of the city's identity. Neighborhood 91, a project on 10 acres of Pittsburgh International Airport's Innovation Campus, with room to occupy 185 more acres, has brought together six companies developing and producing metal 3D printed parts. The goal is to expand to 30 or 40 companies establishing this stretch of Pittsburgh as a global hub of 3D-printed metal components.

Named Neighborhood 91 as the 91st neighborhood in Pittsburgh, this first-of-its-kind manufacturing campus aims to accelerate the adoption of metal AM technology in the U.S., displacing some older technologies and reshoring a large chunk of metal part fabrication from overseas. Recently, Neighborhood 91 celebrated the total occupancy of its first building and ground-breaking on its next. Already, thousands of metal AM parts flow out of this facility, destined for machine makers and auto plants, and installed on locomotives, spacecraft, and airplanes.

“When we say this is happening in Pittsburgh, people say, yeah, that makes sense,” says John Barnes, co-founder of Metal Powder Works at Neighborhood 91 and one of the founding architects of the project. “So it's almost like this is the thing that Pittsburgh was meant to do.”


John Barnes, right, of The Barnes Global Advisors presenting metal AM to Airmen of the 911th Airlift Wing and the 171st Refueling Wing at a recent tour of Neighborhood 91.

First conceived in 2019 by the Allegheny County Airport Authority in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh and The Barnes Global Advisors, the goal of Neighborhood 91 was to revolutionize the metal AM industry by bringing together key supply chain components in one centralized location.

Pittsburgh wasn’t selected to become the home of metal AM solely because of its history in metal fabrication. The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University have two of the country's most renowned metal AM facilities, and the entire supply chain for metal additive manufacturing had already sprung up around the greater metro area.

Aiming to be the Silicon Valley of metal additive manufacturing, Neighborhood 91 companies can now develop and apply metal AM on a campus that offers them shared resources and opportunities to collaborate.

“The companies that come here want to be part of an ecosystem,” says Barnes. “They want to work with their neighbors and figure out how to do things better, faster, and cheaper together.”

 

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