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Business as Usual: Additive Manufacturing and Neighborhood 91

Business as Usual

The Pittsburgh region is becoming a leading center in additive manufacturing underpinned with the creation of Neighborhood 91 -- the first development in the world to both condense and connect all components of the additive manufacturing and 3D Printing supply chain into one powerful production ecosystem. Today, John Barnes, Founder and Managing Director of the Barnes Global Advisors, will join us to detail how a cluster concept like Neighborhood 91 can act as a catalyst for additive manufacturing, industrialization and innovation with the creation of a cost-efficient ecosystem. Barnes led a study predicting the economic impact of Neighborhood 91 with five key impact areas identified: Reduction in Production Costs – 25% for Parts and 30% for Powder Simplified Supply Chain with 80% Reduction in Manufacturing Lead Time and 80+% Reduction in Transportation Cost and Miles for Powder to Part Production Workforce Development and R&D Boost Productivity and Innovation Agglomeration Economies and Labor Market Pooling for Reductions in Learning Curves and Under-utilized Equipment Reduced Energy Consumption and Emissions Join us for this fascinating conversation to learn more.

 

 

 

 

Transcription: 

So good afternoon, everyone. This is Audrey Russo, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Technology Council. It's Friday. And it's a beautiful day here in Pittsburgh. And I'm very excited about the topic that we're going to talk about today with our guests. But before we do, I want to make sure that everyone realizes that we put you on mute. And we also have a chat. And we're really encouraging you to join us on the chat. We have a great guest here today, someone that I've recently met and very thrilled about all that he brings to the table. I also want to thank having commbank for being our partners throughout all of COVID. And even before all things that we do in terms of experimental work in media and communications, Jonathan kersting is with us today. He's Vice President of Marketing, and all things media as well at the tech council will be managing the chat as well. So let's just jump right in. I'm pretty excited to have john Barnes with us. He is I'm going to let him introduce. So we're going to talk about additive manufacturing. Today we're going to talk about Neighborhood 91. And who knows where we get into in terms of the opportunities up and downstream in the additive space. So welcome, john. Thank you. It's good to be here. It's great to see you. And it's great that you're here. Why don't you introduce yourself, tell everyone about your background, who you are? Who's john the man. All

right, well, how much time do we have now?

It's a very long story of a short period

of time, he was

raised in a log cabin.

Yeah, so I was actually raised in Atlanta, but my my mom is a former McKeesport high school teacher. So she was actually born in the Pittsburgh area. And they, she and my dad moved to Atlanta, just before I was born a long time ago. So ironically, my grandmother's furniture which came from McKeesport is now back in Pittsburgh, so we're, if you need some Victorian furniture, I'm your guy. I'm a materials engineer by background and worked in aerospace and defense for over 25 years. So I've worked on most of my career was spent on jet engines to stealth aircraft. And then I had an opportunity to go to Australia to work for the National Science agency there. So I ran their titanium research program, and then created their additive manufacturing program, which we called when then we created a facility for industry to come in. And that we call that lab 22. So it was sort of like our play on area 51 in Australia, that so we you know, I always used to joke when I was there with my boss, because additive manufacturing in the in the mid 2000 10s, you know, was increasing popularity. So I said, Well, we should just call our program, the addictive manufacturing program. Because as soon as anybody finds out about it, they keep wanting to hear more. And when we used to deal with the Australian embassy crew, you know, after I talked to him, he was bringing his colleague and he's like, literally, we're gonna present you with the red pill or the blue pill. So you're gonna have to make a decision. So we came back to we came to Pittsburgh in 2015, I came to work for a company called r 10. International. And, you know, then we became Alcoa, then we became our conic. And I started my firm, the barn Global Advisors in 2017. So we're a bit different than most engineering firms. We're very global, we've had business on six different continents. So we're still hunting for some penguins to do some work with in Antarctica. So we can have the seventh but we're probably got a bit ways to go on that one. You know, for us, our distinction is we're characteristically very experienced a lot of former working engineers and executives of materials and aerospace companies. But for us, we're always invested in the industry, or, as I like to call be a part of the fabric of the industry. So we volunteer a lot. Last year, I think we put in over 200 hours of volunteer time at universities or high schools, trying to encourage people to go into STEM related activities. And I'm an adjunct at Carnegie Mellon, and also at RMIT University. So I go teach a class at Carnegie Mellon. Every once in a while we've had interns from CMU, I'm gonna teach a class at Pitt actually here. Well, I'm not teaching a class. I'm just A guest lecture at TED next month. And so I have two daughters, 12 and 15. So, living even my, my dog is also female. So I live in a house full of women. And we're very supportive of gender diversity and engineering. That's, that's something that's one of our particular causes. My my number two is a woman named Laura Eli. She's great. So, beyond that, you know, it's really about additive manufacturing, or 3d printing, some people may know it as. And so that's, that's kind of

nutshell, well, that's a good it's a good story, your global citizen, and we're glad to have you in Pittsburgh, because global matters. And I think we're gonna, let's just jump in and start talking about additive manufacturing. So everyone has, you know, a common understanding of additive.

Yeah, so when we talk about additive, it's different than legacy manufacturing, and that it is an additive process. So we think about the world in terms of layers, so we, we can conceptualize apart a layer at a time. So imagine, it's a bit like using Legos, you know, we don't have to worry about the overall part, we only worry about one layer at a time. And we just go about putting material where we need it. And then we add another layer on to it. And we just kind of go in a stepwise fashion. The corollary is legacy manufacturing is think of a sculptor where we have a large block of stone or metal or wood, and we carve a shape out of it. And, and with that, there, there's necessarily encumbrances that come with that approach. characteristically with additive, because we're only thinking about it at a two dimensional layer at a time, we can make things that you can't make the other way, or would be so expensive to make the other way that you just don't. And so that's where you see these really kind of bionic designs, and very, you know, open lattice II type shapes, because those are very amenable for the process that you really wouldn't do with a machining process, or a legacy kind of manufacturing process. So it's that that's, that's what's physically different about it. And then how you approach it is a little bit different, too. So you know, I often say, for designers, this technologies is huge, and who knows where it's gonna stop giving, because the designers space just, you know, opened up again to three dimensions where they kind of got hemmed into a two dimensional space.

What? So what's the opportunity for us? We're gonna talk about neighborhood 91 in a minute, but talk about the market, what's the market? Right now, in terms of additive, if you could just have any data? Do you have any info that can tell us how vast This is?

Yeah, so additive, I'll say first off isn't necessarily new. It's, it's about 30 years old, but most people the 30 year old portion of it's largely plastics, and so plastics kind of lead the revolution. Metals is now maturing, it's, it's kind of coming up to speed, but it's, it's not at the same level of maturation as polymers or plastics are, in general, if, if manufacturing globally as a $2 trillion industry. So it's very large, and it's growing at about 6%. annually. additive manufacturing is $2 billion. So it's 1%. And it's growing at 30% per year. So if you wanted to get into manufacturing, how did manufacturing is really the where the lift is coming at the moment. And it's coming at every aspect of it, it's coming in raw materials, it's coming in design, it's coming in part manufacturer, it's coming in, you know, final finishes, you know, all aspects are being taken on by by different people. And because of this, you know, we a lot of people throw that word innovation around a lot, but it's inherently in an innovative technology because it does require a lot of inputs from a lot of different people. You really can't get there on your own no one company drives the complete supply chain. It is a system of interdependencies. And, and that's also where I think it's hard because you have to have companies that you trust to move forward with. So we talk a lot about supply chain and trust when we go to talk to firms. And but the flip side is, is when you get that it's it's like the definition of a rising tide floats all boats. If I'm doing my job well and you're doing your job well. We both benefit as a result of it. And and then there's there's of course benefits of innovative you know, communities so to speak, you know, Silicon Valley would be a great example. As we talked about before, you know, people said all the world is flat, we can be anywhere we want, everybody's going to move out of Silicon Valley because I expensive and traffic but traffic's worse. And it's more expensive, and they're bigger than it ever has been. So I think that that's the advantage here. And certainly Pittsburgh has some natural advantages because of its legacy. And its transition. And so when you look at the supply chain for additive manufacturing, specifically marijuana additive manufacturing, it exists all around Pittsburg, actually, within about two hours, and now we're just trying to shrink it down to a smaller campus and make it more efficient.

Right. So we'll talk about that in a second. But what has there been in terms of the market? Has there been a change in demand or anything in COVID, during these last six months that you've seen any changes in this? In this case?

Yeah, there are. And you reminded me The other aspect, which I forgot to talk about, which is kind of the people aspect of it. So people really like 3d printing. And I think one of the reasons they like about it is it's, it's very tangible. So I have, you know, both of my kids here in Quaker Valley, they, their schools have 3d printers, so that they can literally go from designing something on a screen, and physically go watch it get made. It's, it's, it's personal. Now, it's not something that arrives in a box from someone on land. So then all sudden, you're now intimately involved with it, you can kind of connect back and say, Oh, well, maybe I wanted to do this, or maybe it should do that. And so that iteration process, you know, happens, you know, the, the thing I like to talk about frequently is, at cuvee, there were two fourth graders, and they had a class assignment for the renovation class, and they use 3d printing as the example of it. And so they went from a description they wrote it down is as you do, and good engineering principles. And then they went about making a prototype of a metal 3d printer using a cardboard box, and some associated stuff. And, you know, first I was shocked, because I was like, in fourth, when I was in fourth grade, you know, coloring with colored pencils was, like, big deal. I didn't know what innovation was to, you know, progressing now down to something like a manufacturing technology like at it, but they don't think about it as that as a manufacturing technology, they just, it's a progression from, I can think of something, I can make something.

And I think I think that we're not too far off, or everyone will have one, everyone will have one in their own home,

there's certainly that opportunity. And there's, there's, it has kind of broken it down to if you there's plenty of free tools now to design stuff with, if you can design something you can have it made, you don't even have to have it in your house, you know, there's places to go online, proto labs will guarantee that will be made in 24 hours, if that's what you want. So I that's what's hugely exciting about this, because I've worked in kind of materials, manufacturing all my career. And, you know, we went through this phase where manufacturing was kind of looked down on certainly growing up in Atlanta, nobody encouraged me to be an engineer. You know, my high school was go be a doctor, go be a lawyer.

And I was the weird kid that like math and science.

So but you know, now it's, it's like, Okay, how do we retain the coolness of it, and, and maybe not tell them that it's manufacturing, you know, so that we keep the interest going. And that that has kind of played into, you know, all sudden, we're involved in this COVID thing. The other thing I usually tell people is that additive was made since the internet. So it's always been a very connected technology. It's never known silos, if you will, that, that, while there's areas that are good at it. They've always been connected, and they always communicate really well. So when COVID came along, there was this opportunity to go make things and so, you know, I've told people that, you know, maybe it's not the best way of making something, but when you but when you have nothing, you know, an expensive, something is better than nothing. And I think that's where it shares a little bit with the defense world. So or any remote kind of austere environment. So I had a friend, a colleague, who was I worked with at Lockheed, he was a Bradley vehicle commander and Gulf War one and he went into battle without his gun being honorable for one basically a 10 cent part. And so he's like, if I could have printed a handful of crappy you know, $20 parts I, I would have felt a whole lot better. Obviously, he's, he survived, it wasn't needed, but, you know, he felt a little foolish going in at full speed. You know, with just that kind of yelling into the wind. When COVID, we saw similar things, which was better because people were coming together to solve this problem. And, and international boundaries weren't really an issue any longer, we could have zoom calls we could have. So we did we ourselves, we were involved with the VA, through some mutual connections, to talk about what they needed in the hospital. And so we went through a very concurrent design activity with them for a reusable and 95 mask for the surgical theater. And so we were we, I've still never met Dr. Ripley, she lives in Seattle, we would be on zoom calls frequently. and her team would transfer we would produce CAD files, or team would comment on the CAD files, we would then go to a third place to have them made printed, and then they would get shipped there and here and everywhere else. So we'd have no physical, you know, things to kind of get that look and touch and they could do trials with it. Similarly, in in Pittsburgh, there were initiatives that were just came together at Well, you know, between University of Pittsburgh, x one ANSYS, UPMC. So UPMC was saying, hey, would be great if we had this. So then it was like, thinking about it thinking the problem differently, like, what problem are we solving? Okay? You don't have a filter, okay, what does it filter do? So we kind of went back, we broke it down, and said, okay, it would be great if this filter could be reused, drop it in a blowing, dropping in boiling water, put it in an autoclave, it survives that process, and you keep reusing it, because right now, the filter is otherwise very cheap, but we can't get it. So the idea of reusing a filter became very important. And, and so that was where, you know, Pittsburgh was like, right there when it was connected. It was people were willing to do it. But it was a microcosm of what was happening all over the world. And and Pittsburgh was connected to the VA, we were connected to the US Army's Kim bio center that does the testing for the filters. lab tech, you know, was involved. Why is the train company involved in this? Well, they do they do filtration systems for bigger things. So we we came up with some things that we issued a put a patent in on have a different way of thinking about a filtration problem.

So what are there any particular assets in our region that makes this a compelling vision for neighborhood? 91? And we'll jump into that in a minute, but are their assets? I know that you've said that you've talked to people all the time around the world? And when talk about what, you know, additive manufacturing and trying to build a cluster here, that people have said, Yeah, makes sense. But no, so yes.

So with neighboured 91, I mean, that came out of the airport, started this Innovation Campus idea, you know, and it was, it was intentionally an Innovation Campus. But specifically, you know, they were trying to put some some meat on the bone. My prior CEO Don Hickton brought me into a conversation with Christina casada. At the airport. And you know, fortunately for me, like the like those two, we were all like peas in a pod. I just sat there and like, yeah, these are some cool people to be involved with. So I just threw out a notion because I had looked at it and I said, you know, Pittsburgh, again, if you draw that two hour radius around Pittsburgh, everything you need exists, but none of them are talking to each other. Right? So I said, What if we brought that into a 200 acre campus, but then we amplify it by we invite the World to Come here, not just worry about, you know, Western PA. So that's kind of how it took off. But whenever we go, or doesn't matter who we talk to, or wherever we are, if we're in Germany, or for in Texas, and we say that we're doing this production campus. And people say it's in Pittsburgh, I never have to explain why it's in Bismarck. Everybody's just like, Yeah, that makes total sense. You guys do manufacturing, you do metals. It's, you know, Pittsburgh's known to be an innovative place. That's its reputation.

Well, particularly in the material space.

Well, and the material space, but I think just in terms of a transformative city, like everybody knows, Pittsburgh, the story of steel, but everybody's, I will say whether we believe it or not, you know, everybody believes that Pittsburgh has evolved. Other cities have not. And so when you people compare us to Sheffield a lot, but I will I will say we're a bit to be known a bit more successful version of Sheffield because we're not still trying to only do metals.

So there are a couple of questions out there. Can we jump to a few of them, Jonathan?

Absolutely. Some great questions here. Let's start with That Amy Kaminski, she wants to know, um, are there opportunities with neighborhood 91 to tap into the circular economy, like recycling single use plastics and things like that, turn them into new products?

I think that I think the answer Well, the answer is definitely yes. And so one of the one of the things that we've invested with infrastructure wise on neighbor 91 is argon recycling and re recapturing recycling. So that's the beginning of that circular piece. So basically, once we bring in argon to the campus, we're only going to touch, let's say, top it up about 5% every year. So you know, imagine all the energy that's taken to take argon out of the air that we breathe, and condense it down, truck it around, you know, we're eliminating all of that. So we're just going to have a continuous loop of argon running through the campus. In terms of additives role in sustainability and the circular kind of economy, if you will, there are companies that are more involved in that than others. And so there, there's a company actually has a facility here in Pittsburgh, they're almost too close to neighborhood 91. But we're going to try to encourage them to put their production campus, but they they're trying to take scrap from other processes, and turn it into metal powder that can be used in additive manufacturing. So so they're there, and they're most recently there's a new initiative. I forget the actual name of it, but it's, it's a specific additive, manufacturing circular, kind of sustainability group. That's, that's, it's a volunteer group. But trying to push forward some of these initiatives. And, and so I think that there's many aspects of the sustainability part of it. So making lighter weight parts can be very effective in that sustainability argument, because then you're going to burn less fuel. You can, electric cars are heavy, because they have batteries, and electric motors, which are no much more heavy compared to the the combustion engine. But, you know, they've not been in cars, except for the very early cars, which were electric, but nobody seems to want to recognize that. But those things all have are going to be much more reliant on lightweighting to make them more efficient. So from the single use plastics and making more use of those plastics, so I think it's really we're just scratching the surface of what's possible on that part of the equation. So I think if we have the production campus here, those are going to be I don't want to say secondary benefits. But that that's, I think, probably the best description. I could say,

Dawson, done.

Yeah. How about a master plan for the campus? Is it mixed use zoning or will be just strictly industrial.

The idea is that it'll be a mixed use, and that it will have, you know, a town center, you know, when it's when it's at its full capacity, it will have people will be making things there'll be office building design bureaus, places to go have lunch, I say,

well, they have additive food at the at the cafes going on.

And how critical is 5g infrastructure for the future of manufacturing and for like, neighborhood? 91?

Honestly, I have no idea that how to answer that question. I yeah,

I have no idea. Honestly, I didn't. Okay, well, that's your homework assignment. Yeah. find that out. Okay. That's your homework assignment. It sounds

better than 4g

does. Okay. Nevermind. you need you need a little bit more homework on that. So I think we're finished with the question. So I want to I want to jump in. Are there any places like neighborhood 91? around the world?

No, there are a lot of campuses that focus on innovation and more at the basic level. And let's say the research and applied research level, there's there's plenty of campuses for that. But there are there is there are no production oriented campuses, because it's not been mature enough for it, and it requires a fairly decent scale to carry off.

So what about what about jobs? What look like in the perfect world? If this as this, you know, starts to come together? What is one of the what, where do you see the job opportunities? And what does it look like for up and down the supply chain?

Well, I think that the I think we've again, just begun to scratch the surface on that one. So I think from the most immediate part, it's easy to look at the engineers role. And we're not talking about eliminating engineers, we're talking about giving them new skills, so that they can adapt this and and then you think about from the engineers to the to the managers and supervisors. I mean they have to have awareness To the technicians who are going to operate these machines, well, they're obviously going to be a little bit more intimate with it then than other people. And then you get into people who maintain the machines and the systems that support it. So, you know, we've had some early discussions with like, you know, the steamfitters. And, you know, I had to get smart on what steamfitters do wasn't not something that I've had the opportunity to run across previously. And I looked at it, and I said, Well, every, almost everything they do has some impact, and making a facility, you know, constructing a facility and maintaining a facility or maintaining equipment that has added equipment in it. So I think there's indirect benefits, and there's direct benefits. And but in no case, am I seeing something where you're eliminating one thing and creating something entirely new. It's it's simply building upon the base that we that's already there. It's about adding skills more than anything else.

Well, I mean, I think the thing that I hope everyone takes away from this, and is the fact that they're the interdependency, build communities. And it's not just an attitude that's in everything, you set the table by saying, Silicon Valley, right? People still live there, their pasta, pie, etc, highly concentrated, it's because of those interdependencies that they, that it requires. And this is a great example of the importance of that for Pittsburgh, as we continue to evolve. I also like the fact that you're advocating that you're saying that it's natural. When you talk to people, when you say doing this, then it doesn't seem like it's a far stretch in terms of the optics of the people that you connect with. So what's the future? We're gonna probably hear more about neighborhood 91 in the next month or so. Right?

Certainly, that's the goal. I think we're, we're powering through the painful phase of figuring out how to do construction and all of those things. But I would expect to hear a lot more. When more frequently about neighborhood 91. We're set to announce our anchor tenant here very, very shortly. And yeah, so So hopefully, we've been doing a lot of work kind of behind the scenes to establish some connections with other, let's say, like minded organizations around the world, but also with companies that want to be here. And with that, let's face it, there's an inherent difficulty when you create something that's here, but you have an existing industry that's here. One of the things is, what's the model for that existing industry to get the benefit as well, you know, but let's make it fair. Some people are making investments being on the campus, but they're going to need some of this infrastructure that exists outside the airport corridor. So we're trying to work a win win situation for that as well.

And and really, when you think about in terms of economic development, it's really the gift that keeps on giving. If neighborhood 91 really becomes successful. The spillover effect to that area of Allegheny County and beyond is quite powerful.

It is. And that's, you know, a lot of the impetus came out of University of Pittsburgh with some work that they had done with the Brookings Institute. And it's that notion around advanced manufacturing keeps giving back to the community that it sits in, unlike, you know, some other businesses or industries that that you could invest in. And so it sounds corny, but I always like to think of it as it's 200 acres of opportunity. I mean, we've not written the last chapter of the book, we don't even know what the last chapter of the book looks like. But we're very excited about the introduction and chapter two. You know, that's where we're focused at the moment, but it's a little bit of, we can write our own, we can create our own journey here. This hasn't been done before. So, you know, we it's ours to define it. If you look at similar constructs, though, again, Pittsburgh's well the region is actually well situated. So in Germany, they're very, very good at doing this. But they're very, they've they set up an infrastructure to start from the universities and plug them into the businesses so that there's this constant pipeline of, you know, new stuff. And we've got a I would say, a very miniature model that we've got most locally, Carnegie Mellon and Pitt in you know, I'm looking at with my kids, if I draw a radius or four hours around, that's Burg that they could go to universities. It's it's the you get some pretty top notch institutions in there. And though and that's what it's, you know, the workforce thing is huge. And, and this is underestimated for engineers like myself, but you know, there's companies out there that have RX open for 50, additive manufacturing roles, that that they can't fill So if we have the people that that gives us another reason why it's here, you can put machines anywhere.

Right? So as a last question, because we're coming up to our half hour, Rebecca minca, saying so as a female with a mechanical engineer background, how can I apply for jobs? Well, just stay tuned. I think that's really the answer. Stay tuned, because there will be announcements and about, you know, you'll hear more over the next quarter about fun,

you know, look to join the women 3d printing Pittsburgh chapter.

Yeah, that's a great idea. And we will find that link and share that. So there's this 3d, Pittsburgh chapter.

Yeah. When women in 3d printing is an international organization. There's a Pittsburgh chapter.

Well, that is absolutely great to know. Okay. Well, I can't thank you enough, john. And I think if people want to reach out to you, they can find you on LinkedIn, I'm sure. JOHN Barnes, er, ness. And I'm very excited that you've been participating in this project. We're looking forward to lots of partnerships with neighborhood 91. And thank you for setting the table for us in terms of additive manufacturing and the opportunities and how the world sees Pittsburgh in terms of space. So I want to thank you. Thank you for joining us today. Thank you, Jonathan. Thank you, everyone. Have a fabulous weekend. We've got a great lineup next week. And Jonathan, do you remember who kicks off on Monday because it's we're like in our hundred and 30th.

I have not confirmed that with BK yet, but I know we do have the CEO of Aurora stopping by midweek, which is nice. Okay, that's nice. stone formation. But

Monday, Monday is exciting. We have Matthew morotai. He is with telco. Ah, that's Thomas toasts company. So stay tuned. We're gonna happen. I forgot about that. We were moving so fast here. And we're trying to provide all the information that people need to keep tethered to the community as john Barton said, it's all about interdependency. Exactly. Good. Stan. We have Maven machines on Tuesday. Okay, everyone. Thank you. Have a great weekend. Thanks, john.

Bye.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai