NASCAR driver Brad Keselowski formally launched Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing on Thursday, featuring high-tech additive manufacturing and a stated goal of starting “a new American industrial revolution.”
Keselowski, who won the 2012 Cup championship, is investing tens of millions of dollars in the enterprise headquartered in a 70,000-square-foot warehouse in Statesville, N.C. KAM had a soft-launch last year and already has 30 employees, with plans to more than triple that staff by the end of 2019.
KAM has partnered with major industry leaders such as ALSCO, BIG KAISER, GE Additive, Mazak Corp., and Pinnacle X-Ray Solutions. After appearing on a panel at a GE Additive event last May, Keselowski told SportTechie that additive technology “is going to change the world dramatically in a very quick time.” He later described its potential as being “like the new Internet.”
Additive manufacturing, or 3D metal printing, allows for precise, custom parts construction with reduced waste. KAM will also feature subtractive manufacturing methods (the more traditional practice of whittling away material into a desired form) for a hybrid approach. Additive is growing in use in such industries as aerospace, medical, and automotive.
The latter is where Keselowski was first exposed to the technology through his day job as a race-car driver. His Penske team has equipped his car with 3D-printed metal parts during races, and Keselowski noted the engineering technique is also helpful for designing prototypes. In a launch video, Keselowski described his new company as having been “born on the fire of competition.”
— Keselowski Advanced Manufacturing (@KAMSolutions) January 24, 2019
“We are excited to be working with the team at KAM, because we know the hybrid manufacturing model they’ve developed will help companies worldwide,” said Rod Meyer, Pinnacle’s founder and CEO, in a statement. “Our technologies go hand-in-hand. With our advanced CT scanning technology and KAM’s expertise in engineering solutions, we’re disrupting the traditional manufacturing process.”
Keselowski indicated his goal of making these advanced technologies more accessible, negating industry concerns that additive techniques were too complex and too expensive for production level uses.
“Manufacturing built our country, enabling the strength and freedom we’ve all enjoyed,” Keselowski said in a statement. “Today, the advancements in manufacturing will spark a new wave of American companies, not only creating jobs, but also solving some of the world’s biggest problems—from helping the environment to improving our safety. At KAM, we’ve assembled the talent, resources and technology to conquer these challenges. I am confident that our work will have a positive impact for generations to come.”
Numerous athletes have started businesses on the side or engaged in other entrepreneurial endeavors, but Keselowski’s undertaking differs from those by its scale. The magnitude of investment and potential of what KAM hopes to accomplish is rare among athletes. And Keselowski isn’t shy about his ambition, saying, “I believe firmly that additive manufacturing is going to improve the human experience in a significant way.”