RTI International Metals is proceeding with a titanium plant in Martinsville, Va., at the Patriot Centre Industrial Park. There has been speculation that the $100 million, 150-job project may be scuttled because of current economic conditions after a six-month suspension of construction. But Richard Vandegrift, RTI’s vice president of capital projects, reaffirmed the company was proceeding with the project, which will expand an existing building and add two more buildings on the site. The existing facility will house plate-finishing operations. The expansion will contain a rolling mill and heat-treating operations. The first additional structure is a forging building that will house a 5,000-ton forging press, heating furnaces, manipulators and other equipment. Operations at the new site are scheduled to commence in 2010 or 2011.
The other new building will house a large grinder. According to RTI, demand for titanium is slower now than in 2008. The company, however, has approximately $5 billion in long-term contracts with Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier and Bell Helicopter. Vandegrift said changes in the aerospace industry should also boost the use of titanium.