Alcoa announced it is expanding its aluminum lithium capacity and capabilities at three locations around the world to meet growing demand in the aerospace market for its newest alloys. The alloys, introduced last year and now patented, allow airframers to build dramatically lighter and lower-cost airplanes versus composite alternatives. The new alloys provide the best strength-to-weight performance in Alcoa’s aerospace alloy portfolio combined with better stiffness and corrosion resistance. The alloys are used in extrusions, forgings, and sheet and plate applications across aircraft structures, including airplane wings and fuselage elements.
The largest of the expansions is a greenfield,
state-of-the-art facility to be constructed adjacent to Alcoa’s Lafayette,
Ind., plant. When completed, the facility will produce more than 20,000 metric
tons of aluminum lithium and be capable of casting round and rectangular ingot
for rolled, extruded and forged applications. Alcoa plans to invest more than
$90 million in this facility, which will create approximately 75 permanent jobs
as well as approximately 150 additional jobs during construction. The new
Lafayette facility is expected to produce its first aluminum lithium by the end
of 2014. Alcoa is also expanding production at its Technology Center near Upper
Burrell, Pa., and at its Kitts Green plant in the U.K.