By Nick Gilbert
Alcoa has announced that the construction of greenfield modern aluminum lithium plant has been commenced near its previous plant. Over 20,000 t of aluminum lithium will be manufactured at this new 115,000 square-foot expansion facility, which has the ability to cast rectangular and round ingot for use in extruded, forged and rolled applications. The worth of this new expansion is $90 million.
This newly patented aluminum lithium alloys was launched by the company in 2011 and airframers will be enabled by these alloys to build low-cost and lighter airplanes, as an alternative to composite airplanes. These aluminum lithium alloys offer best strength-to-weight performance along with corrosion resistance and stiffness to the company’s aerospace alloy portfolio. They are used in forgings, extrusions, plate and sheet applications across the structures of aircraft, which includes fuselage elements and airplane wings.
Alcoa’s President for Forgings and Extrusions, Eric Roegner stated that the company primarily offers aerospace solutions and will help the OEMs to minimize consumption of fuel per seat mile. The company works long-term with aerospace clients to support new aircraft to meet the requirements of new missions and offer optimum solutions for use in both the airframe and engine structure. The company’s supply chain for aluminum lithium will be the initial operation and next generation of aircraft will use this specialty alloy, according to Eric.
The company’s extended aluminum lithium plant will offer employment permanently for around 75 members and around 150 additional employments during construction. The company has planned for the initial aluminum lithium production by the end of 2014.