Alcoa (NYSE:AA) announced today that funding has been approved for the complete repair and refurbishment of its 50,000-ton forging press at the company's Cleveland Works.
The project will make Cleveland Works the world's premier producer of large aluminum and titanium forgings for the defense, aerospace and industrial markets.
"This could not have happened without the support of our employees, community leaders and leadership of United Auto Workers Local 1050," said William F. Christopher, Alcoa executive vice president and president of Alcoa Engineered Products and Solutions. "When this project is completed, Cleveland Works will be the home of the most advanced, productive large forging presses in the world."
Combined with earlier approved investments to support production of the F35 Joint Strike Fighter and other efficiency projects, Alcoa plans to invest more than $110 million in Cleveland Works through 2011.
The press project will be completed by the end of 2011. It will involve the complete disassembly and renovation of the 50,000-ton press, a 92-foot structure - with four stories above and below the floor -- that began production in 1955. In August of 2008, cracks were discovered in the press' base castings. Alcoa idled the press to assess the situation and, after consulting with world experts, elected to pursue a complete refurbishment.
Cleveland Works is the home of two large forging presses - the 50,000-ton press under renovation and a 35,000-ton press currently producing large forgings for aerospace applications, such as the aluminum bulkheads for the Joint Strike Fighter.
"With a renovated press, our unique alloys, proprietary segmented die technology and signature stress relief, Cleveland Works will be unmatched," Christopher said. "We will now combine our industry leading technology and market expertise with twice the capacity to serve markets with strong growth opportunities."
Segmented die technology and signature stress relief allow Alcoa to make parts that are larger, thicker and more complex than can be produced by competitors on similar-sized forging presses.
Earlier, Alcoa's board approved interim funding to allow engineering and early lead time commitments to proceed. The board's recent action commits the balance of the funding for the project. Alcoa's investment will include more than $68 million in the press rebuild, alongside $24 million previously approved for other improvements associated with Joint Strike Fighter production. The project is also supported by a package of economic development incentives from the state of Ohio, city of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County, village of Cuyahoga Heights and city of Independence.
"We are very grateful to our community partners for their confidence in this project," Christopher said. "Our revitalized press capacity will allow the continued presence of manufacturing operations in Cuyahoga County and provide continued growth and good jobs for years to come at Cleveland Works."