Alcoa has announced it is increasing its global aerospace heat-treated sheet and plate production by approximately 50 percent over the next 18 months in order to respond to orders from its aerospace customers. Build rates for aircraft are expected to grow strongly over the next several years.
Alcoa will achieve this additional capacity through productivity improvement and capital investment of approximately $60 million across rolling mills in four countries, reinforcing the company's leading position in advanced metallic materials and structural solutions for the aerospace market. Approximately 95 percent of all aerospace alloys in use today were developed by Alcoa.
"We have a very strong global flat-rolled products manufacturing system that places us in an enviable position to serve plate markets around the world," said Helmut Wieser, Alcoa Vice President and Group President of Global Mill Products. "Not only is the aerospace market experiencing very strong growth, but the market is also changing as average plane size is increasing. Single aisle sales are very strong and have placed demands on industry capacity. Military and new markets such as micro-jets are also experiencing growth as well," added Wieser.
Heat-treat expansions are taking place in the following Alcoa mills: Davenport, Iowa USA; Kitts Green, UK; Fusina, Italy; and Belaya Kalitva, Russia. The $60 million in capital is included in the company's 2005 $2.2 billion capital budget. Approximately $37 million is slated for the previously announced expansion in Belaya Kalitva.
Part of the production gain will be achieved through the Alcoa Business System (ABS) which is deployed in these facilities, including an intensive effort of Total Production Maintenance (TPM). TPM involves employees at all levels of the organization working together to improve the operational availability of critical manufacturing equipment, bringing substantial improvement in equipment availability and productivity.