Allegheny Technologies has announced an expansion of its premium-melt nickel-based alloy, superalloy, and specialty alloy production capabilities. These investments are aimed at increasing ATI's capacity to produce these high performance alloys used for aero-engine rotating parts; airframe applications; oil and gas exploration, extraction, and refining; and power generation land-based turbines and flue gas desulfurization pollution control units. These incremental capital investments of approximately $30 million over the next 15 months will be funded from internal cash flow.
Major projects of this expansion, which is expected to increase ATI's premium-melt capacity by approximately 20%, include:
- Upgrading and expanding vacuum induction melt (VIM) capacity. VIM is a melting process designed for premium grades with high alloy content that require more precise chemistry control and lower impurity levels.
- Installation of two new electro-slag re-melt (ESR) furnaces and three new vacuum arc re-melt (VAR) furnaces. ESR and VAR furnaces are consumable electrode re-melting processes used to improve both the cleanliness and metallurgical structure of alloys.
Market demand for premium-melt nickel-based alloy, superalloy, and specialty alloy products is currently strong and is expected to continue to grow:
- Demand for ATI's premium-melt alloys from the aerospace market, for both aero-engine and airframe applications, is expected to continue to be robust for the next several years. The new generation of fuel efficient aircraft increases the need for ATI's nickel-based superalloys and high-strength specialty stainless alloys.
- Demand for ATI's premium-melt alloys is strong from the oil and gas market for sub-sea piping, banding straps for flow lines, umbilical, instrumentation, and injection tubing. Deeper wells and more corrosive conditions increase demand for premium-melt nickel-based and specialty alloys.
- Demand for ATI's premium-melt alloys is expected to be strong from the power generation market for industrial gas turbines (IGT) and flue gas desulfurization (FGD) pollution control equipment. Demand for FGD units at coal power generation plants is expected to grow in the United States as a result of legislation. In addition, strong demand is expected to continue from Asia for both new power plants and upgrades of pollution control equipment.