Canadian Manufacturing

Alcoa pumps US$190M into aerospace aluminum production

The investment covers new manufacturing technology to improve the production and specifications of thick aluminum plate



NEW YORK & DAVENPORT, Iowa—Lightweight metals company Alcoa today is investing US$190 million to expand its product offerings in the aerospace and industrial markets made at its Davenport Works facility in Iowa.

Alcoa is installing manufacturing technology to enhance the performance of thick aluminum and aluminum-lithium plate in various applications, including wing ribs and fuselage frames.

The investment in the Davenport rolling mill includes the installation of a ‘very thick plate stretcher.’

The stretching process reduces stress introduced into the plate as part of the manufacturing process, resulting in a part that can more easily be machined and processed. This advancement will enable production of the largest high-strength monolithic wing ribs in the industry.

As composite wings get larger, one of the challenges is strength and stiffness. The aluminum plate from this stretcher will enable Alcoa to make wing ribs to address that issue.

“This project is a key driver for our continued growth in the aerospace plate market,” said Mark Vrablec, president of Alcoa Aerospace Transportation & Industrial Products (ATI). “The capability will also benefit our industrial customers who make injection molded plastic parts for the automotive, transportation and consumer electronics industries.”

Construction on the project will begin in 2015 with first customer production expected to begin in 2017.

About Alcoa is a global leader in lightweight metals technology, engineering and manufacturing. It employs 60,000 people in 30 countries, delivering value-add titanium, nickel aluminum parts and producing bauxite, alumina and primary aluminum products.

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