Alcoa celebrated the launch of construction of its greenfield state-of-the-art aluminum lithium facility at a groundbreaking event attended by Lafayette employees, and community and state partners. Adjacent to its existing plant, the $90 million, 115,000 square-foot expansion will produce more than 20,000 metric tons of aluminum lithium and be capable of casting round and rectangular ingot for rolled, extruded and forged applications.
Introduced last year by Alcoa, newly patented aluminum lithium alloys will allow airframers to build dramatically lighter and lower-cost airplanes vs. composite alternatives. They also provide the best strength-to-weight performance in Alcoa's aerospace alloy portfolio combined with better stiffness and corrosion resistance. The alloys are used in extrusions, forgings, and sheet and plate applications across aircraft structures, including airplane wings and fuselage elements.
"Our primary role as aerospace solution providers is to help the OEMs reduce fuel consumption per seat mile," said Eric Roegner, President, Alcoa Forgings and Extrusions. "We have a long history working with aerospace customers to help new aircraft meet demanding new missions and provide optimum solutions for both the engine and airframe structure. Our aluminum lithium supply chain will be the premier operation in the world and this specialty alloy will be flying on the next generation of aircraft."
The expanded facility will create approximately 75 permanent high-value jobs, as well as approximately 150 additional jobs during the course of construction. Production of its first aluminum lithium is planned by the end of 2014.
Alcoa's Lafayette investment is being supported by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation. "We are very grateful to our community and state partners for their support in this significant project that will provide continued growth and good jobs now and into the future," said Roegner.
Alcoa is the world's leading producer of primary and fabricated aluminum, as well as the world's largest miner of bauxite and refiner of alumina. In addition to inventing the modern-day aluminum industry, Alcoa innovation has been behind major milestones in the aerospace, automotive, packaging, building and construction, commercial transportation, consumer electronics and industrial markets over the past 120 years. Among the solutions Alcoa markets are flat-rolled products, hard alloy extrusions, and forgings, as well as Alcoa(R) wheels, fastening systems, precision and investment castings, and building systems in addition to its expertise in other light metals such as titanium and nickel-based super alloys. Sustainability is an integral part of Alcoa's operating practices and the product design and engineering it provides to customers. Alcoa has been a member of the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for 10 consecutive years and approximately 75 percent of all of the aluminum ever produced since 1888 is still in active use today. Alcoa employs approximately 61,000 people in 31 countries across the world. More information can be found at www.alcoa.com .