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.
“Our primary role as aerospace solution providers is to help the OEMs reduce fuel consumption per seat mile”
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.