Nov. 12, 2014
Alcoa Expands in Davenport
Aluminum giant Alcoa will invest $190 million at its Davenport Works in Iowa to expand its product offerings for the aerospace and industrial markets. Alcoa will install manufacturing technology to enhance the performance of thick aluminum and aluminum-lithium plate for various applications, including aircraft wing ribs and fuselage frames.
The main investment in the Davenport rolling mill is the installation of a new thick plate stretcher. This advancement will enable Davenport Works to produce the largest high-strength monolithic wing ribs in the industry. As composite wings get larger, one of the challenges is strength and stiffness, and the aluminum plate from this stretcher will enable Alcoa to make wing ribs to address that issue, the company says.
Construction on the project will begin in 2015 with first customer production expected in 2017.
"This project is a key driver for our continued growth in the aerospace plate market," says Mark Vrablec, president of Alcoa Aerospace Transportation & Industrial Products. "New airplane designs feature thicker aluminum wing ribs—especially important to reinforce composite wings—and these enhancements will be possible with Alcoa thick plate products. The capability will also benefit our industrial customers who make injection molded plastic parts for the automotive, transportation and consumer electronics industries."