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Alcoa boosting aerospace capabilities in Virginia for next-gen aircraft engine parts

News International-French

23 Jun 2014

The Company is investing $25 million at its Alcoa Power and Propulsion facility in Hampton, Virginia to scale-up a breakthrough process technology that cuts the weight of its highest-volume jet engine blades by 20 percent and significantly improves aerodynamic performance.

Alcoa will add equipment for a new production line and modify existing machinery at the Hampton facility to produce the blades. The Company will use the latest in advanced manufacturing technology such as robotics and digital x-ray for enhanced product inspection. The expansion will begin this month and is expected to be complete by the fourth quarter of 2015. The Company expects to add at least 75 new, full-time employees over three years.

Alcoa developed this process technology, called enhanced equiax (EEQ) casting, following five years of research and development at the Alcoa Power and Propulsion Research Center in Whitehall, MI. The Alcoa Technical Center, the world’s largest light metals research and development center based outside of Pittsburgh, PA, also supported this work. Made primarily using nickel-based superalloys, the lighter and more aerodynamically efficient blades can be used to retrofit existing or build next-generation aircraft engines, such as the latest engines for large commercial aircraft, including narrow- and wide-body airplanes. Engines for narrow-body aircraft are among the top selling jet engines in the world.

Alcoa will receive approximately $2 million in state and local incentives and an additional $1.3 million exemption on sales and use tax for selecting Hampton, Virginia for this investment.

This investment supports Alcoa’s strategy of profitably growing its aerospace business, which had revenues totaling $4 billion in 2013.

Photo: Governor of Virginia presents Share of Stock to Alcoa’s Mike Pepper to represent the spirit of enterprise.

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