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Alcoa Doubles its High-technology Coating Capacity at Whitehall, Michigan Facility

Published on 2014-12-15. Author : SpecialChem

NEW YORK & WHITEHALL, Mich. -- Alcoa Power and Propulsion, a unit of lightweight, one of the high-performance metals leaders Alcoa, is doubling its high-technology coating capacity at its Whitehall, Michigan facility. The $16.7 million investment will position the Company to further capture growing demand for advanced jet engine parts.

The 7,700 sq. ft. building expansion will be located at the Company’s Thermatech plant in Whitehall where it produces thermal coated parts that enable engines to run at higher temperatures, boosting engine efficiencies. The coating also extends the operating life of jet engine parts by protecting against oxidation and corrosion.

“Alcoa is one of the global leaders in the production of airfoil jet engine components,” said Mike Pepper, President of Alcoa Power and Propulsion. “This expansion will enable us to continue providing our high level of service as we meet growing demands for our high-tech, Thermatech-coated parts that enable enhanced fuel efficiency.”

Alcoa will install a new electron beam physical vapor deposition machine to boost capacity, which enables faster production by combining two important processes: the bond coat and the top coat. Construction will begin this month, with first production expected to begin in 2016. The expansion will create 25 new full-time jobs. Customer agreements underpin the new capacity.

The combination of advanced coatings and internal cooling schemes make it possible for investment cast airfoils to operate in an environment that reaches temperatures much greater than the airfoils’ melting point. In addition to jet engines, the coating process is applied to parts used to build industrial gas turbines.

The expansion supports Alcoa’s strategy of profitably growing its aerospace business, which achieved revenues totaling $4 billion in 2013 and is in line with Company strategy to build its value-add businesses to capture profitable growth in high-growth industries. The Company projects a compounded annual commercial jet growth rate of 7 percent through 2019 and sees a current 9-year production order book at 2013 delivery rates.

Demonstrating its support for the expansion, the Michigan Economic Development Corporation awarded a state business development grant to Alcoa totaling $285,000.

“As the largest manufacturing company in Muskegon County, Alcoa continues to be a leader in the aerospace industry and is home to the most advanced aerospace manufacturing facility in the world,” said Ed Garner, President & CEO of Muskegon Area First Economic Development Corp.

About Alcoa Power and Propulsion

Alcoa Power and Propulsion, a major business unit of Alcoa, is one of the global leaders in superalloy airfoil and titanium and aluminum structural investment castings. Serving the aerospace, defense, energy and industrial markets, its products are primarily used in jet engines and industrial gas turbines. Additional value-added products and services include additive manufacturing, hot isostatic pressing, specialty coatings, research and development, supply chain management, specialty tools, molds, and machinery. With 25 production facilities, Alcoa Power and Propulsion employs more than 9,000 people worldwide.

About Alcoa

One of the global leaders in lightweight metals engineering and manufacturing, Alcoa innovates multi-material solutions that advance its world. Its technologies enhance transportation, from automotive and commercial transport to air and space travel, and improve industrial and consumer electronics products. It enables smart buildings, sustainable food and beverage packaging, high-performance defense vehicles across air, land and sea, deeper oil and gas drilling and more efficient power generation. It pioneered the aluminum industry over 125 years ago, and today, its approximately 62,000 people in 30 countries delivers value-add products made of titanium, nickel and aluminum, and produce best-in-class bauxite, alumina and primary aluminum products. 

Source: Alcoa

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